Almost all of us will remember being read to or told stories from an early age. We will recall the sense of wonder, of surprise and the gradual realisation that the world is a strange place where almost anything can happen.
Listening to stories is a key part of children's development. It meets so many attainment targets and outcomes in early years and early primary. It helps children to listen and pay attention to 'texts' ('texts' can be spoken or watched too). It helps with speaking and understanding, and it involves moving and handling as part of active learning. Above all, storytelling is a great way for children to learn about themselves and learn about, and make sense of, the world. It is a massive foundation for future learning. Without that kind of understanding, learning becomes meaningless because it has no context....
Our ranger presenters work in schools across the UK and do a good deal of storytelling. They also work in people’s homes – telling stories and getting children to engage with animals as part of this. It's a great way of adding some animal magic to a birthday party for example.
Our stories involve the children in a good deal of movement and acting things out. One of our in-house story workshop experiences that is really popular is the story of the Zagaro, based on a famous children's story. In our show, the hero is a ZooLab rat who takes a trip through the deep, dark wood and happens to meet a whole host of fantastic animals along the way – and some of them want to eat him!
For older, early primary age children, this story entails matching up (classification) and identification in real and imaginary situations. For everyone, it involves creativity and imagination, interactions and conversations between animals, repetitions of phrases and movements as part of a story progression. It teaches children life skills and that strength doesn't always win, as the clever little rat outsmarts predators much bigger or more dangerous than he is. This workshop is also a very gentle introduction to the topic of habitats for younger children – and there's a real surprise at the end, in the form of a twist in the tale. But you'll have to bring us in to find out what really happens....
To keep up with ZooLab stories, please take a look at our website at www.zoolabuk.com to find out more about what we do, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Call us on 0845 330 6322 to discuss your own storytelling requirements and session. We can do this in schools, in clubs and in people's homes. In fact, wherever you are in the UK, we can tell you a story...
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