Story-Worlds - Open Minds Theatre Company

Please Vote for Story-Worlds at
Exploring exciting story-worlds to captivate, fascinate and ignite the
imagination of little ones and their families using sound, puppets, story-telling
and lots of bubbles.
This is a new project run by established charity Open Minds to fill a need in
local provision. Mums and Dads of toddlers in Rotherham don't have a group
to take their little ones to explore stories and books. Rotherham still has lower
adult literacy levels than 10 years ago and this project aims to develop the
confidence of both parent and child in exploring stories in a fun, practical and
engaging way.
Directly, 40 families from deprived wards will be given the tools in weekly
sessions to bring stories to life exploring the characters, scenery and sounds
using music, games and movement. They will be inspired to create story boxes
and story sacks to make at home to retell the stories and to encourage the
making up of new stories. Producing these resources will involve families being
creative in finding and making small props to encourage talk, imagination and
literacy skills.
We will also create on-line resources so that thousands of families can interact
with our story sessions and each other.
The sessions will be designed and led by Simon, a qualified and experienced
English/Drama teacher who has a 17 month old daughter, Holly. He has been
developing creative methods to raise literacy attainment amongst older
children for 20 years and realised, after having his own child, that there
weren’t any groups locally to take his little one along to. He joins Open Minds
to combine his teaching background with a desire to create something new
and delightful for toddlers and their Mums and Dads. He will be joined by our
experienced practitioners who are experts in a range of disciplines including
music, puppetry, arts and crafts and dance/movement. Volunteers with
additional skills including working with children with special needs have
already pledged their time and support for this project.
Although the sessions will be invaluable for families with young children of
talking and walking age, we are also keen to include little ones who haven’t
made their first steps or who don’t yet speak; an ideal time to introduce and
explore stories with their parents. Sat on Daddy’s lap, shuffling on their
bottoms towards Mummy or crawling amongst the bubbles as we explore the
sounds of the story; the scenery or terrain; the different characters we meet
on the way and even the emotions we display as we read, have consistently
been found to improve early learning outcomes by 4 months. Additionally,
parental engagement in early years is consistently associated with children’s
future academic success. On average, approaches that encourage parents to
participate in activities in the early years setting, have led to a positive impact
of five additional months progress over the course of a year (Education
Endowment Foundation, Early Years Toolkit, 2015).
Open Minds has over 10 years’ experience in running youth theatres for older
children and it is a natural progression to add value for the youngest ones. The
skills that the grown-ups and children will learn will last a life-time, and we
expect it to be sustained long after the community fund has ended by
expanding into other areas of South Yorkshire. Motivated by our on-line
reading packages we will seek commercial sponsorship to expand and sustain
our work. This level of funding from the Aviva Community Fund will allow us to
reach more families and develop on-line packages to reach a global family
Please vote for Open Minds’ ‘Story-worlds’ so that we can establish and grow a
unique story-telling, story-sharing group for toddlers and their parents or
carers in Rotherham. Help us to captivate, fascinate and ignite the imagination
of little ones and their families.