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Storytelling In Your Area - South East England: 2017 onwards

Since January 2017 we have organised the following multi-sensory storytelling sessions:

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!!"
Rivermead School, Gillingham. 28/11/17

Our Storyteller ran three multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 21 children with severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from three teachers who judged that all bar two of the 21 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All three rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “Every single learner benefitted from this session today. They were all fully engaged, less anxious behaviours displayed, good behaviour and enjoyment all round. [I was surprised that] one of our learners who often becomes withdrawn with new activities participated and engaged extremely well, and showed no signs of anxiety. One of our more shy learners smiled, confidently engaging in the story. Learners very engaged, good/improved behaviour. Attention and focus increased for all learners. Learners remembered title who have low memory recall. Informative, ideas for adults working with learners to support reading engagement.”
  • “They were able to join in with the story and feel part of it. It was very sensory and they enjoyed touching and feeling the materials.”
  • “Engaged well in the story and sensory elements. Hopefully help with engaging in future storytelling.”

Oakley School - Primary Site, Tonbridge. 07/11/17

Our Storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 32 children with severe learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all bar three 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:

  • “Zebra Class students really benefit from lessons that have a sensory element to them. They enjoyed touching the materials and making the sounds! [I was surprised that] most were engaged and participated. This will help in the longer term.”
  • “The sensory props were very motivating. Every child was involved in the highly interactive story. They obviously enjoyed it. The stories were beautifully delivered in a clear accessible way, including Makaton signs, which were essential for some pupils. [I was surprised that] one child, who is profoundly deaf, particularly enjoyed interacting. Another quite able child was able to join in with the story, repeating phrases appropriately. [In the longer term this will help with] increased interest in storytelling. Improved listening skills.”
  • “All of the children were sitting, enjoying and willing to take part in the story and were having a fantastic time. Very sensory. Lovely!! One of our children finds it difficult to be sitting for long or take part but he was very happy to be listening to the story and taking part.”
  • “[The session helped with] sensory experience. Inclusive. Calming/relaxed environment. Less controlled - childlike. [I was surprised that] the children showed less anxiety than expected. They were interacting with their peers in a positive way. Very alert. Eye contact. [In the longer term this will help with] a better understanding of all components/characters/lessons learnt. Social and communication. Stories don't always have to be work.”
  • “All students were able to engage and participate in session. Fantastic resources, especially liked the elephant trunk! Very good pace and level of humour. [I was surprised that] O was able to engage for a long period of time and remained focussed throughout session. H was able to contribute confidently. [In the longer term this] enables staff to consider creative storytelling, planning creative use of sensory resources. Will use photos from today to inform a talk-based literacy session.”

Martha House, Deal. 27/10/17

A Build-A-Book day involving eight adults with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. The centre staff member commented, "Lots of interaction with both clients and staff by the trainers. Both staff and clients were kept interested. Everyone absolutely loved today's workshop. It has given us another way in which we can communicate with our residents. It was absolutely fab . Both trainers did an amazing job and we hope to see them again soon.”

The Grange, Horsham. 23/10/17

A Build-A-Book day involving eight adults with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. The centre staff member commented, "Creating a resource which we can use many times. Having great fun whilst being creative. Age appropriate conversation with service users. K was very good at sawing and KB who is visually impaired was focussed and loved the vibrations of the drill, saw, etc .Increased confidence in group setting. Understanding who the whole process of creating a book from start to finish. [The Bag Books staff] ran a superb workshop.

Beechcroft - Hazel Lodge, East Grinstead. 23/08/17

A Build-A-Book day involving five adults with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. The centre staff member commented, "Fully experimental - doing things we don't usually do like sawing, hammering, glue gun, sanding. Deep level of enjoyment. Real sense of enjoyment, everyone was taking part. Concentration and great interaction. Great ideas to build on. More of this would be great.”

Mary House, Hastings. 15/08/17

A Build-A-Book day involving eight adults with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. The centre staff member commented, "All residents enjoyed all the activities, very entertaining and interesting. P was very active and enjoyed being part of the story, all activities to make the book pages, staying with his peers all the time. This is so unusual for him. Very inclusive storytelling which is very unusual. It was just fantastic. Very entertaining.”

Norman Gate School, Andover. 06/07/17

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

  • “They were very engaged and all had a go trying all the props. [I was surprised that] E in the afternoon session was engaged and stayed for both stories. This also applied to D in the morning session too. [In the longer term] we could use similar items to involve the children in the stories adding signs. Thank you.”
  • “All the children were engaged and participated in the story. They really enjoyed them. [I was surprised that] all interacted. Two were very reluctant at first but soon joined in. [The Storyteller] was brilliant at getting them involved. Children showed their confidence in joining in with the story.”
  • “Very interactive. Explored all the boards. Great communication and relationship between storyteller and children. One child finds it difficult to engage but sat for most of the story, touched and explored everything and wanted more. [In the longer term] they will develop their engagement with stories , their love for stories and anticipation and exploration skills.”
  • “I brought six of my class to the session. They sat quietly and were engaged. Repetition was useful and encouraged all to join in. A girl who is always reluctant to engage and join just loved the stories. [In the longer term] it has given me ideas. It was fab and I will use in Sept with my new class.”

Freemantles School, Woking. 22/06/17

Our Storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 40 children with severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all bar three 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:

  • “They benefitted greatly from today. Every participant was given the chance to get involved and the style of the stories was basic but very effective. Each child had a great chance to fully interact with the story. [I was surprised that] a couple of students who don't usually interact verbally very much, interacted a good few times. [In the longer term this will help] by allowing them to gain a better understanding of the world through telling a sensory story. It was perfect for the ability of participants.”
  • “All children sat, listened, and joined in with the stories. Also our children love sensory. [I was surprised that] one child was very engaged and joined in.”
  • “Good interaction. Simple stories that the children could understand. Good visuals for non-verbal children. [I was surprised with] lots of participation from children that would normally be quiet and shy. [In the longer term this will help them] engage for longer sessions with longer stories. Presented really well.”
  • “Engaging storytelling (different voices / actions). All children benefitted from overall sensory experience offered. One student did particularly well as rarely sits for longer than five minutes before needing to be on the move, but the stories both captured and kept his attention throughout. [In the longer term this will help improve] attention span, anticipation skills, sharing a story and turn taking. It was perfect.”
  • “[The session helped with] interactions and anticipation. More anticipation than expected.”
  • “[The session helped through] props and interaction. [I was surprised that] one student engaged when previously refused. [In the longer term this will help with] joint attention / engaging for prolonged periods of time.”

Forest Bridge School, Maidenhead. 20/06/17

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

  • “They all got a chance to join in and were focused. The story was perfect for them. [The Storyteller] was very welcoming to them all and and he made the story fun through his interactions with individuals in the class. They all participated as expected. However, you were left in no doubt they enjoyed it. [In the longer term] it will be incorporated into future story times.”
  • “All our children were fully engaged at all times, which does not happen when just reading a book. They were involved and got to touch and see the props which they loved. I was surprised with the reactions from all of them! Their attention was on [the Storyteller] for 30 minutes, which doesn't usually happen. [In the longer term] if children are more involved in the story then they will understand it more. It was great.”
  • “All were engaged and enjoyed the session.”
  • “They loved the interactive nature of the stimuli combined with the story. They benefitted from all children having the opportunity to see / touch stimuli one at a time. Some children sat and fully attended for longer than I'd expected and behaved appropriately throughout. Our children don't always respond well to exposure to strangers. It will encourage positive interactions when future guests visit our school.”

Endeavour Academy, Oxford. 16/06/17

Our Storyteller ran multi-sensory storytelling sessions.

The Ridgeway Community School, Farnham. 19/05/17

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 four teachers who judged that all bar one 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:

  • “[The children] participated, they were fully engaged and remained seated. [I was surprised that] all engaged throughout session. [In the longer term this will help] during English, use more sensory items.”
  • “They all sat and listened to the story. Learning to sit and pay attention is difficult for them. They were engaged in the story and liked looking at the props. One of our students finds it difficult to be in crowded rooms, but sat throughout. Other students that find sitting in group situations hard also stayed and sat throughout. Today's session was a taster. If done on a regular basis it would encourage the children to stay seated and concentrate when in a group setting.”
  • “Our students have complex needs and need sensory stories to engage and be involved in the story. [I was surprised that the] students were engaged. The Storyteller was animated and enthusiastic.”
  • “I think they really enjoyed the interaction and the suspense of the stories. The storyteller was very good!. [I was surprised that] a non-verbal child made noises. Also we had an unexpected response from child who finds it difficult turn taking. [In the longer term this] help give them a voice, help with turn-taking and listening skills.”

The Jigsaw School, Cranleigh. 08/05/17

Our Storyteller ran three multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 22 children with 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:

  • “Participants were able to take part in Joint Attention activities as a group. The session encouraged listening and imitation skills amongst others. Participants also engaged in 'turn-taking', waiting and sharing, which promoted social skills. [I was surprised that] most participants were able to interact with all the sensory props. Participants reacted better than expected, i.e. they showed likes and dislikes of different smells. [In the longer term] it will allow the curriculum to be tailored more creatively when targeting early skills, such as imitation and listening in a group. Sensory activities will also help to focus attention on learning targets.”
  • “Participants mostly benefitted from opportunities for sharing, turn-taking, and listening to various stories. It was particularly good to have stories linked to functional-like skills for our KS4 group. Fine motor skills were also good to practice. [I was surprised that] all participants reacted and interacted very well. They were eager to try all the resources. [In the longer term] we are going to try and incorporate more opportunities into the curriculum where functional-like skills are practiced in a storytelling session.”
  • “All participants had the opportunity to interact with various sensory resources, and also with [the Storyteller]. He encouraged language development by repeating sections and waiting for pupils to respond, too. The session also promoted social skills of turn-taking, sharing and waiting. [I was surprised that] pupils reacted very well, they particularly enjoyed the auditory and olfactory stimuli. They also understood the jokes / funny actions, and they smiled / laughed which was good to see. [In the longer term] story listening was reinforced and this will encourage pupils to seek out books and other activities that link to early reading skills.”

Frank Wise School, Banbury. 26/04/17

Our Storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 48 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all 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:

  • "The children were fully engaged and clearly benefitted from how the story was presented, drawing on all of their senses, and each having the opportunity to explore each page / object. [I was surprised with] the level of eye contact and independent exploration / imitation of the actions and pages presented. I would welcome further opportunities to engage with Bag Book sessions."
  • "[The session helped with] generalising classroom-learnt skills in a different context and with a different person. One little boy, sometimes reluctant to join in with new people, actively participated throughout. [In the longer term this will be] part of their ongoing learning experiences."
  • "The session was highly engaging and very well resourced to meet pupil needs. One pupil in my class was more engaged than he is known to be during storytelling. [In the longer term] I could bring similar storytelling approaches / use the resources within my lessons. It was brilliant!"
  • "All the children were entertained by story and the storyteller. All the children were given the chance to engage with resources. The story was motivating for all children. [I was surprised that] they all remained seated! [In the longer term] they will be more familiar with reading future Bag Books."
  • "Due to the various support materials, there was something to interest / stimulate / excite each pupil. [I was surprised that] some pupils who may have stood up / walked away / not taken part, did seem on-task during the story and did take part. [In the longer term] they may refer to the resources during another lesson or talk about them during their free time between lessons."
  • "All children engaged for the whole session and the pupils thoroughly enjoyed the interactive elements. The delivery was high-energy and the pace was suitable for group. [I was surprised that] they focussed so well. PUPIL COMMENTS: "Fantastic!" "Like the sharing." "Like the parrot." "I like all of it." "I like the skunk." "Pig!" "Elephant!" "Pirates!" [In the longer term this will help with] good memories. Reminder to adults / inspiration for future storytelling, maybe. "Come back for more stories!" - Pupil comment."

Abbey Court School - Primary Site, Rochester. 22/03/17

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 44 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from five teachers who judged that all 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:

  • "Age appropriate. Picked up on students' individual needs. Positive interactions. Engaged all students. One student was engaged in the tactile nature of story, when they can be reluctant to engage in this sort of activity. Will give support staff enthusiasm for sensory storytelling."
  • "Very interactive - very skilled storyteller. Quickly learnt pupils’ names - this settles them well. [I was surprised that] a PMLD pupil looked in the mirror if they thought no-one was looking. It will support my sensory storytelling - reminded me to rotate who's next / turn so some pupils not always starting or left to last."
  • "They thoroughly enjoyed the stories and the opportunity to join in with the props and making the sounds to go with the story. One pupil smiled and joined in with all parts of the story when usually he is reserved and unwilling to participate. Another pupil sat and attended to the stories for 30 minutes when often he can only attend for short periods of time. [In the longer term] they'll be more willing to join in with some stories and we have discovered some motivators when exploring the props that go with the stories."
  • "Sensory, interactive, storyteller enthusiastic, very visual, resources fit for purpose, pitched at the students' level and focussed them, audience participation, enjoyable, very inclusive for all levels.. [I was surprised that] all the students interacted and sat well. Some have extremely challenging behaviours but they focussed. PMLD students interacted and focussed well, too. [In the longer term this will help with] communication, turn-taking, sharing, trying new activities they find hard, incorporates the curriculum."
  • "Each of our pupils got something from the session. Our PMLD pupil enjoyed the sensory element and our higher achievers enjoyed the enthusiasm of [the Storyteller] One of our ASD students reacted extremely well. He usually enjoys reading to himself in isolation, but this session involved everybody and helped him learn turn-taking and social interaction in a fun way. Storytime will now be associated with ‘fun'!"

Woodlands School, Leatherhead. 15/03/17

Our Storyteller ran five 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 six teachers who judged that all 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:

  • "The story could be accessed from many different levels. All of the children were encouraged to explore with their senses, the verbal children learnt some new words, and ALL enjoyed interacting with a new adult. [I was surprised that] all of the children were well engaged. [In the longer term this will be] great for encouraging interaction and confidence. It was very well pitched for our children."
  • "All students engaged, enjoying the different storyteller and resources. Appropriate for PMLD group using different senses. It was good to mix the students up so they came together from different classes. [I was surprised that] R gave good eye contact and used both hands to explore resources. T was also able to feel and listen well with size of resources. Good ideas / modelling for staff to take back to class. Simple but very effective."
  • "Very good stories that use touch, smell, listening and looking. Very good for PMLD. Stories interesting and simple enough for children to follow. Stories were a good length. R held his hand up very well showing he was interested and wanting to interact. All responded well and enjoyed [the Storyteller’s] voice and storytelling. It showed staff that stories can be simple and still effective and how to use the props. The Bag Books that were given to the school will be well used.""
  • The pupils in the class engaged with the story and enjoyed the sensory items. One child who finds it particularly difficult to engage in activities for long periods sat and joined in with the story. Other pupils really engaged and participated with the story. The pupils are already looking forward to the other stories left behind. It was good for the staff to see how the story was presented. Simple language but engaging with lots of props / sensory items. Would love to see you again."
  • "All the children were thoroughly engaged in the story and smiling throughout. The multi-sensory book was really good as it enabled all the children to participate, as some have visual problems. The tactile element of the story was great for our children. All children reacted really well to the story. The children all reacted well to [the Storyteller’s] touch cues. He modelled the book extremely well and we can now use the books with confidence."
  • "Very involved, engaged. [I was surprised that] L, L and T all wanted to take over. S showed great anticipation. S engaged more than expected."

Optalis, Wokingham. 20/02/17, 27/02/17, 13/03/17

There were a total of 20 adult participants across the three sessions. There were three trainees. Two rated the overall training/mentoring as "5/5 - Very Good" and one as "4/5 - Good". One added, "Very interesting with positive feedback from trainer."

Norwood Ravenswood, Crowthorne. 20/02/17, 27/02/17, 13/03/17

There were a total of 16 adult participants across the three sessions. There were two trainees. One rated the overall training/mentoring as "5/5 - Very Good" and the other as "4/5 - Good". One added, "Bag Books seems a very well thought out method of storytelling and I'm confident in using the. Practice will improve my technique to make most of them." The other added, "This storytelling has expanded my confidence and knowledge."

Abbey Court School, Rochester. 13/03/17

A Build-A-Book day involving seven children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities. The teacher commented, "All pupils experienced a variety of activities to try - working together and taking turns was very beneficial. It's great they all start and finish this project over the day. Good to try new skills - using "dangerous" tools/equipment. Opportunity for every pupil to try everything. Very practical and motivating. Supported extending engagement and focus in a group activity. Students have now a clear understanding of how Bag Books are created and have developed a great sense of ownership in regards to their work. Those pupils whom possess challenging behaviours tried lots of the tasks involved. All had fun and observed their peers. One pupil managed to stay on task for most of the day and allowed peers to share resources with him. This particular student finds it difficult to concentrate on the same activity for more than 30 mins. Gives us ideas on creating sensory stories. The pupils will be familiar with using new and different equipment. The pupils involved can show their work to their friends. Great team working day. They should now be more able to work alongside others and will develop their vocational skills. Great pace, good fun and pupils were achieving throughout. A lovely idea and relaxing day. More of it please!!"

Milestone Academy, Longfield. 10/03/17

A Build-A-Book day involving six children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. The teacher commented, "All engaged which for one student is very rare and was wonderful to see. They all experienced stimuli they would not normally and had something to show for it at the end. Two of our students watched what their hands were doing which is a skill they are working on. Has given us as staff more insight into stimuli that will engage the students. Has given our class something to share with the rest of the school."

Rachel Madocks School, Waterlooville. 09/03/17

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 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:

  • "They enjoyed the different voices used and direct interaction. [I was surprised that] one of our children laughed throughout one of the stories, enjoying the different voices used. [In the longer term] we will do more multi-sensory stories in class."
  • "The storyteller reacted with the children really well. They enjoyed the story. [I was surprised that] D really came to life when the storyteller was interacting with her. [In the longer term] we will hold more multi-sensory stories within our class."
  • "The children loved it, really good for them to hear a story from someone else! Thank you. [I was surprised that] there were lots of smiles and engagement. [In the longer term this will help with] exploring sensory stories that are very simple - not too complicated. We really enjoyed the experience of having the story."
  • "[The session helped with] responding to new people. The pupils enjoyed exploring the props with a variety of sounds / textures. All behaved better than expected. In particular, two pupils responded well through sitting quietly and waiting for their turn. [In the longer term this will help with] enjoyment of a new experience - props, sounds, etc."
  • "The different cards with items to help tell the story was great. [I was surprised that] the elephant trunk and sound was well received by one pupil. [In the longer term it can be used for topic, history, etc."
  • "The children really enjoyed the sensory story and resources. They were responsive and focussed. They had a great time. They have experienced and learnt new things. It has supported their focus, attention and literacy skills."

Hill House School, Lymington. 08/03/17

Our Storyteller ran thee multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 17 children (almost the entire school) with severe learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder . We received feedback from five teachers who judged that all 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:

  • "A good amount of student involvement ranging through the different senses. A few students were more interactive than usual. [In the longer term this will help with] more sensory awareness, group work."
  • "The storytelling was very interactive for our young people. [I was surprised that] the storytelling got all students smiling. [In the longer term] it benefits the young people as they are interacting. They are learning and all understanding different areas. It was very good."
  • "Participants were very sensory and the session met their social sensory needs. Amazing facial expressions and interactions from ALL students. [In the longer term this will help them] develop managing their leisure time. It was perfect!"
  • "Very sensory, fun and silly. Enjoyed the different sensory items and surprises in the story. [I was surprised that] one student was really enjoying it and was laughing and smiling away. Students didn't know what to expect and I didn't know how they would react, but they really enjoyed it. I think this is a step forward for our students."
  • "Participants are very sensory-based, so the sensory boards made the story more interesting & easier to understand. [I was surprised that] all participants took part and interacted well. [In the longer term this will help with a] better understanding of the story."

Brookfields Special School, Reading. 07/03/17

Our Storyteller ran six 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 three of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Three rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”, two as “4/5 – Good” and one as “3/5 – Average”. Comments were:

  • "First story was great! Second story a bit more challenging. [I was surprised that] A did some great looking and interacting."
  • "Two out of the three children were engaged entirely throughout. The other child flittered in and out of sleep. However, when she was awake she was very aware of the storyteller's voice. [I was surprised that] one of the children was able to repeat the different animals the storyteller talked about within the story. Normally this child will repeat the same words (unrelated to the task) - this suggests that she reacted to the story better than expected. [In the longer term] it provided my pupils with a lot of experiences - the vast majority of which were accessible to them, i.e. different smells, tactile resources and interesting vocalisations made by the storyteller. The children and staff thoroughly enjoyed the two stories shared."
  • "The kids in Orange Class have very challenging behaviours, and they were all engaged in the turn-taking element of the story, and all remained sat throughout (almost!) which for our class is a big thing! Well done, thoroughly enjoyed the story! Prior coming to the story, a couple of our kids were upset / angry in class, and the storytelling took their mind off this! I think more than anything it gave us staff better ideas on how to engage the pupils during sensory storytime, and this will greatly benefit them in the future!. Really good, thank you!"
  • "Good levels of interaction, lots of sensory materials to explore and each given individual attention to explore. Big, clear, facial expressions. Simple language and clear variety of tones. All of above led to participation and engagement. [I was surprised with the reactions of] four out of the six pupils. Interacting & engaging for a long period of time. Exploring the props and using the activities. If it were regular it would improve interaction. Staff gained from today's session too, which will allow us more ideas for sensory stories to build on this."
  • "B enjoyed the pirate story."
  • "First story engaged all students which was great for our level of students. The second story not as much - however I feel one was enough. No fault of the storyteller. All interacted so well. It was lovely to see. We all really enjoyed it. Thank you."

Manor Green School, Maidenhead. 02/03/17

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 five teachers who judged that all bar two of the 32 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Three rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and two as “4/5 – Good”. Comments were:

  • “[The session helped with] participation and interaction. One of my students is having visual and hearing impairment. She is also tactile defensive. We've been surprised how well she tolerated all the sensory experience throughout the story. The sensory classes already have multi-sensory storytelling sessions but it was nice that the children were entertained by a different person / story.”
  • “All participants enjoyed the story and engaged in it. Students followed the story and knew what sensory experience came with the line after seeing it once. [I was surprised that] one student who can be quite withdrawn engaged with several sensory experiences. [In the longer term] it has given staff ideas to improve our stories.”
  • “[The Storyteller] was brilliant and engaging and treated each student as an individual. The stories had lots of repetition which aids their understanding. [I was surprised that] tactile defensive and visual impaired students ben
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