Case Study: Storytelling and Story-Shield Making Workshop with Heronsgate School

Cultural Providers: Wassledine

Teacher: Caron Gardner-Potter (Deputy Head-Teacher)

In December 2017, The Culture Challenge provider, Wassledine, got 12 young people from years 3-6 at Heronsgate School in Milton Keynes, out of the classroom and into the big outdoors. (Yes, in December!) The aim? To get these pupils experiencing outdoor learning in a storytelling and story-shield making workshop.

Before the workshop, Deputy Head-Teacher, Caron Gardner-Potter, gave us some information on her application form about why she wanted this The Culture Challenge workshop. She wrote,

“A group of Heronsgate pupils present with attachment issues arising from early trauma. We would like to work more intensively with 12 of these pupils to work with a creative practitioner to help build skills and confidence, as well as fun and enjoyment. We would like to work with an artist who could help the children explore and enjoy the outdoor  spaces we have here at Heronsgate…Participants should explore the outdoors and create a piece of artwork inspired by nature. They should have fun and create something they are proud of using new skills…We anticipate a rise in their confidence.”

After the workshops, Caron went on to give us some detailed feedback about the children’s experiences and the quality of the workshop. She said,

“Captivated audience, were intrigued with storytelling. Group became involved with ideas and suggestions when invited. They were very interested in making their story frames and volunteering their own ideas. A wonderful experience for the adults involved too.”

When asked if the children enjoyed the workshop, Caron said,
“Pupils were excited to go outside with many chatting freely. They were happy to discuss their ideas and how they might end their story and/or share their ideas with others. They proudly shared their story frames and some verbally shared their story with the ‘new teacher’.”

Caron said that the activity was successful in meeting her aims and marked it 4/5 for overall quality and suitability for the group. She also said there were a number of ‘lightbulb moments’ during the session:

“…one boy described a treeman and his duties and three boys described a ‘den’ for creatures (badgers) and one girl described a fairy pathway.”

When we asked how well the children engaged with the activity, Caron said,

“A few required adult support to re-focus but all achieved the planned outcome of finding spots/areas and creating a story. As the day progressed the atmosphere became more relaxed with pupils saying they would like to do the activities again.”

Caron ended her feedback by saying it was, “a very beneficial day with lots of
genuine thank yous”.

Wasseldine's Jane Lambourne has over twenty years experience working with schools
Wasseldine’s Jane Lambourne has over twenty years experience working with schools