Spending time together while listening to entertaining and educational stories is becoming a nightly habit for parents and children following the eStorytelling Sessions of Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart).
Launched in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) and The Storytelling Project, and aired live every 8:30pm on the Smart Communities Facebook page, this is Smart’s way of bringing the magic of stories into people’s home through technology.
“We want to promote storytelling as a recreational activity that parents can do with their kids, especially now that they are confined in their homes. The goal is to get people to tune in, keep them engaged, and keep them learning during this time of social distancing,” says Ramon R. Isberto, Head of Public Affairs of PLDT and Smart.
“As a parent, I acknowledge the importance of storytelling to our children. Storytelling was one of my ways to share the love for reading. It became a bonding moment for me and my kids when they were younger. I hope more parents will continue this tradition, and bring the young generation to a culture of reading,” said Usec. Tonisito M.C. Umali, DepEd Undersecretary for Legislative Liaison Office, External Partnerships Service and School Sports, and guest storyteller of the Smart eStorytelling Sessions.
For main storyteller, Smart tapped Kuya Rey Bufi, founder of The Storytelling Project—an organization that has been sharing the love and joy of reading with kids in remote communities.
“Since we are unable to go out to to tell stories, the eStorytelling Sessions give us the unique opportunity to reach out to more Filipino families. Technology has become a most useful way to help us in our need for human interaction,” says Bufi.
Information embedded in the context of a story is said to be more easily remembered. Storytelling is thus an effective way of teaching a lesson or getting a message across. Stories aim to teach kids about their own uniqueness, and important values such as acceptance, inclusivity, courage and obedience. “Our first few stories were geared towards understanding our current situation, continued with a story that specifically helped kids understand what to do, and followed up by a story of gratitude to our frontliners,” shares Bufi.
Being a parent himself, Bufi also encourages other parents to tell stories to their children and to make it part of their daily routine.
“Parents can use this time to get to know our kids more and to teach them valuable life lessons that can guide them as they grow-up. For small children, storytelling can serve as a bridge to reading books on their own. Storytelling also creates happy memories and can help develop children’s genuine love for reading. A good storytelling routine before bedtime can give our kids a sense of security and normalcy,” Bufi added.
Smart’s eStorytelling content are mostly in the mother tongue, as studies show that this facilitates better understanding and enhances the learning experience. Kids whose first language is not Filipino can also watch some episodes in their native tongue and properly understand the story. This is all in keeping with Smart’s goal of providing original homegrown content in local languages to local communities.
“We chose Filipino and other local languages not only to promote them, but also to reach as many Filipino families as possible,” says Isberto.
“We also follow the habit formation formula that says it takes 21 days to form a habit. Since families are heeding government’s orders to remain at their homes, parents can use this time to develop a regular storytelling routine with their kids. Once this becomes a habit, children will eventually develop their love for reading and learning,” Isberto added.
Smart’s eStorytelling Sessions, is the first installment of Smart’s #LearnSmart: eLearning Series which aims to demonstrate how mobile technology can help support continuity of learning and teaching during a pandemic.
Smart is also set to launch content on backyard farming, safety and survival, sports, among others. For more information on the Smart eLearning series, visit the Smart Communities page at http://facebook.com/smartcommunities.