High Hill Castle

A letter arrives in a royal envelope with an unusual stamp, accompanied by a hand drawn map.
It is addressed to the children.


The Queen of High Hill Castle needs their help. Her library has burnt down and now she has no stories to tell the princess at bedtime. Having heard how wonderful the children are at storymaking, she has issued a special invitation, along with a map showing how to find High Hill Castle, so that they can come to her rescue.

The children prepare for their journey and then set out. This immersive journey is rich with opportunities for movement exploration and stimulates the children's imaginations as they travel through many exciting and challenging terrains, glimpsing fantastical things along on the way.

Once at the castle, the Queen shows them her collection of rare and precious objects (which hold the secret to many stories) and the remnants of the library which she has carefully catalogued so that they can use these as clues in their own storymaking.

These are their starting points to rebuild the Queen's library. Over the course of the project the stories they create are brought to life in the storyspace (see Stories at Large) and made into beautiful books for the new library. 

The project ends with an exhibition of this library and a demonstration of how the children bring their stories to life.

Inset training is available with this project so that the methods used to facilitate storymaking and storyacting  are passed on to the staff. In this way they can continue to use them after the project has ended. 

I can’t thank you enough for the amazing sessions of High Hill Castle. Every one seemed such a magical, revealing and creative event. The children loved it and so did we.
— Director, Nursery

Key areas of development



Listening to others, attention to stories, speaking confidently. Building clear understanding of the structure of stories and sentences. Building abilities in creative and formal language.



Interacting over different age groups; confidently re-enacting each other’s’ tales; being supportive and taking turns. The structured nature of the sessions allows children the freedom to be creative and use their imagination in a supportive environment.



Every session begins and ends physically, encouraging the children to move expressively in different ways, and tell a story through their bodies.



The children use their imaginations to tell stories and then illustrate them using different resources and techniques

– The points above are feedback from a Nursery

Using storytelling and story acting, children develop not only their creative imagination, but also their vocabulary, listening skills and belief in the importance of their thoughts and fantasies. This technique is inherently theatrical, creating in the classroom a community of audience, storytellers and performers
— MakeBelievearts

Possible locations for this project:

Nursery or children's centre (age range 3 – 5)

Primary schools – Reception classes, with the option of year 6 being involved in scribing the stories and in creating the books/ decorating the library alongside the younger children. 

This project makes use of children's movement and drawing to enrich their storymaking. 

Is it possible to visualise a type of education that sees the child as a builder of images? We think it is. Children (like poets, writers, musicians, scientists) are avid seekers and builders of images....The art of research dwells in the hands of children, and they are keenly sensitive to the pleasure of wonder.
— Loris Malaguzzi