by Julia Gwynne
StoryStitches is a series of workshops for parents to support them to create stories for/with their child/ren. StoryStitches is based on the idea that stories have the potential to be fun, calming, healing, bonding, loving, exciting, scary, safe, ticklish, memorable and very special for children. It is also based on the idea that you don’t have to create a marvellously crafted or meticulously written story for your child; if you listen carefully to them and follow some simple steps you can make a story either with them or for them that will resonate with them.
StoryStitches is inspired by the work of dramatherapists Mooli Lahad, Alida Gersie and child psychotherapist Margot Sunderland as well as by the writings of Philip Pullman, Meik Wiking and Bruno Bettelheim. Look them up. It is also inspired by my work as a theatre maker and a social worker with vulnerable children and, of course, by my life as a Mother. See example of of a story written using Mooli Lahad’s six part making technique illustrated by Albert.
As part of my research and development I ran a series of 3 workshops with 9 parents in a local school. After much laughter (and quite a lot of biscuits), we created some amazing stories. Each one is totally different, each one is wonderful and each one is bespoke for a particular child.
What came out of the workshops was that the most important thing about StoryStitches is creating a space to allow parents to create. It was stressed that participants did not have to identify as artists, they don’t have to be any ‘good’, they don’t even have to write if writing is tricky, as stories are best in the telling anyway. The space aimed to be gentle, kind, non-judgemental, welcoming, inclusive and fun. We had tea and coffee, we had babies bounced on knees and we clapped and cheered every story because every story deserved to be clapped and cheered. We also invited our children to illustrate our stories and they were clapped and cheered and told they were artists too. Take a look at what they created together.
Write your own story
Here are a few resources … but remember, the space you make for yourself is important. Be kind, don’t judge, and watch your child’s face.
StoryStitches will run again, just as soon as that funding application gets written…