Helicopter Stories is a simple approach based on the work of Vivian Gussin Paley. It involves acting as a scribe by writing down a child’s story word for word as they are saying it. After it has been written the time is then taken to act it out. In the nursery we tend to do this with a bigger group. However, they can be done at home with only one child. When we are in nursery it is usually an A5 size of paper that is used. However, as you are at home you can choose whatever size of paper you want. It might be nice to use a notebook and keep them all together if you choose to do it more than once.
Listening to your child’s story.
There are no rules to how long their story must be. Their stories can range from just one word to a few short sentences, sometimes they can even write a list. For a child to become a confident storyteller they must be allowed to tell their stories the way they want, without anyone interfering or interrupting them. This will help them to trust that what is being written and acted out are their own words.
Try not to interrupt
Naturally when we are reading stories to children or if a child is telling us a story, we would ask questions. Such as how big was the elephant? When the child is talking try not to ask them questions or influence their story in any way. Just listen to them so that you can hear everything that is being said and are able to write every word down. Perhaps after the child has told their story and acted it out, you could then ask them to scribe for you while you tell them a story. It doesn’t matter if they can’t write the words properly, as when you act it out you will both remember what was said.
Make a stage
Normally a stage for Helicopter Stories will be marked out using masking tape . Remember there are no rules at home so you can use the hallway, stairs, living room… Ask your child to decide where they want their stage to be and they can make their own rules up. Your acting area can be whatever and wherever you want it to be.
And Finally, Act It Out
When you begin to act out the stories let your child be in charge. It is their story so they will show you exactly how they want it to be acted out. Let your child decide what character they want to be and tell you what character you are going to be.
This is a great activity to get the whole family involved. If there are only two of you, each of you can be more than one character. Just as the child can’t do anything wrong in this activity neither can you. Just play, try not to take over, and release your inner child!
Find out more about Helicopter Stories on their website here.
Most importantly have fun! You might like to share your stories with us on Twitter @GlenwoodFC #Glenwoodlearningathome