Vital Shared Experiences

Here at Herringbone arts, we know that stories hold a special kind of magic for children. But they can also have more influence than any rational explanation, debate or deterrent an adult attempts to explain.

There is much research on what happens when a child plays imaginatively and listens to a story. Children will project their own personality onto characters and explore these magical worlds and outlandish plotlines from the safety of their own reality.

Later, when a child is inspired to write or tell their own story, they can further explore threads from stories they have heard, choosing their own outcomes and exploring the ‘what ifs’ of life.

This is a powerful medium.

Especially for those who have had a troubled time in their lives. Stories help children to make sense of their own worlds and search for meanings. They can refer to their own feelings though playing out situations and unconsciously using story language and metaphors for example dark woods, mountains to climb, giants and fairy godmothers. Characters can take on aspects of the child’s personality but first the child needs to know settings, stories, characters and story language.

This exploration of story can contribute to a greater ‘Emotional literacy’ which is defined by 2003 as ‘the ability to recognise, understand and appropriately express our emotions.’

When we increase our emotional literacy, our sense of self-worth and self-esteem becomes more secure and we are more able to overcome challenges. We are also more able to learn.

At Herringbone Arts we realise that hearing stories and story language is a vital component to equip children with the necessary tools to make sense of the world we live in. It helps them explore all the possibilities in a magical world.

We have run our thinking past a child and educational psychologist (Dr. Emma Woodward) and she has given us a big green light.

To find out more about Emotional literacy please go to

And for further reading on therapeutic story writing please go to


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weaving tales & performance in unexpected places