Acclaimed Children’s Author Inspires Apprentices 26 - Apr - 2016

Acclaimed children’s author, Ian Whybrow, was bringing his stories to life during his visit to Busy Bees nursery in Kettering. All those at the nursery were transported to scenes taken from some of Ian’s most famous stories, after he delivered an inspiring storytelling masterclass to staff and enjoyed ‘story time’ with the children.

Lucy Jakeways, a Level 3 Leadership and Management learner from the nursery, was awarded a special visit from Ian after winning our National Storytelling Competition back in February. As part of the national awareness week, we challenged nursery apprentices to create their own story sack and use it to narrate a children’s story of their choice.


Lucy impressed the judges with her narration of popular children’s book Harry and his Bucket Full of Dinosaurs, written by Ian Whybrow himself. Lucy used puppets to engage children in the storytelling before extending the learning opportunities and introducing dinosaur-themed measuring and counting games.

As it was his story Lucy chose to illustrate, a firm favourite with both staff and children, Ian’s visit was all the more thrilling to all at the nursery. Ian began his visit by speaking to the nursery staff about his experience as a prolific writer of children's books, from how he became an author to where he finds his inspiration for stories. He explained the use of rhythm and rhyme when reading to children and offered helpful advice on how to ignite children’s imaginations and aid their development through storytelling.


Following the masterclass, children attending the nursery aged three to five gathered for an interactive ‘story time’, during which Ian narrated his story, Harry and The Snow King. He introduced the dinosaur characters in his stories through actions and movement for the children to mimic, perfectly demonstrating how engaging storytelling should be done.

Speaking of his involvement in the competition, Ian said: “I’m was really impressed when I saw Lucy’s entry and thought it was very imaginative and, most importantly, engaging for the children. Regular storytelling in nursery settings is absolutely key to child development and, if done effectively, will set them up for a love of storytelling for a lifetime.

“I’m pleased to share my experience and knowledge with the nursery team and hope that they are inspired to continue their passion for storytelling as a result.”

Training Manager at Busy Bees Training Academy, Fay Gibbin, said: “We are really pleased to have the support in our competition from such a prolific and popular children’s author and we would like to thank Ian for his involvement and for offering his time and expertise to our staff.

“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 had a very high standard of entries from our nursery apprentices and it was tough to choose the overall winner, but Lucy really impressed us. We hope she and the team enjoys the masterclass with Ian and it is an inspiring and educational experience.”