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Storytelling In Your Area - East of England: 2018 onwards

Since January 2018 we have organised the following multi-sensory storytelling sessions:

Harlow Fields School, Harlow. 12/10/18

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 46 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all 46 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All six rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “The pupils learnt about someone doing something new via a story, a sensory story. Also a new Makaton sign: M was surprised and stayed focussed during the whole story. Started to develop listening skills and working in a group. [I was surprised that] H spoke more than usual and repeated new words. J stayed engaged for a longer period of time. J showed his preferences. [In the longer term this will help us] plan sensory stories for lower ability pupils as a weekly session to develop their listening and speaking skills.”
  • “[The session helped with] turn taking, exploring the different textures and looking at what was put in front of them. [I was surprised that] one pupil touched the different materials independently, a second did good waiting - something he struggles with, and a third made a choice from two at the end. [In the longer term this] works on their turn taking and waiting skills. Also encourages exploring with different textures. Some of the parts of the activity related to the Early Years targets in their folders. We enjoyed it.”

    “All nine children enjoyed the session and took part in the sensory story at their own level. [The Storyteller] engaged each child. [I was surprised that] some children who find it hard to maintain attention were focussed for longer than usual. [In the longer term] all children could benefit from more regular sensory stories such as these. Perfect!”

    “Helped develop their social skills and lots of opportunities to work on their physio programmes. [I was surprised that] two pupils were very responsive to tactile stimuli linked to the stories and one pupil responding verbally saying 'wow' etc. [In the longer term this will help with] accepting someone different telling a story - it's usually the class team.”

    “They were engaged and really enjoyed the story. They were able to interact so their attention was held well. [I was surprised that] some participants who would normally be apart from the activity joined in and enjoyed themselves. [In the longer term] they are listening to the story in anticipation to join in, therefore they are absorbing the information. It develops their ability to turn take and listen to group activities.”

    “Worked on all PHSE and communication skills. [I was surprised that] all but one fully engaged for the duration. [In the longer term this will help with] communication and engagement. Very good.”

Southview School, Witham. 12/07/18

Our Storyteller ran three multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 21 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from three teachers who judged that all bar one of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Two rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and one as “4/5 – Good”. Comments were:

  • “The story included very good props and the learners really enjoyed exploring these. [I was surprised that] all learners interacted well. Early years learners were all happy to feel the different objects. [In the longer term] all learners will benefit from the session. Encourages learners to become more confident with interaction.”
  • “Encourages learners to listen and focus. Able to explore sensory equipment. [I was surprised that] one learner, who has difficulty focussing generally, engaged well. [In the longer term this will help them] to engage and focus for longer periods. Encourages listening skills. Lovely session for small groups.”
  • “The learners were calm and paid attention to the story. It helped them to focus and concentrate. One of the learners can be quite violent towards unknown people but the story pulled her in and she behaved.”

Granta School, Cambridge. 02/07/18

Our Storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 47 children with profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from four teachers who judged that all of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All four rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “A chance to be silly and use their imaginations. [I was surprised that] two quiet girls joined in with dropping the stack of bean cans, running, etc. One boy who desperately tries to be grown up dressed in a too-small jacket and encouraged his classmates to laugh at it. [In the longer term this will help] wake up their imaginations – their autism means many students have problems imagining themselves in other people's shoes.”
  • “They loved the interactive elements and the variety of props on offer. The Storyteller involved every pupil. One pupil in particular surprised us at how excited she got. [In the longer term this will help] encourage greater participation and engagement with similar sessions.”
  • “Very inclusive – the children loved the multisensory props and being included with the language and singing!. [I was surprised that] J said 'Shiver me timbers'. A was very attentive - good interaction. O had great focus. J was very engaged with everything. It has inspired me to get the props out more often! It was all lovely!”
  • “The story provided an opportunity for the pupils to use their imagination and role-play skills. It was very inclusive and I particularly liked how the story was created using the pupils' ideas. I was surprised how some of the pupils reacted to the story by getting into character. [In the longer term this will help with] using their imagination/creative ideas and creating their own stories. An amazing session. The class and myself loved it!”

St John's School, Bedford. 02/07/18

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 31 children with severe learning disabilities. We received feedback from five teachers who judged that all bar two of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Two rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and three as “4/5 – Good”. Comments were:

  • “Very sensory and visual e.g. seagull, noisy flapping. [I was surprised that] all of the participants enjoyed the session - thank you.”
  • “Lovely to see inclusion and how all children interacted with the props using different senses. [I was surprised that] E was very engaged, leaning forward and looking at the book.”
  • “It required listening, sitting for a period of time. Pupils were engaged when sensory items were presented to them. Good for them to sit and listen. Some were distressed so maybe in future they will be able to sit for longer.”
  • “Two students benefitted by using the moving 'props' and enjoyed the sounds. One student was a little reluctant to participate to begin with but on reflection [the Storyteller] persevered and the third student did take part a bit in the session. Excellent presentation! [I was surprised that] C took part more than expected.”
  • “Sensory was very good! One of our pupils cannot see so this was useful. Really good engagement with the children, lovely looking and vocalisations, lots of lovely objects of interest throughout the story.”

The Pioneer School, Basildon. 21/06/18

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 37 children with severe learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all 37 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All six rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “It was nice to see everyone interacting with the storyteller. [I was surprised that] they all were laughing and smiling in different parts of the story. Everyone sat very quiet and still and listened to the story and really enjoyed playing with the props. It was really good.”
  • “All children attended and used their hands. Prompted speech in those that could. Brought out an animated reaction in a child who is often withdrawn, who engaged and spoke. [In the longer term this will help them] participate more in our own sensory sessions using Bag Books. More children will be able to access it - whole classes rather than groups.”
  • “I think the children benefited from today by the sounds and they were very focussed. They also found the sensory story very exciting. [I was surprised that] a few more children explored the boards from the story than before and were really focussed and listening. Their concentration levels appeared to be very good. It was all good.”
  • “The children were engaging with the interactive resources. [I was surprised that] D joined in and said some lines from the story. [In the longer term this will help with] learning new ways to read to students.”
  • “They were very engaged, all sat beautifully, loved the different sounds, smells and touch. They interacted well. They really enjoyed it. [In the longer term this will] help with targets and concentration.”
  • “They sat and listened to the story and participated very well. [I was surprised that] the students reacted well to the feathers by smiling and looking.”

Churchill Park Complex Needs School, King's Lynn. 21/05/18

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 49 children with severe learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from four teachers who judged that all bar three of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Three rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and one as “4/5 – Good”. Comments were:

  • “Lots of items to touch: they were engaged - the children got to use the boards themselves. [I was surprised that they] engaged more, touched every story board. [In the longer term this will help them] enjoy reading more because they're more engaged and understand. They will want to read more sensory stories.”
  • “They can interact with the story. Its benefits are from the sensory needs that our children have. [I was surprised that] they all engaged in the story, some more than others, better than expected [In the longer term this will help with] inclusion. It's great for them to get involved with visual aids for them. A nice story with lots of sensory items to feel which the children loved.”
  • “Very engaged across all abilities - very broad range of complex needs. Very stimulating. Excellent differentiation for each child both verbally and sensorily. [I was surprised that] one non-verbal child with ASD smiled and reached out to touch the storyteller. Every child very engaged. [In the longer term this will help with] engagement, language acquisition, sensory stimulus.”
  • “All the students were happy to be there and enjoyed it. [I was surprised that] one of our male students touched all the things - he does not touch things normally. [In the longer term this will help with] waiting their turn and helping others.”

John Grant School, Great Yarmouth. 28/03/18

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 36 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from five teachers who judged that all of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Four rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and one as “4/5 – Good”. Comments were:

  • “The story was extremely sensory based which they loved - especially moving/vibrating props! Exactly what our students love, and they were gripped by the enthusiasm of the storyteller. [I was surprised that it] gained the focus of children who do not usually always focus and concentrate as well as they did today. It has given us ideas of sensory activities and also how to improve our stories here.”
  • “Sustained concentration. All senses (except taste) were used. They engaged with the stories in a positive way. Pupils were keen to touch the resources. One pupil who sometimes struggles to engage was interested in the objects. Really keen to touch. It provided a new experience and encouraged engagement. It was very good. Most senses used.”
  • “The children were able to take part and interact with the story. It helped them concentrate. [I was surprised that] all children interacted. The children asked questions as they were shown different objects. It helps with attention. The children will learn to sit for longer periods of time.”
  • “Very visual and simply told. Lots of repetition and sensory involvement. A pupil who often self-isolates enjoyed the story and clapped his hands when he had the chance to interact with visual/sensory materials and props. [In the longer term this will help with] ideas for incorporating into a regular session.”
  • “They were all engaged and followed instructions very well. Great sitting and waiting/turn-taking. [I was surprised that] mixed classes work together well. Autistic students coped well in busy situation. Students were listening and engaged. They all sat for the length of the story - move forward with fine motor skills, listening, speaking and sitting still and waiting skills.”

The Edith Borthwick School, Braintree. 15/03/18

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 41 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from four teachers who judged that all bar two of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Three rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and one as “4/5 – Good”. Comments were:

  • “Good props for the children to understand the story. Gave the children time to look and explore the different props. [I was surprised that] all the children touched the props. All the children sat and looked at the storyteller. [In the longer term this will help] children understand the story by using the props which made the children laugh and smile.”
  • “Multi-sensory experience for sensory seeking children. [I was surprised that] one student who is partially blind/deaf fully touched everything [In the longer term this will] help them to interact with a new person away from the classroom.”
  • “Calm and small group activity. Good sensory interaction. All were engaged. Good turn-taking. [I was surprised that] they counted items and joined in. Good looking and feeling and smelling. Smiled and laughed. Some great facial expressions [In the longer term this will] help with concentration and taking part.”
  • “Quick storytelling and quick passing round the sensory story boards. [I was surprised that] they sat for most of the stories and all engaged with the sensory boards.”

Oak View School, Loughton. 14/03/18

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 45 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from four teachers who judged that all bar four of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Two rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and two as “4/5 – Good”. Comments were:

  • “They were very focussed, engaged, good eye contact, made them smile. [I was surprised that] one student, who was upset before the session, became very calm and engaged when the session started. Another student started to clap and laugh. A third became very vocal. [In the longer term] they will learn to anticipate: help them with hand co-ordination, making good eye contact.”
  • “Students showed engagement and were very interested in the story and improved concentration and communication. [I was surprised that] one of the boys started dancing and clapping for the first time. [In the longer term this will help] improve their focus and communication as well as their confidence. All the stories were fantastic and it will be even better when a teacher uses them as part of the curriculum, related to the term topic.”
  • “Turn taking, sitting, anticipating what happens next, linking to the story as a whole group. [I was surprised that] at least two students, who were a little afraid of trunk, reacted brilliantly. All students interacted appropriately. Whole thing really good and good to see how somebody else does it.”
  • “The students were all engaged at different stages which is a big achievement for them. They also enjoyed exploring with all the different materials and props. [I was surprised that] some of the students were better engaged than in other activities. The storyteller continuing the story as the team were dealing with a behaviour issue helped keep engagement high. [In the longer term] they are able to join in a story as a group. The props increase engagement and participation. Thank you for your support during the session and for ensuring all students remained engaged.”

Highfield Special School, Ely. 09/03/18

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 37 children with profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all bar two of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Five rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and one as “3/5 – Average”. Comments were:

  • "Fantastic opportunities for turn-taking. Quiet and calming environment, enthusiastic storytelling. One student in particular finds it difficult to engage in group sessions and sat at the edge of the circle until a new board was presented, at which point he moved closer to the centre of the circle and engaged well in the activity. An interactive story leading to a love of reading - igniting that first spark."
  • "Excellent engagement and vocalisations. Positive explorations by all students. Lots of excitement demonstrated by all students [In the longer term this will help with] resilience when dealing with new experiences."
  • "Students were engaged throughout and enjoyed the story. It caught and held their attention. One student was confident and touched things they normally would not. [In the longer term this will] benefit their attention span. All thoroughly enjoyed and well engaged."
  • "All of the children loved both stories. Children really enjoyed the boards and feeling them. All of the children were interested and participated. A brilliant session."
  • "The props were fun and engaging. The Storyteller kept their attention for the whole session. She knew if a student wasn't keen on a prop and would swiftly move on. [I was surprised that] A was really engaged and sat really nicely for the whole session. I think it could be made progressively longer over time to help their concentration and attention."
  • "The music boards – especially the violin - very engaging. There was a bit too much waiting. Could be used in smaller group."

Castle School, Cambridge. 28/02/18

Our Storyteller ran seven multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 51 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from three teachers who judged that all of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. One rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”, one as “4/5 – Good” and one as “3/5 – Average”. Comments were:

  • "[The session helped with] repetition, textures to touch. All reacted well to a new adult and a new story. Good to experience a new story with a new person. Will develop our own sensory stories within school."
  • "They enjoyed the tactile features in the story which was at their level of understanding. The Storyteller did really well in trying to include everyone, especially a child who refused to join in. She was patient and calm in her approach which encouraged that child to participate. If resources were available, they would benefit from sessions in an even smaller group."
  • "I think it was a shame the props were on card. It would have been nice if the key had opened the box and the box had treasure that could be picked up. It wasn't really sensory enough for my class. Some of them sat still and didn't react. The idea was good but not the delivery. Sorry. The storyteller was lovely and considerate but it needed more action and participation."

Meadowgate School, Wisbech. 21/02/18

Our Storyteller ran four multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 26 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from three teachers who judged that all of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All three rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “They responded to a change of location and new person very calmly. [I was surprised that] they reacted well - they liked the props and musical instruments. It was a nice session. We do sensory stories a lot and today they interacted well. It was lovely.”
  • “All pupils engaged with all props. Short, simple repetitive structure. Aimed at the right pace. [I was surprised that they were] reaching for props and exploring. Signing 'more' for mango smell. [In the longer term this] showed staff new props which engaged pupils. All brilliant.”
  • “Involved all children at different levels of abilities. [I was surprised that] a child who is normally shy joined in. [In the longer term this] builds social interactive play.”

Heltwate School, Peterborough. 07/02/18

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 45 children with severe learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from four teachers who judged that all bar two of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All four rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “All Rainbow (ASC) students LOVED it. Engaged and excited to take part. Resources were great. The Storyteller was excellent at adapting to the huge range of abilities within the group. L often leaves sessions multiple times: only left once during session. D and D - joined late, but took part even though very able. Lots of smiles! [In the longer term this will help] staff be aware of how to deliver well. Kids all shared the experience, great for D and D who often have disdain for Rainbow (ASC) classes. They all loved it! Was awesome. Thank you!”
  • “It helped all the children's listening and attention skills. The story kept the children engrossed for the whole story. One child sometimes struggles to maintain his attention and sit still but he managed this during the story. [In the longer term this will help them] engage in objects that they would not normally touch. Also helps their listening and attention skills.”
  • “The “What Am I” story was very good for all the children which were from a wide age range. One of the children is VI, particularly good as it is tactile with animal sounds. “Band Rehearsal” had lots of great musical sounds and smells. Non verbal children could make sounds to join in. [I was surprised that] all were very smiley and all joined in, answered questions, interacted beautifully. Enjoyed the dancing at the end. It helps the VI student to join in with the story, developing his touch and listening skills. All the children listened beautifully and joined in well.”
  • “They love the interactive resources and the repetition helps them to recall and understand the story. [I was surprised that] they all engaged beautifully despite being super excited. They were able to control themselves, something they usually find hard. [In the longer term this] will encourage me to try to be more interactive in all lessons.”

Sheringham Woodfields School, Sheringham. 24/01/18

Our Storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 30 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from three teachers who judged that all of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Two rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and one as “4/5 – Good”. Comments were:

  • "Good visual stimulus, nice story well presented. All students participated well."
  • "Storyteller was engaging. Pupils sat well and interacted very well. Brilliant props too! Each pupil was included - all appeared happy and inquisitive :-). All pupils interacted really well. [In the longer term this will help them be] able to engage and interact. Story 'came to life' so better understanding for pupils. By using 'social stories' our pupils specifically could learn in a very effective way."
  • "Was a lovely sensory approach to stories, lovely props to help them explore too. Was lovely for the pupils to listen to a strange voice reading the stories, this for some made them listen even more. One pupil who does struggle to join in and interact with stories/listening to stories today was fully engaged and participating. Some students independently participated, some tolerated support, some smiled in reaction to parts of the story. [In the longer term this will help with] being able to engage/join in more with stories. Certainly worth looking into getting some of these as a school."

Treetops School, Grays. 15/01/18

Our Storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 48 children with severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from five teachers who judged that all 48 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Four rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and one as “4/5 – Good”. Comments were:

  • "It is a lovely multisensory way of engaging children of mixed abilities and develop their interests in books and storytelling. Sitting within a group with peers. [I was surprised that] a pupil who finds new experiences challenging sat for a longer period and showed interest in some of the stimuli used. [In the longer term this will help] sustain joint attention and listening skills. Develop an interest in books and storytelling."
  • "Excellent opportunities to experience the stories, lots of hands on activities allowing them to be involved at their own pace. Several pupils who usually find it challenging to participate in group sessions, following demands from others were able to participate due to fun but simple activities. Allowing them to experience a group story session has given me ideas of how we could include more multisensory activities into our class. Pupils have been able to experience new activities without hesitation so hopefully this will continue. This session was tailored to the individual needs of the pupils allowing everyone to be involved."
  • "Benefitted from being in a group situation, sharing resources, waiting to touch resources listening to a new adult. Pupils reacted really positively to the Storyteller introducing herself individually. Pupils reacted positively to new tactile sensory stimuli. [In the longer term this will help with] new resources that can be replicated and used in class for the pupils who enjoy them."
  • "All the children were attentive and so excited! The BEAUTIFUL resources kept their attention so well, even to the point that they leapt up to look at the map at one point! It was so nice to hear the giggles. Some of the children vocalised more than usual when interacting with some of the resources and did so completely independent of adult input. With very little guidance the children interacted beautifully, opening, smelling, listening and clearly enjoyed doing so. At one point, one of the girls was SO focused that she counted along with each child as the storyteller went round. This was excellent. It was so beneficial to not just have access to the resources but to watch a story being told. To see how to use the resources, how to engage with every child and prompt (not always verbally) through many methods to have the children engage. The children really enjoyed the sessions and listened, interacted and were very attentive. As staff we were impressed with the verbalisation and levels of attention that the children showed. We can’t wait to use them and the children asked for more."
  • "The children were all engaged, surprised and interactive. They loved it and followed the story. The children copied some of the story language and children who were nervous engaged in the story and storyteller over time. [In the longer term] children will talk about the stories and copy what they heard, felt and saw."
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