Hello lovely readers,
I’ve had a terrible week. I’ve been in and out of hospital with severe eye pain to be diagnosed with glaucoma and dry eye syndrome. Really? This means I’m old and menopausal. REALLY! I immediately went to Specsavers and bought myself a pair of Jackie O prescription sunglasses and I await my appointment at Glaucoma Clinic. If I’m officially classic then I need to look it!
My good friend Zizi, Story Storks stalwart, asked if there was anything I could do and I flippantly said “write this weeks blog – I’m so blind I can’t see a computer screen.”
YES she said! So here it is. Her first ever blog! Thank-you Zizi for being a super friend as well as a lovely customer. I bond with pretty much all my customers. It makes going to work a real pleasure.
Dear Story Storks,
You have been a fixed date in our weekly diary over the entire last 4 years – and god forbid me we missed one class, it wouldn’t be a good week. And if we would not move abroad I probably would drag my kids to Story Storks until they are teenagers.
After the birth of my first daughter I decided to become for the time being a “stay at home mum” – although I actually dislike staying at home and try to leave the house at any opportunity. So I was constantly looking for fun things I could do with an under 1 year old which is not a problem at all if you live around London. And then I found “Story Storks” on Netmums and was totally blown away from the first class on. It is so much different than anything else we did before – the story of the day was Cinderella and we ended up gallopping like a horse in a circle to get back home right before midnight when Cinderella’s spell ended. I loved it and my little one giggled through the whole time. So from then on we came every week and I saw my daughter learning and gaining language skills from session to session – her vocabulary got richer, she became more versed with phonics, is getting ready to read and her confidence in talking and telling stories got stronger.
So how does this work? A Story Storks class is depending of the age group 30 – 40 minutes long and does follow a regular structure starting with a very catchy “Hello” song composed by Sarah Cantrill, the founder of Story Storks. In general a Story Storks session is full of songs which Sarah wrote or adapted from traditional nursery rhymes to fit perfectly into the different stories. Then is warming up phase which gets the children active, into listening mode and with a tickle attack opens their diaphragm too. Everything is ready for the story then, there are always a couple of actions included into the story which the children should complete at the right part of the tale. And then comes finally “Stripes” – a puppet who always gives the children a clue which story it might be this time. Story Storks has a very wide variety of stories and they reach from the traditional Brother Grimm to Greek Mythology over English History and many more. Sarah pretty much sticked to the original versions but gave the stories in certain parts a modern uplift – thats usually when Sarah and her team cracks us grown ups up. You also don’t just sit on your bottom and listen to the story, it is very interactive and the children are encouraged to get up and act part of the stories out. Although nobody is expected to do anything in a certain way, there is so much space for individuality and creativity. With all this Story Storks creates the perfect conditions for having fun while learning language and literacy skills and creating an interest into stories. It totally had an impact on my daughters language development, she is growing up billingual but is with her only 4 years already that skilled that she even corrects my English from time to time. She is very confident with her phonics and ready to read.
It was a pleasure to see my daughter blossoming through all the Story Storks classes over the last 4 years and I’m very sad that with moving abroad we can’t keep going, but I am sure we managed to build up a great foundation and she will do just fine. And part of me also hopes that Story Storks will become global and everybody can have access to it!
For now I want to THANK Story Storks for boosting my daughters language development and giving us both the most fun class we could wish for. We will miss you.
Lots of Love
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SARAH CANTRILL is a woman on a mission to inspire every young child to become a reader for pleasure. She is the Artistic Director & Founder of STORY STORKS, a social enterprise that delivers interactive story workshops to early years children and their grown ups, that help kids to fall in love with stories and develop their early language skills meaning that they have an easier time of learning to read when the time is right. She is also passionate about helping and supporting parents through the early years and lobbying for a better understanding of them and the issues they present. Occasionally she also speaks up for the kids too!