Helicopter Stories: Letting Imagination Fly


The use of storytelling is outstanding. The youngest children in the Nursery enact their own stories. They use their imaginations vividly; for example, children decided that the giant in one version of 'Jack And The Beanstalk' chases princesses away and eventually eats them.

Ofsted Report, Kemsley Primary Academy

Kemsley Primary Academy is a Helicopter Stories Centre of Excellence certified training centre

In 2012-13 Helicopter Stories was evaluated by the Open University and funded by the Esmée Fairburn Foundation.

The Full Evaluation and the Executive Summary are available to download by clicking on the buttons below.

Findings from the expert evaluation of Helicopter Stories include:

"(Helicopter Stories is) extremely powerful by comparison with other structured approaches. Acquiring narrative understanding helps children understand modes of representation and gives them insight into their own thinking."

"Since the children knew their tales would be acted out, the approach provided a meaningful context and purpose for writing, which recent reviews of effective early literacy teaching indicate is critical in supporting young literacy learners."

"(Helicopter Stories) was valuable in facilitating children's engagement with learning in terms of increased attentiveness and confidence, and improved listening and communication skills: empowering children (everyone's voice has equal value including that of children with additional needs or English as an additional language); particularly enriching the confidence and oral communication of EAL learners and allowing children to develop empathy and talk about their feelings. There was also evidence regarding the approach fostering children's imagination and creative use of language."

What other people say:

"I am pleased to be able to report that Helicopter Stories has helped pupils in my classroom to develop theirconfidence in so many ways. They have improved their speaking and listening skills as well as their imagination. The acting out of stories, both the ones included in the 'Woman Who Cooked Everything' book, and their own scribed stories, has helped build their confidence. Seeing their friends act out what they have dictated to me has been great fun. Whilst I do need to modify the amount of support some pupils need, this type of learning has really helped them, as well as giving me the confidence and belief as a teacher that alternative methods of teaching can help build so many skills which may not be otherwise accessed."

Teacher, Dyrcourts School, Havering

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