Amanda Edmiston Storyteller, Artist and Writer

Botanica Fabula


riter

Storytelling for Schools, Colleges, Nurseries and Education settings

"We love storytellers and artists who can share their passion and creativity, who ignite a spark, captivate, people who inspire the children to go off and create...a session has worked for me when the class is buzzing with enthusiasm and a desire to learn, tell stories and create afterwards,”  Headteacher Doune Primary school 2016 after workshops with P4, 5 and 6

"Thank you Amanda, for the huge amount of thinking that went into creating such a rich experience. 
It was everything and more than we had hoped for, in terms of travellers' tales, applied history, creativity, and imagination with a constructive project to take away"
Dr Anna Groundwater, History,  University of Edinburgh on 'Traveller's Tales and Tales for Travellers' a collaboration between storytellers and Edinburgh University http://www.blogs.hss.ed.ac.uk/ben-jonsons-walk/
with P7 from Aberdour Primary School. October 2016.

"Amanda tailored her sessions to meet our requirements and delivered them with enthusiasm and charm. Her stories, songs and props kept our audience of under-fives - and their parents and grandparents! - enthralled. We'd definitely book Amanda again.'  Reader in residence 2014

Thanks for coming in today to work with the Infant department. The pupils and staff have all given very positive feedback about their sessions with you.  I thought you might enjoy hearing some of the  children's for comments:

 

She’s really good at stories.

I liked it when she told us the stories.

I’m going to read loads of books

She was good at entertaining

I really liked it when we used our imagination

My favourite story was the princess one

I’m going to tell a story to my teddy bear/my mum and dad

I will write a story at home

She made me use my imagination

 

Many thanks again for helping to make our World Book Day a success! Primary 2/3 teacher 'Our Lady of the Missions' Primary, Glasgow 2016.

Raising Attainment in Literacy and Creativity 

The ideal school visit for me, is one where the teacher has the time to chat on the phone about the outcomes they want and tell me what the class is focusing on that term. A session where there is time to share stories and then get the class to help me create worlds, thought, art and new words during a workshop session afterwards.
The photo on the left is of an  outreach project I created for TOPfest Stirling working with  groups from three schools over the course of a week, you can find out more about the story map they constructed and the story they wrote here: https://wallshaveearsschoolproject.wordpress.com/.
I also regularly develop one off workshops  tying in with themes, projects or events such as Literacy month they usually last around 1 hour and 45 minutes and  cost the school £150+travel for me to develop and deliver it (as an example).
One such  workshop took the starting point of the book the class were reading which featured Scottish history, legends and time travel. I shared a story, looked at the history and legends associated with time travel, then we took a humourous look at the scientific facts and theories. It's amazing how many 8 year olds can explain wormholes and paradoxes! As I often find when working with schools even children who ordinarily struggle with maths can do complex sums in their heads when it's part of a storytelling workshop! We looked at and handled reminiscence objects including  books from 1840 to the present day, deja vu, choosing smells that brought back memories (the Christmas spice bag was a big hit!), we considered why it might be healthy and rejuvenating for your dad to play air guitar in the kitchen whilst eating chocolate buttons and then combining our knowledge of string theory, curved time lines, magnetic fields and reminiscence we created our time machine incorporating all these elements and stones linked to historic sites.We then sat back, listened to a mesmeric singing bowl and took a guided visualisation back in time, each child choosing a time to go back to Each child then had 5 minutes to create a descriptive sentence about the place they visited, placed their words on the era in the time machine then it was a story created to bring us all back to 2016 and some grounding lunch.
The session ended with an opportunity to share their stories, focusing on exciting delivery and giving us a chance to choose different types of stories for different people. For details of how to book this workshop, or to talk over how I can create a bespoke workshop for your group email Amanda
 
POTIONS CLASS!  some of the pics above are part of the display and props I use for my fantastic potions class, aimed at upper primary groups and originally designed for a group who were reading 'Harry Potter', the session looks at real stories from around the world that feature the real use of plants and gives the children a chance to make some brews and potions of their own. Who dares eat a stick? Can you turn your bath into a pond? What do the phoenix and your mum have in common?
The beautiful drawings featured are some of the children's work following the session they invented their own potions and wrote the stories behind them...superb stuff I'm sure you'll agree!
The session draws on research I did for The Edinburgh International Science festival in 2013 'Which came first the Science or the Story and ties in with curriculum work on Science, Creativity and Literacy costs around £200 and lasts around 1 hr 45mins, but full day workshops and sessions for teachers are also available.
Similar herbal storytelling workshops have looked at wild food, folklore and traditional plant uses...ideal for tying in with modern children's classic literature such as Michelle Paver's 'Wolf Brother', or with projects looking at Rainforests, Field to fork, Victorians or Life during either of the world wars. As part of sessions where possible I like to get the class outside...creating environmental art, exploring the plants in their school grounds or local area, but where this isn't practical I bring along all sorts of fascinating finds to illustrate the stories and bring them to life .
500 CHILDREN IN ONE DAY
<  I'm somewhere in the middle!

Whilst it may be much harder to individually tailor stories to everyone's needs and abilities with bigger groups, I'm very realistic about the need for storytellers in education and the limited availability of funds, there are always schools who want the whole school to benefit.
That's ok, last world book day I told stories to an assembly of 500 children and gave a longer talk to a smaller group of 267! I have delivered 3 sessions an hour for the National Literacy Trust's Young Readers Program for the last four years with groups of 60 children a time in venues as diverse as cinemas and bookshops, across Scotland and I'm not perturbed by numbers!
 I realise that working with smaller groups may be ideal but isn't always an option. I'm just incredibly passionate about the ability of good storytelling to engage and interest children and it's ability to share a wealth of knowledge. As a mother myself I'm also very aware of the need for stories to be age appropriate, not dumbed down, but aware of appropriate language and content. I regularly update my knowledge of working practice by attending a range of CPD sessions and much of my work is created after consulting with teachers and education professionals
 

Cross Curriculum and 'Ready to Tell'  Sessions


Over the past three years I have collaborated with musician, songwriter and creator of Tonic Music Education' Louise Cairns. We regularly create new work in response to commissions from venues and then make these sessions, which usually run for approx an hour and a half available to schools, nurseries and family events. Recent commissions have included 'A Mouse's Tail' for The National Museum of Rural Life's celebration of the works of Robert Burns and 'An Orchard Song' a look at environmental issues and growing plants for The Scottish Storytelling Centre. These sessions bring literacy and music together in an interactive workshop. 


For more details of these and other sessions please sign up for my monthly newsletter or email for details of costs and availability

[email protected]

tel: Amanda on 01786 842831

or submit the contact form below
Thank you for contacting us. We will get back to you as soon as possible
Oops. An error occurred.
Click here to try again.