I was invited to Riverside Primary in Stirling to be part of their ‘Enchanted Forest’ storytelling session. It was funded by the First Minister’s Reading Challenge Inspiring Classrooms Award. We had a wonderful time and it was something totally different to my usual events so I wanted to tell you a bit about it.
The teacher, Mrs Gemmell and the children in Primary Four decided they wanted to use their outdoor classroom space for the first time – they wanted a magical outdoor storytelling evening and they wanted to invite their families too. The school bought blankets for the event and everyone wore warms clothes.
— Moira-Anne Jack (@MoiraAnneJack) March 16, 2017
We’d checked sunset times and worked out we’d start in the light and it would get dark by the end of the session. The children all enjoyed a hot chocolate and then I did some interactive story activities with the group.
We met the animals in the forest and learnt more about their behaviour as we re-enacted it. We created the smell of the forest and there was a football challenge with a giant football pine cone. I shared the story of Can’t-Dance-Cameron and everyone joined in on actions. Then it was time to toast marshmallows on the fire. I got to do one too!
— Riverside Primary (@RPSinStirling) March 16, 2017
After that I did a few more activities (including a rocket to make the pop sound of a capercaillie and a camouflage demonstration) and we finished on the story of The Grouse and the Mouse.
I know my books off by heart and I realised it would be distracting to turn pages in an outdoor space and much more intimate to share them as a storyteller. This was the first time I’ve told them that way and it worked really well. I used to do a lot of storytelling before I became an author so it felt good to be doing that again.
The whole event lasted an hour and there was such a lovely sense of community. The children and parents were brilliant fun and we all shared a love for stories. I signed books and postcards at the end and everyone headed home.
— Nicola Howieson (@howieson_nicola) March 16, 2017
I’m glad the First Minister’s reading challenge is encouraging schools to come up with creative ways to enjoy stories – I really loved being part of something so special that night! Thanks to Mrs Gemmell and everyone at Riverside for having me!
— kay robertson (@kayrob128) March 16, 2017