Fairy Tales and Childhood Development
Folk lore, fairy tales and mythology are essential for children. Besides providing entertainment at a young age, these tales "hide a wealth of insights just below the surface" (Young, 1997) which are discovered as the stories are remembered as the child grows, they also provide children with a sense of imagination. Denying children of imagination and creativity can be dangerous. It is believed that "creativity and play engage the childlike energies that can leave us in a state of depression if they depart" (Young, 1997). Young children are obviously dependent on their parents. When a child uses his or her imagination to play, it‘s how they learn, not only using their skills of creativity, but their observation. They know how to cook in the kitchen during play time from observing their parents, or learn that if they try, they can cross the enchanted pond.
As children grow, the stories they were told or saw at a young age are understood on deeper levels, they begin to relate to or understand characters from their favourite stories. An interesting belief is that a lot of us unknowingly follow these journeys or ones very similar in our own lives. The hero's journey reflects the journey of life, the growth and experiences we all face as we take our place in society and accept our responsibilities. In our lifetime however, we face more than one journey, every challenge or change we face in life is in itself a journey, even young children, either at primary school or before even, take these journeys, from new friendships formed to a change of school or city. An easier way to understand and recognise these journeys is when something new enters our lives and we are forced to take a different view on the situation, adapt a different opinion or face our fears. So we now begin to see the importance of fairy tales for children, they expose children to learning through creativity and imagination, how these stories grow and unravel as the children themselves grow and somewhat prepare them for the challenges ahead.
Young, Jonathan. (1997). "Once Upon a Time', How Fairy Tales Shape Our Lives." Inside Journal Magazine. Fall 1997. Cited 25 April 2006.