Apprentices from Busy Bees nurseries across the country captured the imaginations of young book worms as they brought stories to life and created their own story sacks as part of a competition by Busy Bees Training. The competition was launched to mark National Storytelling Week – an annual event hosted by the Society for Storytelling.

Busy Bees nurseries took part in the event from Monday 1st February – Friday 5th February, and gave children the chance to venture outside to nursery gardens or local parks and collect items to help them narrate their favourite story.

Lucy Jakeways, a level 3 Leadership and Management learner from Busy Bees in Kettering, impressed the judges with her narration of popular children’s book Harry and his Bucket Full of Dinosaurs. Lucy used puppets to engage children in the storytelling before extending the learning opportunities and introducing dinosaur-themed measuring and counting games.

As the winner of the National Storytelling Competition, Lucy has won her nursery an exclusive storytelling masterclass delivered by the author of Harry and his Bucket Full of Dinosaurs himself, Ian Whybrow. Ian’s masterclass aims to offer the aspiring childcare professionals and the established nursery team helpful advice on how to ignite children’s imaginations and aid their development through storytelling, drawing on his experience as a prolific writer of children’s books. Lucy will be able to continue to enjoy her love of storytelling at home as she will also receive an Amazon Kindle.

Lucy said: “I wanted to start with a story that the children all know and love and then really bring it to life with the narrative. Cutting out dinosaur footprints to put in the hallway and using puppets throughout the story seemed like the perfect way to make it interactive for the children.”

Training Manager, Fay Gibbin at Busy Bees Training explains the idea behind the competition;

“The training programmes we offer cover many different aspects of child development, whether learners are undertaking a full apprenticeship or one of our one day workshops. Storytelling plays a big role in not only creating an engaging and fun environment for children, but also encompasses many areas of learning in line with the Government’s EYFS framework for the under 5’s. We decided that National Storytelling week was a great way of reinforcing this with our learners, as well as providing them and the children they care for with an exciting activity to enjoy.

“It was fantastic to see so many nurseries get involved in the competition. The standard of the entries we received were incredibly high and it was a very tough decision to choose an overall winner. We loved Lucy’s idea to use puppets and the footprint to engage the children, and particularly liked the way she extended the learning opportunities through to mathematical development.”

Special mentions were given to close runners-up, Busy Bees Ashford Godinton and Busy Bees Derby Heatherton, whose entries also impressed the judge.