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Storytelling In Your Area - London: 2018 (Jul-Dec)

During 2018 (Jul-Dec) we organised the following multi-sensory storytelling sessions:

Allenby Primary School, Ealing. 15/10/18

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

  • [The session helped with] enjoyment, improved focus and concentration. Good interaction with the story, props and storyteller. Two children’s focus was much better than usual. Two of the children interacted more than usual. Overall a high standard of focus and concentration from all children involved. [In the longer term] hopefully they will concentrate and sit through story and carpet time more.”
  • “The visuals in the storyboards with music were really loved by the children. There was lots of laughing from the children. They really listened to the sensory stories. [In the longer term] it would improve their English and speaking skills. All very good.”
  • “The children laughed so much, they all were interactive with the props and all seemed really engaged. Good listening and attention skills from the children to support their understanding of the story. Lots of laughter but then quietened to listen to the rest of the story. Movement of legs and arms / gestures. Emotions also ”shocked”, “surprised”, “excited”. A good way to have children improve with listening and attention skills. Engagement when listening to stories.”
  • “Great resources / props that engaged all the learners. Storyteller was fantastic at bringing the stories to life. [I was surprised that] one of our pupils wanted to manipulate the props independently. [In the longer term this will be] great in developing attention and vocab.”
  • “They sat nicely in the circle which usually don't happen often. The session was very motivating for the pupils. [I was surprised that] one of the non-verbal children said "any", "mine". Good eye contact and smiling. [In the longer term] it will calm them down and motivate them to improve their language.”

Phoenix Arch School, Brent. 15/10/18

Our Storyteller ran four multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 21 children with severe learning disabilities. We received feedback from four teachers who judged that all bar one of the 21 children 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:

  • “Teaching and feeling - exploring, observing. Kept all children engaged. And enjoying every part of story. Soon children started to make their own comments e.g. guessing what comes next using descriptive vocabulary, prompted/encouraged to develop fine motor skills. Kept their interest all through activity. Displayed good turn taking. [I was surprised that] M was engaged and enjoyed without reminders or prompting. His interest all throughout the activity helped him to have very good sense of turn taking. [In the longer term this will help with] vocabulary (descriptive), understanding a story with Makaton, turn taking, exploring & contributing."
  • “Sensory skills/observing, listening, exploring by touching, feeling, responding. Enjoying story while thinking (what's next, what's the sound, what does it feel like etc). Good turn taking and engaging. [I was surprised that] S sat nicely all throughout story waiting for his turn for next story part. Good observation skills. A was retelling story in his own words. [In the longer term this will help with] developing sensory skills. Develop story narrative and comprehending. Turn taking and engaging. Observe (taking time to understand and respond well).”
  • “Because of the sensory element children were able to maintain focus for longer. Children could practise turn taking. It is great that makaton signs were used alongside key vocabulary used.”
  • “Sensory, interactive stories. The children are engaged and are acting out the story. [In the longer term this will help with] learning through visuals and active engagement. All senses used to "feel" the story, amazing for children.”

1a Children’s Centre, Camden. 01/10/18

Our Storyteller ran four multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 20 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from five teachers who judged that all 20 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All five rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “The children learned and were encouraged to turn take and interact with the visual props. [I was surprised that] it held their attention especially for the children with special needs. [In the longer term] Bag Books will help the children’s concentration skills, their hand eye coordination and imagination.”
  • “The children really enjoyed the session. [I was surprised that] one child waited longer than usual. [In the longer term this will help] the adults feel confident to support the children.”
  • “[The session helped with] turn taking, interactive storytelling, waiting patiently sitting and listening for good period of time. They all LOVED IT. Thank you. [In the longer term this will help with] a deeper interest in and listening to stories.”
  • “They sat and listened and were fully engaged from start to finish. [I was surprised that] one child with SEN sat and participated fully during the session. [In the longer term] it will benefit their listening skills.”
  • “It was very interactive, all the children had a turn. [I was surprised that] one child sat the entire session. [In the longer term] it has given me lots of ideas on how to share Bag Books with the children. We’d love to have the Storyteller every week. Her knowledge and skills are rare and much appreciated.”

Oak Lodge School, Barnet. 24/09/18

Our Storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 32 children with severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from five teachers who judged that all 32 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All five rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “Students will benefit taking these forward and getting engaged and focused. [I was surprised that] it was calming. [In the longer term this will help with] learning to engage and focus.”
  • “The students loved this session and were SO engaged. All students joined in. [I was surprised that] a girl sat for much longer than usual and joined in fully which doesn’t usually happen. Thank you :) [In the longer term this will help] develop concentration and social skills.”
  • “They were all able to participate and take turns in the story session. Excellent participation. They sat on their chairs throughout.”
  • “Multi-sensory experiences. Engaged listening. Turn taking. Waiting and listening. Sharing. One participant insisted on joining the lesson having been offered an alternative because we thought it would be too over stimulating. He was particularly engaged, laughing and smiling throughout and tolerating touch in context with the story. [In the longer term this will help with] Shared attention. Tolerating group work. Listening and focusing. More story times please!”
  • “Great session with lights and sounds. H took part which was a surprise and Y liked the water. [In the longer term] This will help with waiting and turn taking.”

Gesher School, Brent. 14/09/18

Our Storyteller ran two multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 19 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from five teachers who judged that all 19 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All five rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “Pupils benefit from the objects of reference and the ability to interact with sensory resources. Pupils that are non-verbal and usually difficult to engage in stories interacted well in this session. Some of the sensory resources helped to regulate some of the pupils. [In the longer term this will help with] improved engagement, increase in vocabulary and comprehension. Thank you so much for coming in again. The children seem really enthusiastic to participate.”
  • “Engaging and exciting. Sensory aspects. Word usage and pace. FUN, FUN, FUN. [I was surprised that] those who are cautious and sound resistant responded well. It was good they had time to settle in and get used to the stories. [In the longer term this will help them] follow a story with props. Use all of the senses to explore stories. Stories linked to themes.”

Snowflake School, Kensington & Chelsea. 14/09/18

Our Storyteller ran four multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 16 children (the entire school) with severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from four teachers who judged that all 16 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All four rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “The children enjoyed the energetic performance, were very engaged and appreciated the sensory input provided with the resources. Certain children were able to wait their turn much better than usual. The children are not often exposed to such a variety of sensations, smells etc and this session provided them with this experience. [In the longer term] the children were able to learn from each other, to respond and react and the session was a fantastic model so tutors can prepare similar sessions when working with children on 1-1 basis or group sessions. It was brilliant!”
  • “It enabled the kids to sit in a social setting with their peers and interact with things they do not get a chance to do on a daily basis. [I was surprised that] all the kids sat really well and praised each other by clapping. [In the longer term] it will allow them to expand their knowledge as they are exposed to things that aren’t found in a school setting.”
  • “They were engaged and showed signs of anticipation which was amazing. [I was surprised that] one student got really engaged and loved the storytime resources. The other participated in all actions. [In the longer term this will help them] listen to stories in books, follow daily instructions and focus on listening skills.”
  • “They were both engaged even though the area was noisy. [I was surprised that] they both enjoyed it. It was good for them to sit and wait.”

Vale School, Haringey. 18/07/18

Our Storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 27 children with profound & multiple learning disabilities.  We received feedback from five teachers who judged that all bar four of the 27 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:

  • “The stories were very sensory. Children loved all the props. [I was surprised that] some children were more focused than usual. [In the longer term this will] improve their listening skills.”
  • “Our kids were captivated. It was a lovely session. Very well prepared. The pace was perfect for our kids. Very sensory! Encore! Encore! [I was surprised that] our kids used their voices to say clearly that they enjoyed the session. L said "Nice story". J said "do it again" on her eye gazer. [In the longer term this will help with] focus; listening skills; recall. We loved the props. It was great! We wanted more. Thank you .I keep hearing my kids say do it again!!!”
  • “They were able to feel and hear the sounds of what was demonstrated to them and it was good sensory. One boy doesn't like to touch or make eye contact but did for the story.”
  • “The children were paying attention, engaging with props and taking turns. [I was surprised that] one of our children who would normally cry in the sensory room was actually quiet looking and listening to the story. [In the longer term] it encourages children to listen carefully and engage with the story.”
  • “Great resources that our class of PMLD could all engage with. Different sensory elements that they could engage with. [I was surprised that] one child in particular was very vocal and engaged more than he usually is. It has given staff examples of good proactive to carry forward.”

Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee School, Westminster. 17/07/18

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 36 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities.  We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all bar two of the 36 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All six rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “The children were very calm and attentive. They all seemed genuinely interested in what was happening in ways that they wouldn’t have been if it was traditional stories. They enjoyed the different textures and experiences. I usually doesn’t enjoy unexpected touch or experiences; she can get very upset when encouraged to engage in some things, however she really enjoyed and was laughing all the time. [In the longer term] I think it helps build attention skills and understanding of the world.”
  • “They could explore the sensory resources and enjoyed watching their friends take their turns. [I was surprised that] one pupil enjoyed the story and was reaching for resources when it wasn’t her turn. Pupils were following the storyteller as she moved around the room. [In the longer term this will] increase their love of books and can be used to explore other areas of learning.”
  • “Students were happy exploring different sensory items. Turn taking and good waiting. Students focused during their turn. Following instructions. [I was surprised that] three were more engaged. One was following the Storyteller telling the story with his eyes and on his turn was more animated and willing to explore. [In the longer term this will help] students focus for longer. They loved each bit. Everything was fantastic. All items very creative and sensory. The Storyteller was fantastic to catch their attention and excellent time keeping.”
  • “Non-verbal class and SLD but at least three were very focused. One VI but he was also very involved. [I was surprised that] most of the pupils tolerated a new room and storyteller.”
  • “They are PMLD students so sensory stories are beneficial for them. [I was surprised that] one laughed as response to the stories.”
  • “They all engaged in their own way to the stories and props. M was very engaged and was anticipating the prop coming round for his turn. This attention was better than expected especially at the end of the day when he is tired. They enjoyed the story and will end the day with a smile on their face leaving school. Some learners may remember elements of the story which can be revisited the next day in another lesson.”

Woodlands School, Harrow. 13/07/18

Our Storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 29 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder.  We received feedback from five teachers who judged that all bar one of the 29 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All five rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “The children were engaged and using their communication skills. [I was surprised that] one of the students was using her communication skills to interact with adults. [In the longer term the] children will further develop their social skills.”
  • “Children were engaged and really enjoyed the session. All my class explored the props really well, using their hands and all showed enjoyment. Elm class loves Bag Books and they always interact. It is beautiful for SLD children but there is some waiting.”
  • “It was a different experience for the pupils, different person and different place. Able to explore multi-sensory props. The Storyteller came to each child and interacted individually. Fantastic resources for our level. [I was surprised that] M sat well throughout and explored resources. N listened well and was interested and waited for the Storyteller to come with props. Really focused. [In the longer term] I will continue with the stories as PMLD require lots of repetition.”
  • “Lots of good looking, tracking and listening. Some good anticipation when we didn’t expect it. For example jumping at a noise. A lovely, different experience that all enjoyed.”
  • “They were very engaged and waited patiently for their turn. Props very interesting for them. [I was surprised that] they really liked the noise, sounds and props.”

John F Kennedy Special School, Newham. 13/07/18

Our Storyteller ran seven multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 29 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder.  We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all bar one of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Four rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and two as “4/5 – Good”. Comments were:

  • “The Storyteller was very enthusiastic. Lots of new exciting props. [I was surprised that] the students were very engaged when presented with strong scent of cheese. Students choosing from 2 items chose their favourite prop. [In the longer term this will help with] engaging/exploring new stimuli. Engagement. Waiting time.”
  • “A lovely array of objects and senses being used. All of the students really engaged with all the objects. They were focussed with the voice, the story and objects. For the first interaction of a new story, they're not usually as focussed as they were during this story. Using these ready-made stories would be great as an in-between activity, end of morning, end of day to get a story each day! Can we keep them? ;-) All the stories!”
  • “[The session helped] pupils to interact with story props, touch and feel, sound. [I was surprised that] B interacted with the props as the story was told and F also liked the interaction with props from the story. [In the longer term this will help with] anticipation of then and now, feel and touch, switch sounds and interaction.”
  • “Students from this class are well-practised at interacting with resources and were able to respond and were very receptive. I liked the idea of the laminated magazine. [In the longer term this will help them] pre-empt what comes next in the story.”
  • “All students enjoyed listening to the story and observing the different resources. Resources were interactive. [I was surprised that] a student reached out and engaged with the story boards – he was able to use his fine/gross motor skills. The story was linked to supermarket shopping and this could help students' awareness when we are out in the community.”
  •  “[The session helped with] sensory resources: sound, smell, touch. [I was surprised that] the students were looking and reaching out. One student sat for the whole duration of the story. [In the longer term this will help with] anticipation.”

Sybil Elgar School - The National Autistic Society, Ealing. 04/07/18

Our Storyteller ran seven multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 42 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from seven teachers who judged that 42 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Six rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and one as “4/5 –Good”. Comments were:

  • “My primary pupils are learning by touching. They are visual learners. [I was surprised with their reaction] as the story was new for them. [In the longer term] it will help them to see what they can gain from being in a group story situation. They will also be more interested in stories told without text.”
  • “A sensory story - feeling and listening to sounds was interesting for the children. They experienced different sounds and felt different objects. [I was surprised that] one child said key words about the story. [In the longer term this will] encourage students to say key words and initial sounds of objects. Encourage children to take turns to use an object.”
  • “The resources caught the children’s attention. They started listening. T got very interested in the resources. R became very loud! [In the longer term] they will realise that stories can be really engaging and fun.”
  • “They enjoyed the experience of reading for pleasure and exploring the props. The sensory input was beneficial. [I was surprised that] one boy was exceptionally calm and interested. J stayed in for the whole session. C did not focus as expected. [In the longer term] they will know what to expect and what is expected of them.”
  • “They really enjoyed the story and prop exploration. They stayed really quiet. [I was surprised that] R was very focused and engaged. [In the longer term] R will definitely become more engaged in other storytelling sessions.”
  • “The participants were engaged and loved exploring the props. Some had even got the humourous part of the story. [I was surprised that] Z loved the story and he was gobsmacked - he behaved very well. [In the longer term] they will be more engaged and will know what is expected of them.”
  • “They seemed very happy and really engaged. It was interactive and meaningful. Social part of sharing a story was very visible. [I was surprised that] J was very quiet, sitting on a chair throughout the session. [In the longer term] they will know what to expect and know they explore the props safely. R and K have enjoyed the humourous part of the story.”

Mandeville School, Ealing. 02/07/18

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 58 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from five teachers who judged that all bar three of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All five rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “I joined another class but think it would have been better if my class had experienced in their own classroom. They could have sat at their tables. They would learn the story through time and learn to anticipate.”
  • “It was appropriate for our children’s learning. Repetitive and giving them time to explore the props. [I was surprised that] one of our children sat throughout the whole story and was very engaged in exploring props, especially the sand. It built confidence to watch other children have a turn and they used their own hands to explore the props.”
  • “It was all fantastic. All children participated and were engaged.”
  • “Pupils were really engaged and paying attention, listening to a new voice, following person with their eyes and looking at items being presented. [I was surprised that] all children were quiet and waited their turn. O was very vocal and laughed throughout when hearing funny noises. L was excited for her turn and accepted the item being taken away after a brief time.”
  • “The story is multisensory; they were able to feel different materials, listen to the sounds and enjoy their time together. The Storyteller interacted very nicely with the children; it was a nice story too. [I was surprised that] children were looking in the mirror, vocalising as part of a group and feeling the material. They started reaching out with their hands and anticipating a new animal and vocalising to ask their turn. [In the longer term] we can use the Bag Books we have in school. Easy to set up and quick. Please visit us more than once a year.”

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