Milaa Seeks to Build Foundation for Language Skills and Mathematics through Interactive Story Theater

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Milaa upcoming event on July 13 2013 seeks to enrich children's foundation (auditory and visual memory) for language skills and capacity to sequence through interactive story theater.

Children retelling the story they just heard.

The underlying developmental benefits of story theater go beyond the obvious (creativity). It also develop children's visual memory, auditory recognition, and the capacity for sequencing.

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The light is dimming. The children are hurrying to find their seats. In front of the children is a stage-like area covered with colorful and soft silks. Whimsical music begins playing in the background. The room is silent, and even the adults begin to form another circle behind the children. All eyes are intently gazing at the silk-covered stage. Milaa’s story theater is about to begin.

With the music fading away into the background, the colorful silks make their way onto the sky, revealing the characters and set underneath. The characters come to life as the story unfolds. Upon first glance, the characters appear vivid and lively from the all-natural wool, felt, and wood used in making them. “These are hand-made characters and props using all-natural materials,” says Paul Jan, founder of Milaa and a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Natural material is living, and it provides appropriate stimulation for a child’s sense of touch. The sense of touch can influence development in other parts of the body, such as the brain, and therefore it is crucial to care for this area properly, ” says Jan.

As the story progresses, the children closely follow the characters as they move from left to right on stage. For example, the caterpillar, made out of all-natural felt, makes several trips from its green pasture home on the left to the forest made out of natural tree logs and pine cones on the right. “The left to right movement mimics the English language and trains a child’s eye movement,” says Katherine Fulford, Chair of Early Childhood Development, Milaa’s Chief Program Designer. “This is an important ability for reading and writing later on.”

Several more characters, such as the farmers and the butterfly, make their way onto the stage, some appearing more than once. “These characters will appear several times, with repetition throughout the story,” says Fulford. “The repetition is to train a child’s recall and sequencing ability. The repetition allows the child to grasp onto the story that he or she can later recall and sequence based on visual and auditory memory.”

Once the story ends, the children are given the opportunity to re-tell the story. They are provided with props and characters similar to the ones in the story such as the hand-made caterpillars and butterflies for the children to recreate the story. “We provide an opportunity for children to recreate the story to train their recall ability,” says Jan. “During the recall process, children also learn to sequence the story based on their memory. This helps develop a child’s ability to sequence events and occurrence.”

Parents were mesmerized by how the story was told and the effect that it had on their children. “I was very impressed by how concentrated and calm all the children are throughout the story time,” says Lu, a professor at the University of Toronto and a mother of a 7-year-old son. “Even the most active boys are calm and focused throughout the story time, and even participated in the re-tell portion of the activity!”

Milaa’s next event will be held on July 13, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario.

About Milaa

Milaa, an acronym that stands for Morality, Intelligence, Leadership, Athletic, and Artistic, was founded with the following principles:
1.    Holistic approach enhances learning, especially at a young age
2.    Sensory experiences and the sense of imagination are essential for child development
3.    Milaa aims to build a community for parents who appreciate the holistic approach

Milaa’s vision is to educate parents concerning the importance of the holistic approach to learning, provide the essential sensory experience for a child’s development, and create a community to preserve and advance a child’s development.

Milaa is founded in 2013, and is based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. For more information please visit its website at http://www.milaainfo.com.

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Paul Jan
Milaa
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