W+Ker Ellie has been getting properly stuck in to our Forever Curious project, helping out with this year’s brilliantly hands-on workshop. She wrote us a story about our latest FC day which, fittingly, was all about telling stories:
Magical morning mayhem. That’s the title I gave the morning I spent being ‘Forever Curious.’ Let me explain….
I’m still a bit of a newbie to W+K, but one thing I have heard mentioned since day one is ‘Forever Curious.’ Being a curious soul, I was intrigued to learn more. I found out it involved helping children and being creative, so I took the leap into the unknown and signed up.
On Friday 27th March, I found myself at Chats Palace in Clapton at 9am. The workshop was called ‘My Creative Story’ and we were joined by 16 children from Newport school in Leyton, aged 8-10. I didn’t know what to expect, slightly fearful of having to stand up in front of everyone and make a fool of myself.
We were paired off, one adult working with one child, although I was fortunate enough to be paired with two boys. They were brilliant.
The idea behind ‘My Creative Story’ is for children and adults to use our imaginations and create our own stories. We were each given a sheet of paper prompting us to describe a character, what happens, what prevents them from achieving what they want, etc. This became the outline of our story.
From our story outlines, we could develop the story in more detail. There were four activities on offer, with each adult/child combo completing two activities. The activities were Puppet Corner, My Story Den, Act it Out and Inside Out. My team completed My Story Den and Inside out.
My Story Den was a great experience. We built dens! Yes, proper, hidey–hole type dens… I can’t really remember the last time I made a den, but I’m sure it was a very long time ago. We had chairs, tables, coloured cloths and decorations to play with. So, after some careful consideration from my boys, a masterpiece was created; we even had a carpet in the den and electricity (a torch that one of the boys taped to the underside of a table). They had thought of everything. I added a few ribbons and banners, but they did the hard work and were quick about it. We got to sit in our dens in relative peace and start padding out our stories before visiting other dens and welcoming others to ours, reading each other stories.
There was a general feeling of excitement by the time we got to our snack break. Most children were coming out of their shells and starting to feel comfortable around the adults. My buddies accepted me pretty quickly and the three of us got on well as a team.
After the break, teams were assigned our next activities. Ours was Inside Out. We were armed with a HUGE sheet of paper (slightly bigger than a 10 year old child), on which the child would lie down and be drawn round. This became the main character from their story. Their challenge was to show what their character looked like, on the inside. Lots of painting, sticking, cutting out and general creativity followed. The children seemed to love it.
It was great fun, and even though my team had two pictures to complete, we managed it (with a little bit of extra help). The pictures we created were instantly hung up, which was a real winner as the children could see each others’ work on display. I must admit, I felt pretty proud of our handy work too.
The morning was drawing to an end, and we were called to the floor to sit in a circle for some reflective time. We were given post-it notes on which to write three separate words to describe how we felt about our morning together. ‘Creative,’ ‘fun,’ ‘happy’ and ‘exciting’ came up, amongst many other positive ones.
We were then given one long piece of paper where we had to sum up the morning in a story title. I think the children were slightly better at this than the adults, mainly because they said what they felt. Speaking for myself, but I hope other adults felt the same, I felt like I had to come up with something amazing, creative, awe-inspiring or funny. Inside I was thinking, ‘well that was a fun morning, beats working in the office hands down,’ (sorry Neil!) but that’s not what I wrote – though I stand by what I did write. It was a magical morning, watching children change from being slightly shy, to coming out of their shells, to basically treating you like they’ve known you forever. Being able to glance into a child’s creative thinking is fascinating. Being boring old adults, we sometimes lose our ability to just let ourselves go. I used the word mayhem in my title; it wasn’t really mayhem, it was just busy and fun and, to be fair, in the words of some of the children ‘the best morning ever.’
In a few months’ time, we will all get together again for a showcase of all the work created between the wonderful children and the W+K volunteers, in an exhibition near our offices. Personally, I can’t wait to go along, see the children again and remind myself of the work we created together. I hope there will be a Vol 2 to my story, but for now this story is….
……to be continued.
Ellie, aged 9 and a half (well, for a morning, at least).