Children's activities that stimulate learning

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Festival of Stories

Our Festival of Stories is over for another year, bringing to an end a wonderfully successful 9-day celebration of children’s literature, stories and story-telling in all its forms. We can breathe a big sigh of relief knowing that our visitors had a great time, those that participated had a great time and we had a fantastic time too, knowing that all the work that went into the Festival paid off.

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A big part of the Festival has always been to promote and encourage literacy in children and the creation of strong family bonds through reading together as a family.

This year was the third year of the Festival; presenting a packed programme of diverse, interesting, creative events, activities, workshops and performances. We were lucky to have been graced with wonderfully talented and passionate artists, illustrators, authors and performers, who brought to life so many stories, as well as Imaginosity’s passion for educating children through the arts.

We were thrilled to welcome three theatre companies to this year’s festival. Banyan from Northern Ireland, Roundstring from Scotland and Dublin’s Fulla Beans Theatre Companies. All presented wonderfully engaging theatrical stories through visual performance, drama, mime, puppetry and song. 

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An old favourite of the Festival of Stories returned once again. The Story-Tellers Corner saw 2FM’s Rick O’Shea, TV3’s Lucy Kennedy, Writer and Producer Maia Dunphy and 98FM’s Dermot Whelan and Dave Moore. The Story-Corner was full of mischief, fun, drama and laughter, as audiences young and old were brought on exciting journeys by their readers. It was delightful.

We are so grateful to each and every story-teller for their time and their commitment to Imaginosity’s passion for reading, story-telling and children’s books.

Illustration plays such an important role in story-telling for children, as beautiful pictures bring the words of great imaginative tales to life. We were pleased to introduce our young visitors to the work of a children’s illustrator, as both Tatyana Feeney and Steve McCarthy joined us. Tatyana hosted an creative workshop for little ones, based on her gorgeous book ‘Small Bunny’s Blue Blanket’ and Steve created a huge monster ‘Silly Bits’ drawing workshop that saw Mums, Dads and smaller people take to the floor to create their own large-scale imaginative masterpieces.

Imaginosity is passionate about stories and story-telling. From wobblers and toddlers to older children, Imaginosity provides story-telling experiences for children, through the arts, every day at the museum.

The Festival presented children with story-telling experiences of many kinds. Author David Maybury created a shenanigans-filled story experience for festival-goers, while author Deirdre Sullivan hosted a great Halloween-themed spooky writing workshop for those brave enough to attend.  Eike Traynor from Purely Yoga returned to the Festival to explore stories through stretchy-storytime that the children, as always, loved.

Our friends from Childvision, the National Education Centre for Blind Children visited us once again this year to provide a super-sensory story-telling experience for children, which allowed them to imagine what it would be like for a partially-sighted child to read a story.

Story-telling is a great shared family experience too; helping children bond with their siblings, parents, grandparents and other family members, and making space for time to be spent together. There’s nothing a child likes more at the end of the day, then a story from Mum or Dad, while they snuggle up in bed or cuddle on the couch. The experience allows the child to feel secure, safe, loved and special; all things that we want our children to feel. We were delighted to welcome Child Psychologist Joanna Fortune back to the museum to talk with parents about this topic.

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The promotion of children’s literacy is always important at Imaginosity. Ireland’s National Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy amongst Children and Young Adults, 2011-2020 describes literacy as “ the capacity to read, understand and critically appreciate various forms of communication, including spoken language, printed text, broadcast media and digital media”, showing that literacy is much more then simply reading, writing and arithmetic.

Early childhood, or the period from birth to 6 years of age is a time of significant opportunity for learning. Children have an inherent capacity and a real desire to learn from the moment they enter our world. Our children’s success as a reader or a literate member of society begins much earlier than their first day at school. The support of parents who are engaged in their child’s learning has a significant positive impact on a child’s educational achievement, particularly in literacy and numeracy.

Parents can make a real difference to their child’s success as a reader, simply by taking the time to sit together and read a story.The ability to read allows a child to travel to far-flung places without ever having to leave their bedroom. It allows a child to explore their imagination, their creativity and their curiosity.  Recent studies have sadly shown that many parents  give up the daily story-telling  once their child reaches the age of seven. But just ten minutes a day, spent reading with your child, every day, is one of the best ways that a parent can support their child’s education.

We are already looking to 2014 and are excited about ideas that have come from this year’s Festival of Stories programming and activities for next year. But our love of children’s literature and our commitment to children’s literacy continues on a daily basis here at Imaginosity.

As our old friend Dr Seuss says: “ The more you read, the more you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go.”  We couldn’t agree more!

 

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