Downs School students write and perform Christmas stories to Compton Primary pupils

Posted on: 19th Dec

Two of the three schools that make up The Downs Federation came together on Tuesday last week, when students from The Downs School visited a Year 1 and 2 class at Compton Primary to read the children Christmas stories.

The students from The Downs School - who are all English Ambassadors and passionate about the subject -  had come up with the idea of writing and illustrating Christmas story books for younger children, and trialling the success of these books with students from the local primary school. Working with English teacher Sarah Seath, the students had several lunchtime workshops where they collectively discussed ideas for the stories and how to adapt storytelling techniques for younger children, before putting pen to paper and producing their creations. Stories ranged from a variety of challenges experienced by Santa, from getting lost in the snow, to the nativity story told from a variety of perspectives. Some stories were hilarious; some involved reader participation; all were uplifting.

The students read their stories to small groups of children in both a Year 1 and Year 2 class and both parties really enjoyed the experience. Year 10 student Alex Rogers said: “I really enjoyed today, it was fun to do something we wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to do.”  The Compton pupils were equally as enthusiastic. Year 2 pupil Thomas said: “I loved it, it was the best story I have ever heard.” His Year 1 friend Nell added: “I enjoyed it. The story was about Father Christmas and the presents that fell out of the back of the sleigh.”

Teacher Sarah Seath said that it had been so successful for both parties that there were plans to make it an annual event. “Our students had to write in a way to keep the young children interested and intrigued and simplify their language to make the story easy to understand. The experience also taught them how to perform their stories to, and interact with, a younger audience in a way that really captured their imaginations. In doing so, they have had their first experience of ‘being a teacher’: some of them found it quite a challenge!”

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