There are a few things we’ve noticed over the past few years in our ‘The Whole Story’ courses. Perhaps most importantly is the fact that creativity simply can’t be rushed or forced. Giving the children five days to write just one story often results in them surprising their parents, us, and most importantly themselves. Schools give children the basic tools and the potential to be wonderful storytellers, but it is so hard for them to fit in longer periods of ‘writing time’ at home given their hectic lives without them feeling forced into it! In the holiday club environment, where the children there are hungry for the chance to write, with friends, for fun and without distractions, we find that they dream up imaginary worlds far beyond the scope of what they can write at school. Not only do they dream these worlds, but they get to actualise them from start to finish rather than deliver a snap-shot view suitable for the teachers’ marking turnaround.
Our advice going forward? If your child expresses that they want to write something – rules for a game, a song or a story – try to give them as much time as possible to do so and as soon as you can. This may not always be practical, but if you always keep a notepad and pen handy just in case you may be surprised by the ideas they dream up.
Libby Norman is a practicing writer and performance artist based in London and the South West of England, making work within live art and experimental writing scenes. Having first started working with Chelsea Young Writers as a Teaching Assistant and now behind the scenes within Social Media and Digital Outreach, she understands how CYW operates from the ground up, and loves writing content specifically tailored to our wonderful community of young writers and their parents/guardians. Libby holds a First Class Honours degree in Performance Arts from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and is currently studying for a Masters degree in Poetic Practice at Royal Holloway.