In our final guest post for this week, we find out about the Discover Children’s Story Centre, East London which is currently undergoing a major refurbishment, but will be opening again towards the end of July. Sophie Waddy and Amy Collins provide an insight into the ongoing work of Discover and what to look forward to when it reopens.
Discover Children’s Story Centre
Based in Stratford, East London, Discover Children’s Story Centre is the UK’s first hands-on creative literature space for children aged 0-11 years and their families dedicated to generating a love of language, literature and stories.
Discover is a venue where young story seekers and their adults can enter a labyrinth of environments called a Story Trail which is designed to stimulate curiosity and imagination. A team of dedicated Story Builders guide visitors through their adventures and help them to create their own stories based on their play. Feedback from parents, carers and teachers is that children have left the centre inspired by their visit. They have drawn pictures, written down their adventures and developed key storytelling and creative writing skills. Discover’s work is based on the understanding that strong reading, writing, speaking and listening skills are fundamental to future success, and we hope that children leave our centre full of stories to take home and tell over and over again.
After thirteen years and over a million visitors the Story Trail is due for a well-earned refurbishment. Based on feedback from visitors and our Children’s Forum (local children that are our stakeholders and inform our decisions) the Story Trail is being expanded to create dedicated areas for younger and older children to engage in stories, and will include even more exciting play spaces including an ‘Observatron’ complete with mini space aliens, a towering crow’s nest and an extraordinary rowing boat which will allow our visitors to take their storytelling journeys to the next level.
As well as providing a safe and stimulating space for children to create their own stories, Discover produces interactive exhibitions, where the world of beloved books is recreated in an immersive space. Recent exhibitions have been based on books and poems by Michael Rosen and Oliver Jeffers; for the reopening in July visitors will have the exciting opportunity to enter The Fantastic World of Dr Seuss and climb into the Once-ler Wagon, play music with the Boom Band and maybe even come across The Cat in the Hat or Sam-I-Am.
Whilst the refurbishment is underway, Discover will be visiting community centres, schools, parks, libraries and festivals across the UK, bringing stories to children and families who otherwise may not have the time, resources or language skills to access them.
Discover will re-open on Saturday 23 July 2016 with two brand-new floors of Story Trail, Dr Seuss exhibition and a new café. In the meantime we are on a six-week tour of libraries in east London with a show in collaboration with theatre company Inspector Sands, The Librarian – a live-action audio book featuring talking books, moving shelves and a librarian like you’ve never seen before. Find out more at www.discover.org.uk.
We would love to hear from you if you have visited any of the centres featured this week or if you have a similar place for stories near to where you live or work that we could tell other FCBG followers about!
The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Federation of Children’s Book Groups. Photos courtesy of Paul Boyling.