Storytelling and kindness workshops for children
for schools, festival and events
I am an author of fiction and non fiction for children and adults. I am also a storyteller, theatre maker and award winning kindness campaigner. I focus on 21st Century retelling of traditional stories, as well as telling my own original stories, the aim being fun and to increase compassion, kindness, empathy and self- confidence through storytelling.
“Sparked by Bernadette's evident enthusiasm, sense of mischief and her belief in the power of kindness; these workshops are a launch pad for adventures.” Tom Andrews, Founder, People United
Outline of primary school workshops
I have been delivering workshops with primary schools since 2010 in the U.K and U.S. I have worked with many schools, and have also delivered these workshops for many organisations including the House of Fairytales, Art Imaginarium, Secret Productions, SICK! Festival Manchester, Royal Albert Hall, Birmingham Rep, Thames Festival, and Imagine Children’s Festival at the Southbank Centre (below are some quotes from previous people I have worked with)
I have also written about philosophy for children for the Guardian (you can read it here, and have delivered a philosophy workshop for children as part of the Southbank Centre’s Imagine Children’s Festival.
I re-tell traditional stories and also tell my own original stories. All of the workshops have a focus on humour, compassion, kindness and positive mental health. I always leave space for the children to contribute and join in should they wish to!
What I offer
These are some of the workshops I currently offer to primary schools, please note I am able to respond to your specific requirements so please get in touch if you’d like chat! you can contact me here
I deliver a series of workshops based on my books for children, which are a mixture of interactive storytelling and practical exercises.
All of the workshops below (which are around 40 mins to 1 hour long) can be delivered to individual classrooms, I usually spend a day in a school listing various classes.
I have also delivered versions of them as a whole school assembly
They work for all years in primary school, and can be adapted to suit the specific needs of the school and classes.
Do Nice, Be Kind, Spread Happy- “Kindness is Magic”
This is a workshop based on my book of the same name. It encourages children to be consider kindness, to be kind to themselves and others, by demonstrating a series of fun and practical exercises. I also tell stories based on the times of kindness and compassion where the kids get lots of opportunities to join in.
This workshop focuses on
How to help someone who is lonely, sad or being bullied, in a fun way
How to make fun low-cost simple gifts for people to make them smile, using your creativity and imagination
How to look for the good in everyone
How to be kind to yourself
The importance of wishes and of small actions
This workshop has been delivered in primary schools all over the U.K and U.S.
"Small acts of kindness aren't trivial or meaningless - they can bring great happiness, transform our lives and inspire more kindness in others too. Bernadette's work is a beacon of hope and generosity - packed full of inspiring ideas for how we can all 'be the change' and help create a kinder, happier and more trusting world"
Dr Mark Williamson - Director, Action for Happiness
Be The Change Make it Happen- “Kids Can Change The World”
This is a workshop based on my second activity book for children. The intention is to invite children to consider what they would like the future works to look like and to empower them. The workshop contains a series of simple exercises to help them see that small actions can change the world for the better.
The workshop explores the idea of superheroes, and invites the kids to think about what their superpower is ( i.e: making people laugh, being kind, being good at football) and creating stories about how they would use that superpower for good. Using drama and storytelling, as well as creative writing prompts, the kids are encouraged to think about how the skills they already have can make a positive contribution to their world (in a fun way!). I also tell an interactive story about a superhero!
This workshop focuses on:
Increasing self confidence by enabling children to explore what their “superpower is”
Thinking about what they would like the future to look like and how that can be achieved
Exploring existing anxieties and helping the kids come to solutions to deal with those anxieties
Explore drama and storytelling as a fun way of thinking about the future
This workshop was delivered to many Birmingham primary schools with Birmingham Rep, and also as part of Imagine Children’s Festival at the Southbank Centre, and at the ARC in Stockton.
“As Bernadette demonstrates in her work, we CAN all make a difference. There are very many ways to do this, to contribute, to share, to create value. Being kind is one of them. Kind to the planet, kind to our communities, kind to each other, kind to ourselves. Why not try?”
Stella Duffy, author and Co-Director of Fun Palaces
WILD- eco-storytelling and eco-activism for kids
This workshop is an interactive storytelling session, with stories about animals that live alongside us in cities and in our parks. It was originally commissioned by Secret Productions for Farmopolis, and the stories contain facts about the animals (a fox, a rat, a magpie, a badger, a deer)
It also contains some simple ideas for children to help protect nature, with songs, and poems and storytelling. It was developed with the help and advice from the education department at the Natural History Museum, Trees for Cities and with Dr Bentley Crudginton, a biologist from Manchester University. This workshop can happen in the classroom or if suitable, in an outdoor space in or near the school.
I have worked as a botany storyteller at the Natural History Museum since 2017 and as a volunteer tree planting supervisor for Trees for Cities since 2018.
This workshop focuses on:
Getting children to think about animals and plants and how we can protect them and look after them
Developing empathy by being inviting to see something from someone else POV
Drama, storytelling and movement exercises
Scientific facts about animals which are fun, surprising and interesting
This workshop has been delivered for the National Trust at Knole House, and with Secret Productions for Farmopolis, The Lighthouse, Poole and in many primary schools in U.K and U.S.
“ Bernadette is an authentic, caring and professional storyteller who is excellent at reading the room and knowing how to interact with the children in a modern and engaging way. She is patient and supportive of the children's contributions and creates a feeling of curiosity and magic. Even all the adults were totally engaged in her stories!
I also very much enjoyed the story of the wishing tree and the grumpy man as it really got the children present and engaged" Catherine Embleton, director, Art Imaginarium
“The children loved the kindness workshop! They loved having the chance to express themselves and share their ideas in a positive space. They particularly enjoyed the story telling and the interactive elements. Year 4 were buzzing after the workshop and couldn’t wait to use their ideas in their everyday life! Kindness has become very much part of the culture of our year group and the children learnt it is the small kind things that can make the difference to someone’s day.Kindness is a real focus for us as a year group so the workshop fit in beautifully with the work we’ve been doing at school. We are also encouraging children to be active citizens and be aware of current events so it was wonderful to have the opportunity to discuss this one a positive space.”
Jenna Brown, Year 4 lead teacher, James Wolfe Primary School with Centre for Deaf Children