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Exploring Children's Knowledge Through Stories: Addressing Diversity Challenges


A teacher has a significant impact on a child's learning interest, as emphasized by Dr. Gede Raka in the 2002 seminar "Creativity and Life Skills." Real experiences show that engaging stories from teachers, especially those related to science, can trigger children to delve deeper into that knowledge. These stories not only provide information but also leave a profound impression that motivates children to explore further.

Lenox, in the 2000 article "Storytelling for Young Children in a Multicultural World," supports this idea by stating that storytelling is not just a means to capture children's learning interest but also a tool to broaden their awareness of environmental diversity. In this context, stories can serve as a solution to overcome cultural or societal constraints while building a bridge of understanding among children from diverse backgrounds.

Fundamentally curious about the world around them, children learn effectively through storytelling, especially considering the close connection between the world, culture, and identity. Lenox highlights that in the early stages of development, children actively gather ideas, imagination, and attitudes from various sources such as television, books, stories, and daily interactions. Therefore, this period becomes a crucial moment to shape appreciative and respectful attitudes toward diversity.

Every individual, including children, should be guided to understand and appreciate the uniqueness of each person in terms of physical aspects, thoughts, spirits, life perspectives, culture, emotions, and personal lifestyles. In this context, storytelling becomes an effective tool to help children prepare to live harmoniously with others in a dynamic world. The childhood period, as mentioned by Lenox (2000), becomes a crucial time to introduce the concept of diversity.

The importance of utilizing storytelling as a means of children's knowledge development becomes clearer in the context of multiethnic and multicultural communities, as in Indonesia. Conveying stories from various regions in the archipelago not only provides cultural insights but also equips children with a deeper understanding of diversity in Indonesia. Therefore, teachers need to be familiar with various regional stories, including those from Bali, Central Java, Sumatra, Maluku, and other areas, as a tangible effort to support children's knowledge development.

Children learn about the world through interactions with adults and peers, using objects or tools as learning aids. Daily activities such as shopping, playing, and strolling become learning experiences for them, where they acquire knowledge about names, processes, and categorizations of various things. This process occurs within a cultural context and involves interactions with knowledgeable adults who help children develop language to fill their thinking activities, as expressed by Vygotsky through Charbonneau & Reider (1995:39-40).

The transmission of knowledge occurs in two directions, vertically from the previous generation and horizontally from the peer generation, all conveyed through the medium of language. Stories, especially those focusing on imaginative thinking activities, play a crucial role in this process. Knowledge is conveyed through the language used in the interaction between storytellers and listeners, narrative storytelling, and dialogues between characters. For example, children can learn about Mount Batur in Bali through stories and even learn about the animal world through communication between characters in fables. Stories also provide children with an understanding that every behavior has consequences.

Stories have a high stimulating power to trigger children's exploration of their surrounding environment. Experiences show that children who listen to stories about certain animals are often motivated to explore more about the characters in those stories. For example, a story about the fight between "Derik Snake and Black Widow Spider" encourages children to prove the truth of the story. Children become more active in gathering information about these two animals, such as whether the Black Widow Spider is truly more venomous than the derik snake.

Fictional stories like these can also provide scientific information that stimulates children to seek the truth in the real world. Children may use various methods, such as asking adults or reading books, to gain a deeper understanding of the topic, as conveyed by Tadkiroatun Musfiroh. This shows that stories are not just entertainment but also a window for children to explore knowledge in their surrounding world.

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