Voices from the woods: storytelling and the phenomenal child: Exploring macro and micro worlds through storytelling

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This paper presents findings from a day spent with Year 4 children from a Hampshire storytelling in local woodlands. The day had both pedagogical and research-based foci, reflecting the school’s commitment to outdoor learning and a desire to extend the children’s story language through such visits; for the researchers, a geographical frame provided a means of exploring the ways in which children interact with their surroundings, and observe how their embodied presence within the space was represented in the situated narratives that they created.When children choose language to describe a place in which they are situated, they are engaged in a phenomenological act, noticing aspects of the environment around them. In order to generate descriptive terms, they not only use their senses, but also respond physically to the space: whether it affords easy movement from place to place, or restricts routes and ‘throws-up’ obstacles to movement. Whilst asking children to create ‘thick’ description of place may engage them in categorisation activities which list and describe features in terms of  material, colour, species, and location, by creating a narrative frame, features become connected through the intentions of the protagonists of the story, and linked by their narrative function in space and time. The analysis of the findings, then, seeks to make identify the ways in which the act of noticing the environment affords the creation of effective narratives.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018
EventUKLA National Conference, Glasgow - Glasgow University, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 7 Jul 20179 Jul 2017


ConferenceUKLA National Conference, Glasgow
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • storytelling
  • phenomenology

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