April 01, 2020
The National Centre for Writing is a frequent client of mine. They have so much going on all the time that the best way to find out more would be to head over to their website.
“We’re based at the historic Dragon Hall in Norwich, where workshops and mentoring are regularly available for writers at all levels, both face-to-face and online. Projects range from major international partnerships to vibrant festivals such as the Noirwich Crime Writing Festival and the City of Literature strand at the Norfolk & Norwich Festival.”
Research and develop an education pack of story telling ideas aimed at parents/carers and children aged 0-5 years in early years and foundation stage (EYFS) Ensuring it was accessible and fit the brief.
Facilitate a series of workshops in community spaces/EYFS settings. The purpose of this session is to introduce parents and children to the pack, how to use it and take them through the storytelling process.
The research and development for this project was fascinating and took me to many different places. I read children’s books. Researched the curriculum for that age group and developmental research. We also spoke to parents, other local organisations like the Puppet Theatre and Norwich Millennium Library. I researched story telling, elements of a story and how we can build moments together.
The next half of development was using my facilitation background and the research above to come up with activities for the pack. Different parameters to play with that would be accessible and not demand too much expense. Things like, building spaces together, finding time together and how to find stories in your everyday.
Next, all of this got pulled together into a very large document. We re-arranged, cut parts, added and shaped until we were left with the text for the pack itself. The aim was to make it as easy to use, adaptable and attractive to both the parents/carers and the children themselves. The text got sent to a very talented graphic designer who bought it to life and turned it into the pack you see today.
Being able to hold the pack after it was printed felt wonderful. I am so proud of how it looks and it is currently on display on my bookshelf.
Just as the pack got refined and adapted over the development process, so did the workshops. The workshops were an opportunity to introduce the pack. To encourage silliness. To instil that there is no single way of approaching or using the pack, or telling stories together. It is there to support you, to give you ideas and to create fun stories to share. I also wanted to ensure participants understood that not everything was going to work. If they tried an activity and it didn’t work, then that is absolutely fine. Simply try that one another day and give something else a try today. It also gave parents/carers a chance to talk to me one to one about any problems they were experiencing and to get advice.
I developed a lot as a facilitator in the project because, due to the nature of working with very young children, I went into every session knowing it was going to be completely different. The building blocks of the session were always there, but every group would be completely different. Thinking on my feet and constantly adapting was very exciting.
It was my first time developing a pack like this. I love conducting research like this and using my facilitator experience to develop exercises and then deliver. It really bought my different skills sets together in a way that very few other projects have. I would definitely love to do something like this again.
The packs we distributed in the sessions were hard copy (and beautifully printed) but you can view a version of the pack online here.
If you have a project coming up and could use some support then please do get in contact.