Helicopter Stories is an Early Years, Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 approach to communication and literacy skills based on the Storytelling and Story Acting curriculum of our patron Vivian Gussin Paley. Make Believe Arts has been pioneering this work in the UK since its conception in 2002. It forms part of our Storytelling Curriculum. In its simplest form, Helicopter Stories lets children dictate their stories which are written down verbatim, exactly as they are told, by an EYFS or Key Stage 1 practitioner. The children then gather around a taped out stage and the stories are acted out.

Alongside the simplicity of this approach is an ethos that is child-centred, creating a culture of curiosity and wonder at the dexterity of children’s imaginings during both the telling and the acting out of their stories.

  • An inclusive, whole-class approach which values every child’s contribution
  • Facilitates high levels of engagement
  • Creates confidence and self-assurance
  • Supports the development of speaking skills as children express and share their ideas
  • Helps to develop accurate, active listening skills and understanding
  • Supports co-operative and collaborative and creative learning
  • Develops positive relationships within a shared storytelling experience
  • Allows children to explore early literacy and the power of words as they see their stories come to life and develop their ability to use and adapt language to communicate
  • Offers children a bridge into the world of creative writing as they begin to see the links between the oral stories they compose and the words on a page

What’s involved?

You will gain access to a package of resources. There are a range of online e-learning modules to pick from, detailing how Helicopter Stories work and how you can implement them in your setting. There are three stand-out resources in this package:

“Princess, Dragons and Helicopter Stories”

This book outlines the ground-breaking Helicopter Stories approach to teaching and learning for Early Years and Key Stage 1, providing a step-by-step guide for educators looking to implement this innovative method of storytelling.

“The Story Basket”

The Story Basket contains 15 audio-only fairy tales and folktales, accompanied by music and sound to bring these magical stories to life.
The collection is designed to be listened to throughout the academic year with five stories and accompanying resources selected for each of the three terms. It includes a host of activities, thoughts for discussion and resource ideas suitable for children aged 3 to 7. This truly is an enchanting compilation that will enthral audiences both young and old.

“The Poetry Basket”

MakeBelieve Arts presents The Poetry Basket . An online course where you will find thirty-six videos containing poems
with actions for children aged 3 to 6. Performed by MakeBelieve Arts Artistic Director Trisha Lee, these poems include many lesser-known children’s rhymes from anonymous authors.


Session Date and time
Session 1 – Isla Hill: Make believe arts Thursday 18th November – 4:00-5:30 pm
Session 2 – Isla Hill: Make believe arts Thursday 9th January – 4:00-5:30 pm

Suitable for

Colleagues working in any Early Years and KS1 setting.


1 FREE place per setting in the Opportunity Area. £550 if you are outside the OA. Please book early to avoid disappointment.


Please email scarboroughteachingalliance@childhaven.n-yorks.sch.uk


Event Details