Stories at Large

Storymaking and storyacting for Foundation Stage – Nursery and Reception to
develop creativity, confidence and communication skills.

Children are born knowing how to put every thought and feeling into story form. If they worry about being lost, they become the parents who search... Any approach to language and thought that eliminates dramatic play ...ignores the greatest incentive to the creative process.
— Vivian Gussin-Paley


These sessions develop children's innate ability to be story-players – to create, act out, share and exchange stories. A variety of strategies to facilitate individual and group storycreating and the children then bring these to life using an approach from the work of Vivian Gussin - Paley.

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

Learning across all areas

Stories at Large supports learning across all areas of the curriculum, providing a motivating and exciting context for children to develop their abilities: It...

  • Creates an enabling and inclusive environment where each child's voice is heard and valued
  • Ensures all children are actively engaged in developing their physical as well as their verbal vocabulary
  • Empowers children as their stories and ideas come to life
  • Encourages collaborative relationships a children act out and discuss the themes of the stories
  • Develops children’s capacity as ‘possibility thinkers’ which has been likened to the engine of creativity
  • Develops confidence, communication and listening skills
  • Builds understanding of the world and empathy for other peoples' feelings
  • Extends literacy skills and the ability to create coherent narratives

There are many ways to embed this way of working into the nursery or school setting, so that staff and teachers can continue to use these techniques on an everyday basis. Skylarker offers inset training in this.

These sessions are a vital part of our planning as a nursery as Pip’s work is rich with opportunities for the children to express themselves and grow.

Stories at Large can also be a productive tool when planning for the individual child, as we have often found that a child who is currently affected by a transition will express their fears and triumphs in the stories they tell and will then have a chance to resolve them the following session.

It is a truly wonderful mixture of adult-led and child-initiated activity which responds to the unique child.
— Manager, Nursery
Pip’s Stories at Large sessions are invaluable to the nursery. Stories at Large ignites a creative spark in all of the children and encourages their imaginative abilities. The children attend the sessions with a high level of focus and enthusiasm as they tell and re-enact their stories
— Manager, Nursery

Further information

Two London-based companies use the work of Vivian Gussin-Paley as a central part of their practice.