Helicopter Stories: Letting Imagination Fly

What is Helicopter Stories?

Helicopter Stories is an Early Years, Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 approach to communication and literacy skills based on the Storytelling and Story Acting curriculum of our patron Vivian Gussin Paley. MakeBelieve Arts has been pioneering this work in the UK since its conception in 2002. It forms part of our Storytelling Curriculum.

“Helicopter Stories gives you a lot of information about the child as they’re dictating to you,showing you how they feel and how they’re doing.”
— Helen James, Chisenhale Primary School

In its simplest form, Helicopter Stories lets children dictate their stories which are written down verbatim, exactly as they are told, by an EYFS or Key Stage 1 practitioner. The children then gather around a taped out stage and the stories are acted out.

Alongside the simplicity of this approach is an ethos that is child-centred, creating a culture of curiosity and wonder at the dexterity of children’s imaginings during both the telling and the acting out of their stories.

This holistic approach uses the power of storytelling to develop key curriculum areas such as creativity, communication and language, personal, social and emotional skills in the Early Years and Key Stage 1 classroom, giving children's stories a voice in a safe space.

“Absolutely inspirational, yet so simple to achieve”
— Vicki Franks, Teacher, Kemsley Primary School, Kent.

Helicopter Stories can be used with children as young as two-years-of-age. Please, click here to see it being demonstrated at a pre-school in Tower Hamlets, London. There is also anaccompanying booklet outlining the practicalities and benefits of the approach for working with children of this age.

The Helicopter Stories approach also has benefits for children with multiple learning difficulties or special needs. Please click here to see us working in a school for children with PMLD (Profound Multiple Learning Difficulties) and SLD (Severe Learning Difficulties) in Romford, Essex.

The Benefits:

  • An inclusive, whole-class approach which values every child’s contribution;
  • Facilitates high levels of engagement;
  • Creates confidence and self-assurance;
  • Supports the development of speaking skills as children express and share their ideas;
  • Helps to develop accurate, active listening skills and understanding;
  • Supports co-operative and collaborative and creative learning;
  • Develops positive relationships within a shared storytelling experience;
  • Allows children to explore early literacy and the power of words as they see their stories come to life, and develop their ability to use and adapt language to communicate;
  • Offers children a bridge into the world of creative writing as they begin to see the links between the oral stories they compose and the words on a page.
  • MakeBelieve Arts offers:  INSETS, Keynotes, in-class sessions and workshops with Parents. We work with Local Authorities, Early Years Settings, Nurseries and Primary Schools

Have any more questions? Please get in touch here

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Helicopter Stories Training

Helicopter Stories Training

Resources

Resources

Open University Evaluation

Open University Evaluation

Helicopter At Home - Working with parents

Helicopter At Home - Working with parents