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Storytelling In Your Area - South East England: 2018 onwards

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

Grove Park School - Secondary Phase, Crowborough. 24/09/18

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

  • “Interesting story about pirates - especially for Y5 & Y6 pupils. Very good as lots of different senses - smell, sound (amazing voices from the Storyteller) and touch. [I was surprised that] they were very engaged especially with the snakes in their hair and the bird sounds with feathers (lovely that he put all the sounds to the mic pack he was wearing for our pupils using hearing aids.) [In the longer term this will help with] the sensory aspects of a story, as more able pupils will be able to add detail to writing and more description.”
  • “It involved every pupil in the story and engaged them from start to finish. All pupils interacted as expected. [In the longer term] one session is not enough to benefit them - more is needed to see if beneficial.”
  • “Lots of interaction, all involved and kept focused. They were better than expected. They listened, sat and joined in really well. [In the longer term] they'll talk about it and discuss the story.”
  • “I thought the props were fab. Covered all needs and abilities. Lovely interaction from E and F independently spinning the compass, pulling the flag. D - smelling the mango. T - telling the Storyteller the colours of the bird. C - enjoyed opening the treasure chest. [In the longer term this will help with] anticipation during a story.”
  • “The children were all engaged at their own level. They enjoyed the props/interaction and the Storyteller was so fantastic at really getting into the story. He used such an engaging voice. [I was surprised that] one child who often has very brief engagement levels before wanting a break/walking around, remained absolutely enthralled throughout! It was such a fantastic session to help build engagement and independent interaction levels. One of the children was quite distressed but I think she did better than expected and over time I think she would be able to spend longer in here.”
  • “Lots to do and join in with. Lots of things to touch. Very enthusiastic storytelling! All pupils enjoyed the story.  :) [I was surprised that] all pupils joined in beautifully. [In the longer term this will help with] social skills and sitting in a group.”
  • “[The session helped with] listening skills. Keeping attention for long periods of time. Social interaction. [I was surprised that] they kept all on task and fully engaged. Enjoyed all stories. [In the longer term this will help them] continue to follow instructions and participate as a group.”
  • “All students really enjoyed the props. My class were able to enjoy a group session within their own workstations which helped support and calm, allowing them to participate and explore. [I was surprised that] one student was very excited and engaged in the story. [In the longer term this will help with] accepting new people and experiences - joining together for a visitor.”

The Wyvern School, Ashford. 19/07/18

Our Storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 32 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 four 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 “4/5 –Good”. Comments were:

  • “Great differentiation for the individual needs of the children. Gave each child plenty of time. Wonderful storyteller - tone of voice super. [I was surprised that] one child started to reach out for the sheets, showing good anticipation. Another child laughed throughout story. A third child woke up: with her particular syndrome this is very difficult. Seeing the Storyteller read the story has reminded me of some techniques and given me new ideas - you are never too old to learn.”
  • “The story was presented in an animated and appropriate way. The children were focussed and engaged. It was appropriate for age group and ability.”
  • “Lots of variety to cover all sensory needs. Items were of a good size for everyone to see. [I was surprised that] they all interacted well. [In the longer term this will help with] opportunities to experience different textures alongside descriptions. It catered for them all really well.”
  • “[The session helped with] attention level building, participation. [I was surprised that] R expressed emotions.”
  • “Interactive with story props. Various character voices. The Storyteller was consistently using the children's names. [In the longer term] we have been inspired to do activities like this more.”
  • “Story was very interactive for children, lots of expression keeping the children interested. [I was surprised that] the children continued to join in throughout the story. [In the longer term this will] encourage them to listen to a full story and enable them to sit for a longer period of time (more than usual).”

Heathfield and St. Francis School, Fareham. 12/06/18

Our Storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 50 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All six rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “Sensory experience through storytelling - they really enjoyed it!. Thank you! We'd love you to come more often to repeat the story.”
  • “The children had many different experiences and it catered for all the senses. Two of my class are usually more passive but were engaging well and responding. Really good!!”
  • “They listened carefully to the storyteller and anticipated their turn with each sensory resource. [I was surprised that] one pupil responded particularly well today and laughed at several points. Our pupils always enjoy sensory stories which develop concentration skills. Using the senses with confidence.”
  • “Lots of sensory things to smell, touch and feel. Children really enjoyed it. J was very taken with the elephant. [In the longer term this will help with] their needs with a wider range of stories.”
  • “ The children were animated and had good engagement. It gave our non-verbal children a chance to be included and gave a physical side to reading a story. [In the longer term this will help with] prolonged engagement.”
  • “The storyteller was so animated and instinctively picked up on the needs of each child.”

John Watson School, Oxford. 18/05/18

Our Storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 43 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 two of the 43 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Five rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and one as “4/5 – Good”. Comments were:

  • “The storyteller was fantastic with our students - really energetic and friendly. This helped all of our students to remain engaged throughout the activity. Great for practicing our speaking and listening skills. One of our students is usually very challenging to engage but sat quietly and really enjoyed touching the different materials. [In the longer term this will help with] increasing concentration during story activities and promoting good speech and language and listening skills.”
  • “The storyteller was amazing at engaging and involving every student. They really enjoyed trying the different props. Some students who are usually very shy and reserved really got involved. [In the longer term] it will help them hugely in getting more involved with group activities.”
  • “Sensory prompts were fantastic. A few who do not usually join in were very focused. As we have been given 3 new story boxes we can give some familiarity weekly. It was at a level that pupils could engage with. Great props.”
  • “They were very focussed for the entire session with big smiles! [In the longer term this will help with] improved concentration and language skills.”
  • “Really enjoyed exploring different types of sensory objects. Lots of getting involved with smells, noises, textures. Lots of looking, laughing, wanting to explore the objects. [In the longer term] it supported with engagement and made a standard story more fun and accessible.”
  • “The hands-on sensory items were great for all the children and they enjoyed joining in with the stories. [I was surprised that] T followed with interest how everyone else reacted to the sensory items and E was totally engrossed in the stories. [In the longer term this] encouraged turn-taking. All were very involved and focussed.”

Maple Ridge School, Basingstoke. 11/05/18

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 28 children with severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all 28 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All six rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “Great communication with the children. Great tactile and sound equipment for the stories. Great body language and exciting voice to keep the children interested. They were excited to touch each prop. [I was surprised that] they all enjoyed story time. Touching the props, feeling the experience. [In the longer term this will help with] finding stories exciting. Getting them interested in stories. Help imagination. Helps to differentiate ideas in English. It was fantastic.”
  • “The children were really engaged and enjoyed smelling, touching and looking at props. [I was surprised that] E did really well, touching and joining in. Usually she is very shy and refuses. [In the longer term the] children will be able to use their imagination using props in class. We can take ideas from this to use in class and lessons.”
  • “The children LOVED the stories and they gave them a real world understanding of the words and the context of the story. Exactly what our children need. They loved the urchin in the seaweed. The spider and ice cream too.”
  • “Very engaging. Sensory for all children. Resources used different skills. Children would benefit from lots more of this.”
  • “They loved touching the pages. Smells were all good. Even tried to eat the ice cream. [I was surprised that] they all enjoyed and sat very well. [In the longer term this will help with] an interest in the storyline and will help imagination.”

Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee School, Horsham. 01/05/18

Our Storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 34 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from five teachers who judged that all bar one of the 34 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All five rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “The storyteller was very engaging. His use of language was great and supported with signing. They loved the story. We have a young lady who doesn't like loud noises and is tactile defensive but she loved it! She coped with the noises really well. It helped them engage with a story and recall the main points. This led on nicely to our next activity where we reviewed a book. It helped our less able children sit and concentrate.”
  • “Interacting with students. Laughing. Facial expressions. Signing. Props for students to touch. Fantastic, thank you. Loved all the props. [I was surprised that] students joined in, touching, laughing, some speaking. Some will go home and talk about it to parents. Enjoy more stories.”
  • “Lots of things to join in with. All very focussed. [I was surprised that] all focussed and listened well. One child sat for an extended period. Another child who was away from the rest took part too, at her own level.”
  • “Got to experience a range of sensory items. Lovely and interactive. Was good in a small group. [I was surprised that it ] maintained their attention – they were engaged throughout. Every child looked at or felt the sensory items. There was verbal interaction from children which is not always the case. [In the longer term] some might be less sensitive to some items we explored. Encourages storytelling.”
  • “Three students with PMLD so nice for an activity suited to them! Great literacy links. Great engagement and a chance to track objects etc. for students with visual impairment. [I was surprised that] one student who struggles to stay awake was really engaged and AWAKE! Another student who struggles with pain and settling was so settled and calm! [In the longer term this will help with] self-esteem from being involved fully. I will definitely be doing more storytelling now I'm inspired - which will benefit them greatly! Thank you so much!”

The Beacon School, Folkestone. 25/04/18

Our Storyteller ran seven multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 55 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from seven teachers who judged that all bar five of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All seven rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “Pupils were engaged throughout the session. Helps language development and listening skills. [I was surprised that] some pupils were unusually motivated.”
  • “Full engagement. The Storyteller's approach was wonderful - just the right amount of humour. One pupil was initially reluctant but then fully engaged.”
  • “The children were all involved and enjoyed joining in with the actions and all the multi-sensory 'pages' of the book. Lots of use of language - descriptive and in character. Brilliant! Thank you. The story engaged even the quietest, more timid children. I was particularly impressed with how the storyteller was able to 'read' which children needed quieter interactions. [In the longer term] we will try to recreate this in Panama Class.”
  • “Very engaged, laughing, smiling. One student who never sits still, sat for the whole session.”
  • “Children were a little silly. Enjoyed the different sensory objects.”
  • “They enjoyed the interaction within the storytelling. [In the longer term this will help with] learning to sit and listen.”
  • “All of the pupils were engaged in the story. They were able to feel the objects of reference and interact with the story. [I was surprised that] one of the pupils found the sheep bleating very funny - he also liked touching the fish scales as he reached out as it was pulled away. Lots of smiles looking in bendy mirror. [In the longer term] there is a weekly sensory story session scheduled into our weekly timetable for most pupils, but there are two pupils who would benefit from an additional session.”

Kennel Lane School, Bracknell. 26/03/18

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 46 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. All six rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “My students were able to explore the story with independence and a level that they were comfortable with. One of my young people wasn't sure with a particular object. She was able to say “no” and the storyteller adapted to give her some control. [I was surprised with the] amazing interactions and engagements. When the seagull came out one of my students was so impressed and attentive. [In the longer term] it has benefited myself as a teacher. I was really engaged and wanted to join in. Amazing! Fab!”
  • “Group participation; sensory exploration; language; anticipation of sensory materials; enjoyment. [I was surprised that] A was reaching out to touch after just two examples; M had good looking when the Storyteller turned to get a new board out; F understood and tried to smell for the first time. [In the longer term this will help with] turn taking; language; attention skills; social interaction.”
  • “They enjoyed the physical aspect of the story and being able to join in. [I was surprised that] the students were visibly excited about touching, feeling and hearing the objects [In the longer term this will help] develop a better understanding of the story. It was great. Thank you.”
  • “It was good that they were able to get involved in one story using more than one of the senses. They could use the sensory props to bring them in to the story. Two of our students who aren't usually tactile became more involved with interacting with props than we expected. [In the longer term] as a class we could incorporate more sensory into our story telling. We all really enjoyed the sensory stories.”
  • “All of the children interacted with the props and waited patiently for their turn. Several of the children are tactile defensive but spontaneously touched the props. [In the longer term this will help] the children be more willing to engage in sensory activities.”
  • “The students were able to feel objects from the story. When this was done the students were engaged. One KS1 pupil didn’t like the towel on his head so pushed it away. [In the longer term] I feel it would encourage our children in KS1 to explore different textures.”

Stocklake Park Community School, Aylesbury. 16/03/18

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 49 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 five of the 49 children 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:

  • “All the students were engaged during the story telling. [The Storyteller] was great at interacting with all the students. One of our students was particularly happy and smiled throughout; the student doesn't usually engage well with unfamiliar people.”
  • “They all got to have a go at the sensory side and talk about their haircuts. [I was surprised that] all students reacted really well they were all excited to get involved. [In the longer term] it will give them a sense of different objects and the feel of them. They will also go away and talk about haircuts.”
  • “Mixed ability group predominately PMLD. Elm Class PMLD enjoyed being in the library and because it was a small group there was very little waiting for a turn. I knew that two pupils with PMLD would love the experience. They like sensory stories and we do them often in class. One in particular interacted with the props more than usual. [In the longer term] exposure to stories, drama and opportunities to engage with props and opportunities to engage with props are important activities to encourage communication with PMLD students. Familiarity with stories encourages pupils to engage with their world.”
  • “[The session helped with] interacting with unfamiliar people; turn taking; learning new language supported by objects of reference; handling objects of reference, textures, shapes. The Storyteller asked questions about the students before the sessions so she could best support them. [I was surprised that] all students responded well in their own way. Students who don't usually engage engaged today in the story. We have a sensory story every week but new ideas are always welcome.”
  • “All students engaged and enthusiastic. They were responding to all the equipment and intently listening to the story. [I was surprised that] the higher ability students were as equally involved. All students thoroughly enjoyed. [In the longer term] we are making our own tales and this gives a visual way of telling a story.”
  • “[The Storyteller’s] voice is nice and calm. All the students did calm after a few minutes. The interaction was good with students and the objects. [I was surprised that] L became calm, so did M. V's interaction became more enthusiastic and they were all engaged. [In the longer term] it will teach them that it is rewarding to listen because you learn.”

Chilworth House School, Oxford. 14/03/18

Our Storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 35 children with severe learning disabilities. We received feedback from five teachers who judged that all bar one of the 35 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:

  • “Engaging, exciting, even for the most disengaged children. [I was surprised that] one child who is very disengaged really enjoyed it. Both children who are noise averse engaged well despite loud noises. [In the longer term this will] influence my teaching to make stories more interactive.”
  • “The children loved touching all of the props. It was wonderful for the children to have stories that linked with real-world social events/experiences such as going to get a haircut. [I was surprised that] a couple of quieter and more shy students were laughing the whole time! [In the longer term] the students will be able to better imagine events in stories they read and hear.”
  • “[The session helped with] social interaction, sense of belonging to a group, positive mental health, discovering a different way of storytelling. [I was surprised that] some of the pupils who often are quite shy really got involved. Full of laughter. All pupils joined in on, at least, one activity. [In the longer term this will help with] team building, social interactions with different peers, exploring further ways of storytelling, deeper thought process.”
  • “[The session helped with] sensory interaction to support their understanding of the story. [I was surprised that] one child was particularly eager to take part, interacting. Sensory and visual and audio interactions. Tactile and smells. [In the longer term this will help with] the use of multisensory more in the classroom to support understanding and engagement. Repetition perhaps around words and adjectives.”
  • “[The session helped with] listening quietly and respectfully, participation in group, taking turns, touch and feel. The level of involvement was amazing. [I was surprised that] almost all kids were expressing themselves and reacting positively and enthusiastically to all props being used. Alert response to the storyteller. [In the longer term this will help] the story to come across. They might try to visualise the scenes. It was quite up to the mark.”

Forest Park Primary School, Southampton. 08/02/18

Our Storyteller ran eight multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 31 children with severe learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from five teachers who judged that all bar one of the 31 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All five rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • "It was a great experience. The Storyteller is very enthusiastic, engaging and fun, telling the stories with great voices and sound effects. Props were wonderful and sensory, catering for ALL our PMLD blind and deaf children! One pupil who doesn't always engage well in stories was extremely engaged and hooked on the Storyteller's interaction. A great sensory experience. [In the longer term this will help with] improving acceptance of noises and tactile touch. Provides the pupils with new topics/stories in a fun way."
  • "Two were very interested, watching the Storyteller all the time. One was interested when interacting with the props but not listening to the story. [I was surprised that] one was interested in the props and watched the storyteller. One answered questions when asked by the storyteller. [In the longer term this will help] engage the children in storytime. Help eye contact. Comprehension. Engage children with tactile props."
  • "Animated storytelling, multi-sensory aspect especially beneficial for PMLD pupils. I also saw SLD pupils, who often struggle to engage, joining in with the multi-sensory aspect and showing great enjoyment. J enjoyed the story and engaged really well. Some good verbal communication. A good demonstration by the Storyteller as to how we as adults can really enhance a storytelling session (especially useful for LSAs to help when they lead a session). Also great ideas how to cover all sorts of different learning - e.g. colour, size, motor-skills, listening to instructions. Thank you, it was a wonderful session."
  • "The Storyteller delivered the story brilliantly and the book was a great sensory experience, the pupils were able to enjoy a storytelling experience and participate in the story! The pupils that we didn't think would show participation joined in and co-operated fully, giving good eye contact, laughing, and signing. They showed a great reaction to the Storyteller and books. [In the longer term] it will encourage the pupils to be more interested in books, especially Bag Books."

Pebble Brook School, Aylesbury. 07/02/18

Our Storyteller ran two multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 6 children with severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from two teachers who judged that all 6 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Both rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “Lots of interaction. Great experience. Made them use speaking and touch which is good for our pupils. They enjoyed the stories shown by lots of smiling and vocal responses. [I was surprised that] there was lots of interaction from one pupil. Good listening from another pupil - longer concentration than expected. [In the longer term this will help with] teaching / helping them with a range of skills: interaction, communicating, taking turns. It was amazing!”
  • “Pupils learning to share / take turns. Giving each other their own turn. Not taking over / speaking over each other. Listening / interaction skills. [I was surprised that] they all enjoyed it and did very well at taking turns. [In the longer term this will help] learn interaction skills / social skills. Listening skills. Using these skills when listening / reading future stories. All the pupils enjoyed the story session.”

Springfield School, Witney. 06/02/18

Our Storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 33 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all bar three of the 33 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All six rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • "Great animated story-style. Encouraged participation. Appropriate for all. Great set of resources to tell, listen to, etc. Thank you. One child more vocal than usual and signed to join in. A child with visual impairment was able to feel different textures."
  • "Lots of things to touch and smell, lots of sound effects. The Storyteller went round to every pupil to let them see/have a go. [I was surprised that they] really enjoyed being part of the story. I think it was perfect and they all enjoyed it. Thank you!"
  • "Stories at pupil's level. Storyteller interacted with every pupil at their level. Made it fun / appealing. [I was surprised that] a pupil reacted to sounds of goat/elephant/pig. Pupil really focussed during whole session. Pupil laughed at pillow being thrown. [In the longer term this will help with] making storytimes fun / interesting."
  • "[The session helped with] visuals, different textures, smells and sound. Wonderful enthusiasm from the Storyteller, engaging with each child at their level of understanding. Two of our students who have ASD really showed interest and participated more than I thought - mainly due to the Storyteller's interaction. These Bag Books bring a story alive for our students and help to give meaning to words."
  • "Small space. Props were all different, catering for a range of sensory needs. Very inclusive. [I was surprised that] one pupil felt the fish. Another pupil demonstrated more anticipation. They already have many sensory stories, however as adults, we may fine tune the encounters."
  • "Very enjoyable. Lots of things to feel / touch and explore. Change of voices - very good to keep children involved. [I was surprised that] one child was very calm and relaxed and watched with intent. Very unusual to sit for so long. Another child tolerating short, sharp sounds that they wouldn't usually. I think it's really lovely to have someone to come and read for us as usually we read from books or story sacks. So to have a reader actually 1 to 1 with our children, getting them involved is fab, as it's another way to learn and have fun. The Storyteller was fab!!"
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