CURRICULUM & LEARNING ENVIRONMENT * 2 HOURS * LEVEL 2
Once Upon a Time: Fairy Tales in the Early Childhood Classroom
While fairy tales have been told for centuries, two men played a crucial role in the preservation of the fairy tales we know and love today. Jacob Grimm, born on January 4, 1785 and his brother Wilhelm, born February 24 of the following year, grew up in Germany. They went to school at the University of Marburg, where they both developed a curiosity with folklore. They took it upon themselves to begin writing down fairy tales, which at the time were spoken stories passed down from generation to generation, often by women looking to find ways to pass the time while doing housework.
In 1812, The Brothers Grimm published Nursery and Household Tales, or what is now referred to as Grimm’s Fairy Tales. It included some of the most well-known tales such as Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Rapunzel, and Hansel and Gretel. However, these tales were not originally intended for children. They contained remarkably dark scenes and didn’t include pictures. It was only later when children started to become the intended audience, that new editions were published with revised stories.
The brothers spent their last years giving lectures on linguistics and attempting to complete a dictionary of the German language. When Wilhelm Grimm died in 1859, the collection of tales was in its 7th edition. At that point the collection included 211 stories with detailed illustrations. It is said that Jacob was heartbroken by his brother’s death. He passed on September 20, 1863. It is rumored that their stories have only been outsold by Shakespeare and the Bible. Whatever the case, these men played an integral part in the conservation of fairy tales. Without them, we most likely wouldn’t have the tales that we have come to love.