Acclaimed British novelist Philip Pullman famously said, “After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” During a recent trip to The Story Museum in Oxford, a group of LVS Oxford KS3 students were able to immerse themselves in stories from across the globe.
The museum, which celebrates the story in all forms, is a treasure trove of inspiration for young minds looking for ideas to incorporate in stories of their own. Students experienced a safari through stories in the Animal space. In Ever After, they visited Mission Control and helped steer the museum’s Story Craft on its mission to collect the 1001 greatest stories. Animal tales from seven parts of the globe were told on seven fabric hangings in the World Stories Room and students and teachers were able to dress up as book characters and sit on the amazing Talking Throne in the Changing Room.
Byron Davis, one of the KS3 students on the trip, comments “The museum was really good fun. I particularly enjoyed using props and toys to help me make up a story of my own. Mine is about a tiger in London and now I’ve got some initial ideas I’m going to finish writing my story in school.”
All the students enjoyed visiting the Time for Bed room, a starlit bedtime story world, where their heard a live story reading about a mouse who helped everyone with their problems.
Kerry Angus, LVS Oxford’s English and Drama teacher, adds, “The Story Museum brings stories to life in a really visual and imaginative way, which works brilliantly for students on the autistic spectrum. Many of them are visual learners and the fantastic immersive installations and exhibitions around the museum have opened their eyes to possible characters, locations and plots. The story writing workshop has reinforced the creative writing that we do in the classroom and the students have come back to school full of enthusiasm for crafting more imaginative stories in the future.”
At LVS Oxford, reading, story writing and storytelling are embedded across the curriculum. Louisa Allison-Bergin, Head of School, explains, “Stories play a vital role in all the subjects we offer here at LVS Oxford. They offer an outlet for students to share their experiences, learn from the past and imagine their futures. As the Story Museum highlights, sharing stories develops language and understanding, imagination and empathy. Students with autism need extra help with these areas of communication and stories therefore provide a very powerful tool for our teachers, therapists and support staff.”
Current research shows that only 15% of young people with an autism spectrum diagnosis are in sustained, full-time employment and we are passionate about changing that statistic.