Busy Bees nursery in Kettering welcomed Ian Whybrow for a storytelling masterclass with staff and storytime with the children on Friday (April 22)
The storytelling session was arranged following the nursery’s success in the Busy Bees Early Years Training Academy’s National Storytelling Week competition, which was held in February.
Ian began by speaking to nursery staff about his experience as a prolific writer of children’s books, from how he became an author to where he finds his inspiration for stories.
He explained the use of rhythm and rhyme when reading to children and offered advice on how to ignite children’s imaginations and aid their development through storytelling.
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Following the masterclass, children attending the nursery aged three to five gathered for an interactive storytime, during which Ian narrated his story, Harry and The Snow King.
He introduced the dinosaur characters in his stories through actions and movement for the children to mimic.
Lucy Jakeways, a Level 3 Leadership and Management learner from the nursery, was awarded the special visit from Ian after winning the Busy Bees Early Years Training Academy’s National Storytelling Competition.
As part of the national awareness week, the national training provider challenged nursery apprentices to create their own story sack and use it to narrate a children’s story of their choice.
Lucy impressed the judges with her narration of popular children’s book Harry and his Bucket Full of Dinosaurs, written by Ian Whybrow.
She used puppets to engage children in the storytelling before extending the learning opportunities and introducing dinosaur-themed measuring and counting games.
Speaking of his involvement in the competition, Ian said: “I was really impressed when I saw Lucy’s entry and thought it was very imaginative and, most importantly, engaging for the children.
“Regular storytelling in nursery settings is absolutely key to child development and, if done effectively, will set them up for a love of storytelling for a lifetime.
“I’m pleased to share my experience and knowledge with the nursery team and hope that they are inspired to continue their passion for storytelling as a result.”
Speaking of her competition entry, Lucy said: “I wanted to start with a story that the children all know and love and then really bring it to life with the narrative.
“Cutting out dinosaur footprints to put in the hallway and using puppets throughout the story seemed like the perfect way to make it interactive for the children.”
Training manager at Busy Bees Early Years Training Academy, Fay Gibbin, said: “We are really pleased to have the support in our competition from such a prolific and popular children’s author and we would like to thank Ian for his involvement and for offering his time and expertise to our staff.
“The training programmes we offer cover many different aspects of child development, whether learners are undertaking a full apprenticeship or one of our one day workshops.
“Storytelling plays a big role in not only creating an engaging and fun environment for children, but also encompasses many areas of learning in line with the Government’s EYFS framework for the under fives.
“We had a very high standard of entries from our nursery apprentices and it was tough to choose the overall winner, but Lucy really impressed us.
“We hope she and the team enjoys the masterclass with Ian and it is an inspiring and educational experience.”
National Storytelling Week is an annual event hosted by the Society for Storytelling.