Hazel, willow, beef and storytelling from Bedfordshire

Jane’s work in schools

Storytelling for schools with Wassledine

Jane’s work in schools has mainly been in primary education and the projects she has been involved with have been very varied, from one-off storytelling performances for celebrations such as World Book Day, to longer collaborative partnership projects lasting several weeks. Although largely on school premises, over the years Jane has accompanied school visits to museums, parks, nature reserves, the deep dark woods and even the seaside.

Jane tells mostly folk and fairy tales, myths and fables. These traditional tales have been told through the ages not just to entertain but to explain the world we live in and teach us about ourselves. Jane uses the oral tradition of storytelling in performances and workshops to help children develop their speaking, listening and creative writing skills. Whenever possible Jane is keen to promote the use of the outdoor classroom as a stimulating environment to tell tales and find new stories.

examples of Jane Lambourne's work with schools
Examples of Jane’s work with schools

Jane makes use of Forest School areas and the school grounds to lead children on storytelling adventures. The outdoor classroom provides the natural setting to develop imaginative thinking, inspiration for retelling and creating stories. The following workshops are with Primary Schools in mind but can be adapted to a wider audience.

Interactive Story Adventures

Children follow the story trail to collect clues to a story, hear traditional tales and join in with interactive stories. Particularly suitable for Early Years and Reception classes.

Nature’s Theatre

Jane at Gravenhurst Lower School running a Nature's Theatre workshop

Children listen to a story from Jane then, working in smaller groups, are set the task to recreate scenes from the tale using natural materials. Each group then has the chance to show their natural theatre to the rest of the class and have a go at retelling the story. This workshop encourages children to work as a team; helps them to remember a story; gives them the opportunity to retell a tale in their own way and become storytellers performing in front of an audience. The workshop can also be adapting to map making.

Fabulous Fibs

Jane tells a tall tale and shares some story treasures. Children are sent to discover their own natural treasures. From these objects and just three words, Jane helps them fabricate fabulous fibs. Children are encouraged to articulate their story ideas in pairs or groups before sharing telling their tales to the rest of the class. An exercise that works the imagination and develops speaking and listening skills.

Jack’s Pack

The are many Jack stories in our traditional tales, in this workshop Jack is off on a new adventure, one that the children must make up themselves. Children are sent in small groups to fill up Jack’s pack and collect ingredients for their stories. Children work cooperatively to build up a story from their observations, imaginations and natural objects. The workshop provides a good stimulus for creative writing back in the classroom.

In the spring term of 2021 Jane was one of the artists working with Shortstown Primary School as part of a Heritage Lottery Funded project with Bedford Creative Arts, to celebrate and explore Bedford’s airship heritage. Due to the strange circumstances of the time, the project had to be done remotely. Jane recorded a series of short story films on the theme of flight for the children to watch. These were a mixture of myths, traditional wonder and folk tales and myths  Using her “Airship Dreamers” story workshop film and zoom sessions into the Year 6 classroom, Jane was able to help the children create their own stories.

“Thanks for Zooming us. Lots of the children don’t usually like writing but all of the children were really motivated and enjoyed writing their stories. Your video breaking it down into the 7 steps seemed to really help them.”

Year 6 teacher

“Thanks for your wonderful work with Shortstown Primary and a special thank you for pushing through the transition to digital delivery with aplomp! Wonderful resources.”

Bedford Creative Arts

For several years Jane has accompanied the Year 4s of Reigate St Mary’s Prep School, Surrey on their annual visit to the Hurtwood for a storytelling adventure. The objectives of the visits were for children to to gain first-hand experience of oral storytelling in a woodland setting and to use this as a stimulus for creative writing.

In the Hurtwood the morning started with Jane leading the group on a storytelling walk to meet Jack, a donkey, three storytellers and a wolf. In the afternoon Jane helped the children and staff explore different areas of the wood, to describe the scene, search for and imagine different characters, collect treasures from the trees and create some fabulous fibs.

“Jane is very unique. I have never met someone who can catch a story by listening to the sounds of the wood.  I really enjoyed that trip it has showed me what you can do to the woods and what the woods can do to you”

Year 4 pupil

“A huge thank you for such a wonderful day. You are a talented storyteller and the children thoroughly enjoyed listening to you and have commented on what a magical day they have had. Thank you once again and I look forward to next year.”

Year 4 teacher

“Jane’s wonderful storytelling transformed the woods into a magical place.  Our classes produced wonderfully descriptive stories while having a huge amount of fun!”

Head of English
Storysharing at Queens Park Academy, with Wassledine Storytelling

Queens Park Academy in Bedford were awarded a Culture Challenge Voucher to develop storytelling within the school as part of their “Talk to Write” scheme. Jane started the project by delivering a twilight training session for staff full of ideas for taking stories outside. The main project focused on the Year 4 and 5 children who were most in need of developing their literacy skills. Making use of the school’s Forest School area, Jane took the children outside to hear stories and find inspiration for their own. Golden envelopes went home with the children with letters asking family members to tell children stories.

The following week the children shared their family stories with each other. From the box full of stories collected and created by the children, they then chose which type of story to develop, write and tell. Jane supported the children in preparing their stories for the end of term Family Picnic. The project ended with families being invited to story sharing sessions during the picnic. Here the children were able to tell, perform or read their chosen story to the family audience realising that they had become the storytellers.

“Thank you so much for the marvellous work you did in helping our children to see themselves as story-tellers. The children thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to create and tell their stories and it was lovely to see the response of proud family members at the family picnic…

“My colleagues and I have taken lots of ideas on board and are looking forward to implementing a similar project next year in year 5. It will feed brilliantly into our drive to give children an authentic purpose and audience for their story writing.” 

Year 5 teacher

“Children who very rarely spoke in a group were able to tell their stories in public with Jane’s skillful support.”

Head Teacher


If you need a storyteller for your event, someone to run wildlife themed activities for children or have a bespoke project in mind please contact Jane to discuss your ideas.
Call 07805 819415

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