I am frequently asked how I come up with all my stories, lesson plans and activities, with lots of parents commenting on my use of 'easy to replicate at home' ideas and using resources 'they would never have thought of using'. Writing stories has changed my life, helping me to build a successful business and giving me a better work life balance.
So I thought I would give you a little insight into behind the scenes of story writing at Story Sense.
When I was younger, I never saw myself as a writer. English lessons were the worst and I never much enjoyed writing stories. Then I became a primary school teacher. I had to write stories and support children to write stories too. Learning to teach opened up a whole world to me when it came to writing stories and I found a little fire inside of me was lit. I loved helping children to think of how to improve their stories. I was challenged in the classroom on many occasions to think on my feet and come up with something there and then. And then I found a passion for supporting early reading after helping one little girl start from scratch (I always taught KS2 where children had the basic building blocks for reading, so this was fairly new to me).
When I started my business, I wanted something unique. Sensory activities are used all around the world by many different people but I wanted to make my classes special. Between myself and my husband, we started writing stories. We chose a few characters and started from there. I never came up with them all in advance. Some weeks I would get to the day of packing the car and wouldn't have a clue what the class was going to be. Paul and I would spitball ideas at each other, starting with the activities I wanted to do and building the story around that. I even make a lot of my resources so sometimes that slowed us down too! We could spend hours coming up with ideas. Sometimes they were great but impractical for class, other times they were just naff! Writing my own stories was never going to be the easy way to build a business.
After a while of running classes, the story writing got a little easier. We could come up with a story within 5 or 10 minutes. After a year of long evenings and preparation, reems of notes scribbled on, scrunched up and started again, I had 52 weeks of class plans and 52 stories based on our 6 loveable characters. Not all of the stories worked out. They perhaps didn't fit with the class setup or those who came to class just didn't gel with them as I hoped. And that was OK. It was fine to have some that didn't work. Not everything is right the first time and I have grown in my knowledge and expertise over the last 4 years through mistakes and practice.
Since then, writing stories has become second nature and some of my online lockdown stories were made up on the spot. I find I do it even more with my own children now, and boy are they able to make up a good story to share with us from being immersed in that kind of creativity every day.
From my classes came lots of other services, including preschool and nursery outreach to individual birthday parties, all which have a story written specifically for them based on a theme of your choice.
I aspire to making my stories into a book for children one day. Not because I want to be an author, but I would love for our stories to come alive at home for young children, reminding them of their adventures in class. I want to inspire other parents and generations to come to find a love for stories and books and to use these in their play. My children inspire me daily to continue writing.
If you want to come and join unique sensory story classes in South Devon, or if you would like to find out more about our bespoke birthday packages then take a look at our website while you are here using the menu above to navigate around.
If you have a question or would like more information, feel free to get in touch.