Stone Soup endeavors to bridge the gap between arts and education, in the hope of opening up debate, improving attainment and stimulating creative enquiry.
We believe that a strong cultural education is vital to learning and development, which is why we provide wrap-around services for councils, schools and arts organisations.
Learning Through Playing
The theory that underpins all of Stone Soup's work with children and young people is an educational framework called Embodiment-Projection-Role, which encourages dramatic play alongside other forms of learning.
Embodiment Play: sensory exploration of a child's immediate environment, helping children to explore emotional experiences.
Projection Play: supporting emotional expression, by projecting ideas and experiences onto toys and objects.
Role Play: building a child's sense of empathy by encouraging to take the perspective of other people and characters.
Our work embraces the opportunity for children to learn through these three stages of play, using drama to promote self-expression and empathy.
Growth Mindset promotes the belief that children’s abilities can be developed through self-belief dedication and hard work. Key to this is the instilling the understanding in children that mistakes and difficulties are not the end point on the road to successes. Rather mistakes and places where we go wrong are essential if we want to grow and learn. This approach nurtures a resilience in children that is a essential component of effective productive learning.
“Studies show that teaching people to have a “growth mindset” approach to learning, which encourages a focus on effort rather than intelligence or talent, helps to make them in to higher achievers in school and in life”.
Carol S Dweck
Stone Soup are active advocates of a “Growth Mindset” approach to learning. Where appropriate Stone Soup facilitators aim to push children out of their “comfort zone” as it is our belief that this is where creativity and learning begin.
Philosophy for Children
Stone Soup are proud advocates of the Philosophy for Children programme, a programme that opens up children's learning through creative enquiry and the exchange of ideas. Through the P4C programme, students of all ages are taught that ideas have equal value, that there is no right or wrong answer, that everyone has an ingredient to bring to the mix. Children gain confidence when they are allowed to ask questions and take part in an exchange of ideas. P4C is an extension of our belief in critical and creative enquiry.
Schools & Curriculum Based Work
The core focus of our arts and education output is our curriculum based work with local schools. We work in partnership with a number of schools and educational establishments across Greater Manchester, using theatre and performing arts to highlight creative approaches to delivering the curriculum.
In addition to facilitating sessions, we offer creative professional development, ensuring school staff ultimately possess the confidence and ability to deliver creative teaching techniques in a classroom setting.
Stone Soup have a proven track record of devising immersive drama sessions which are designed to develop literacy and introduce children to curriculum topics, key subjects and new vocabulary in a creative way. We may take pupils on a journey back through history to walk in the steps of the Romans or on a super human adventure with Captain Amazing from the planet Fantastic.
These curriculum based sessions add an extra dimension to classroom learning, helping children to develop emotional literacy, empathy and self-expression.
In addition, we can offer complementary written tasks to augment our practical sessions, giving teachers clear reference points for future lessons and ensuring all our creative literacy programmes have clear learning objectives.
We offer tailored, bespoke sessions aiming at raising boys' literacy, with the aim of using creativity to enhance the quality and depth of their written work.
Stone Soup have a proven track record of raising levels of literacy and improving SATs results in several of the schools we have partnered with.
Early Years' Learning & Primary Schools
We offer creative learning workshops for early years children, as part of a drive to improve literacy and embed creativity from a young age. We work with hundreds of children every year, delivering workshops that improve speaking, listening, creative and critical skills in an active, fun and dramatic way. Our early years' offering to schools includes, but is in no way limited to:
- Introducing children to new curriculum topics via drama and story.
- Creative storytelling - bringing books to life.
- Dramatic play - a fun and accessible introduction to drama and theatre
- Poetry play - bringing a well-loved poem to life through the medium of drama
- Singing and movement
Offered to KS1 and KS2 children, Stone Soup works with primary schools to introduce them to new curriculum topics through the medium of drama. So whether it's history or science, explorers or astronauts, our "topic starters" have a proven track record of sparking curiosity about a hitherto undiscovered subject through the most practical means possible.
Stone Soup offer schools the opportunity to have workshops delivered by characters from literature and characters from history. Some of these include:
- Pirate workshops led by "Captain Carl". These can be literacy based, or helping with team building and geography knowledge.
- Historical workshops lead by “Sergeant Cyril”. These can help to introduce topic work around conflict with particular emphasis on the two world wars.
- Superhero workshops led by "Captain Amazing". These can help to build self confidence and self-esteem, foster team-building skills, raise awareness of Internet safety issues, or teach the value of being a good friend!
- Gruffalo workshops led by the Gruffalo. These sessions are ideal for “World Book Day” events and activities, but can also be used as stand alone workshops to use stories to inspire creativity and creative writing.
After School Clubs
We offer after school clubs teaching young people new skills in media and filmmaking; we can also offer more traditional drama clubs. These clubs can be stand-alone and/or drop in sessions or can be a focused block of work with a definite outcome such as a film, music video or live theatrical performance.
We can devise something completely original, work from a script or model these sessions around an existing story. This can lead to the creation of multi media performance that incorporate projection, music, lighting, sound and live performance to engage young people with a variety of interests.
We can also offer schools support with clubs that are tailored towards PSHE areas such as University of the First Age “Peer Mentoring” courses and “Leadership” training. These type of after school clubs can lead to student led activities that take place during school time, such as the creation of school radio, podcasts and film clubs.
We predominantly offer these sessions as an optional extra to schools and educational organisations with whom we already share a working relationship. However we can offer stand alone materclasses after school and we are happy to work with schools to support them with holiday clubs & specialist media or drama clubs.
Health and Wellbeing
We understanding that the health and well being of your pupils is as important to you as their education and that schools are always look at ways they can continue to nurture and support your pupils.
Stone Soup is able to offer children and young people 121 and small group creative expressive sessions. Children who have experienced trauma, have complex family situations or difficult circumstances to cope with can display disruptive or withdrawn behaviours in school. This can lead them to further struggles and mean that they fall behind in their academic achievements. We want all children to thrive and realise the journey to success can mean that some pupils need more support.
Unlock - Creative expressive sessions
Unlock is a service we offer schools to help strengthen the communication between teachers, pupils and their families. Children and young people are offered creative expressive sessions which give them the opportunity to explore their emotions through creative outlets such as art, storytelling and drama. They are given space to make sense of the world around them, understanding their feelings and find a way to safely express themselves. Through this process children are able to identify what their needs are and communicate support that they might need.
Children and pupils agree to an open dialogue with their chosen members of staff and Stone Soup mediates this communication. This means that teachers are given a greater understanding of a child's circumstances, can implement the child's requests and also identify ways in which they can support their pupils.
We may also identify other service providers to better meet the child's needs. This means that we can act as a bridge between the peer support offered by schools and wider community health services.
Stone Soup also engage with pupils families and offer parents termly meetings to share the child's development and communicate any information the child wants to share. All facilitators have extensive mental health training and experience of working with young people who have complex emotional needs.
Sessions either take place on a one-to-one basis or in small groups.
For more details about Unlock contact Claire on firstname.lastname@example.org
Arts Award Provision
Arts Award is a range of unique qualifications that supports young people to grow as artists and arts leaders, and helps schools to increase their artistic and creative offer. Arts Award is an accessible and attainable means of qualification for young people aged 5 upwards and Stone Soup are experienced at embedding this qualification within an existing school curriculum. By doing this we ensure that staff workload is not increased by the introduction of the qualification.
All of us at Stone Soup are accredited in the delivery of the Arts Award programme at all levels, across Discover, Explore, Bronze, Silver and Gold. Arts Award complements our ethos of making the arts accessible for everyone.
Stone Soup can also offer consultation and creative support for schools that are in the looking to obtain Arts Mark status.
The provision of Arts Weeks is A Stone Soup specialty. Our Arts Weeks allow schools to offer an art-based timetable for children based around a story, theme or event. We tailor arts weeks to fit an individual school's budget and priority areas. Working in consultation with schools arts coordinators, we produce bespoke packages that draw upon the experience of creative professionals who specialise in all aspects of artistic provision.
Stone Soup have previously used large scale projection, costumed characters, the creation of costume for every pupil, newly created stories and newly created musical compositions to transform environments and bring exciting creative opportunities to pupils and staff. Our arts weeks usually culminate in performance by facilitators and pupils, a showing of work by the pupils, parades or assemblies.
So whether the young people in question are audience members watching a story unfold, or active theatre-makers learning valuable practical skills, they will come away from the week with a new appreciation of live theatre & storytelling and creativity.