Schools that are currently using The Twizzlcaps Story and Teacher Resouce Pack are saying wonderful things about it. Here are just a few ...
By Katherine Milchem, Forest School Co-ordinator (www.urbanforestschool.co.uk)
From a Personal Point of View:
As a child, I was diagnosed with having Attention Deficit Disorder and, due to having an overactive mind; I found it hard to sleep at night. Having a consistent bedtime routine was very important to me, as I needed time to unwind from a busy day at school. When I was young, my parents would read me a bedtime story (sometimes two, if I pushed it) but I was also encouraged to listen to audio books. I remember how I would choose a tape for my tape player, turn off the light and lie in my cosy bed, listening to my audio book. I’d close my eyes and imagine the characters and their world. Before long, I’d be fast asleep and my parents would creep into my room to turn off the tape. I also remember audio stories being a pleasant distraction on long car journeys. Little did I know then, that this pleasant distraction was also helping me develop creative and communication skills.
From a brain development perspective, listening to an audio book activates the temporal lobes in the brain, providing the person can hear. Once a sound is heard, the brain has to make sense of it. The thalamus then filters out all the incoming stimuli and allows the person to pay attention to certain things. Everyone’s brain differs as to which stimulus is more important.
It is important for children to be exposed to different stimuli for learning and development.
From an Educational Point of View:
The Twizzlecaps Find Fairyland is captivating. The sound effects are realistic and the story is magical with strong moral messages. You do not need a picture book, just close your eyes, relax and the sounds will transport you into a world where you can use your imagination to create the characters and scenery. Your mind will be whisked away, track after track and, before you know it, you will have listened to the whole CD.
As an Early Years Educator, I can see how much scope this product has in extending learning and development in children.
From an Early Years perspective, this product encourages all areas of learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage, helping the children to:
Develop communication, language and literacy – by listening to and using new vocabulary, using language to imagine, recreate roles and experiences, clarifying thinking and ideas and referring back to events.
Be creative – by responding to what they hear by communicating their own ideas, thoughts and feelings, in a variety of ways.
Gain knowledge and understanding of the world – by becoming interested in the natural world and finding out more about it, knowing what they like and dislike about their world, using ICT (using a CD player) and celebrating similarities and differences in a diverse society.
Develop personal, social and emotional skills – by expressing ideas, exploring feelings/emotions and morals.
Explore problem solving and reasoning skills – by coming up with their own solutions to issues in the story and developing reasoning skills and an understanding of sequencing.
Engage in physical development – by recreating and extending what they have heard into imaginative play, movement and dance.
Our children have been on adventures looking for the Twizzlecaps at home, in the nursery and at Forest School. They really enjoy the CD, and it has encouraged creative learning across all areas of the EYFS. What is even more astonishing is that the staff enjoyed the CD too! ... and it has inspired them to come up with creative ways to extend children’s learning based on their interests from the story.
Forest School Co-ordinator
Eastwood Nursery School Centre for Children and Families
The Twizzelcaps Find Fairyland - A review
The Froebel Education Centre is in a rural area and offers alternative nursery and primary education as well as a range of other services. Our curriculum is based heavily on outdoor activity, nature and the cycle of the seasons. We take a cross curricular approach to teaching and were delighted when we found this wonderful resource. The Twizzlecaps Find Fairyland is presented on two CD's. The first is an audio version of the story and the second contains teacher's notes and pictures of scenes from the story for display and discussion.
At the beginning of the story we discover Mr. And Mrs. Twizzlecap searching for a new place to build a home in the forest. We do not know at this point what sort of creatures they are but we can guess that they are quite small. They befriend an owl family when the youngest owl injures his wing and the Twizzlecaps help in his care. It is then that we find out that the Twizzlecaps are actually fairies but have forgotten how to use their wings. This has occurred because their parents told them to cover them up and forget about them because the 'giants' children were keen on capturing fairies in butterfly nets. From the descriptions in the story we can deduce that the 'giants' were humans. Later in the story the Twizzlecaps befriend a community of spiders and help to solve more problems and finally they are reunited with the fairy community and ask them if they will teach them how to use their wings.
How we used the story
We particularly liked the fact that this is an audio story so that the children have to use their imaginations to illustrate the story for themselves. Although there are pictures on the teachers CD, there are only four. Our children are all familiar with woodland environments as we run Forest School sessions but the whole story made us look again at forest environments and the interdependence of every living thing within that environment. Mrs. Twizzlecap uses the fruits of the field and hedgerow to make food and medicinal treatments so we were able to collects nuts, berries etc and look at their uses in cooking and medicine. This involved researching some lovely old books. The children also constructed woodland homes for the Twizzlecaps and had to think about materials which were easily found in the woods and their suitability - would they retain warmth? - would they be waterproof? - would they keep out predators?
The Twizzlecaps friendship with the owl family brought about a study of owls in general, their life cycle, habitats and eating patterns. We have several owls in the local area and were lucky enough to find pellets to dissect. Again, we were able to repeat this type of study with spiders.
Naturally, the question of the existence of real fairies came up and we looked at the film 'Fairytale - A True Story'. This is about real events which happened in Yorkshire during World War One when two young cousins claimed to have captured images of fairies in photographs. Their story gained national attention and eminent people such as Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle became convinced by the girls' story. We also looked at many Celtic and Irish tales of fairies or 'little people'
Throughout all this artwork, literacy, technology and environmental studies abounded. Personal and Social Education was also well covered as we discussed the need to work together to solve problems, to care for those who are sick or injured and to protect other creatures and the environment. It may be thought that a story about fairies would not engage boys but there was so much we could do in terms of technology, 3D artwork and nature study that the boys enjoyed it every bit as much as the girls.
We only used this resource with Foundation stage and Year One children but I believe it has something to offer right across the primary phase and we are looking forward to using it with other year groups later. It is best approached in the autumn when the woods offer so much material to work with and I would recommend it to any school, Forest School, home educator or other group.
Adrian Atkins - Headteacher
The Twizzlecaps find Fairyland
All the children thoroughly enjoyed listening to the audio CD. The voice and sound effects were fantastic and really kept the children’s interest. The children were moving their hands and bodies as the sound effects of the tree falling over happened.
We listened to the story a chapter at a time. This really helped the children as we could stop at short intervals and reflect on what we had heard. It was great for using ‘I wonder …’ questions and also gave opportunities for lots of discussion about the characters, their favourite part of the story, what might happen next and what they would do in a similar situation. Here are some of the comments the children made:
“I liked it when the tree fell down and the Twizzlecaps went over the stream.”
“It sounded like a horrible storm.”
“I liked the storm because I could hear it.”
“The Twizzlecaps went inside a deep dark cave.”
The story brought up a lot of questions, such as:
“Can the Twizzlecaps do magic?”
“Can we see the Twizzlecaps” (if we were in the story)”
After hearing part of the story the children were really keen to draw a picture of what they thought the Twizzlecaps looked like:
The children also asked if they could carry on listening to the story in our Enchanted Forest book area. Some children also got the box of instruments to try making the sound effects to go with the story.
This is a fantastic resource to have in Reception as it really helps the children’s listening skills (discriminating sounds) and imagination. There is so much you could do with the story.
The Twizzlecaps Find Fairyland ...
I used the CD with my reception children and they are enthralled - we have not finished yet!
I am lucky enough to be in a rural area and we did go out to find the tinkling stream and the meadow where the rabbits play - it was perfect! I am also asking the children to make maps about where Mr and Mrs T are going and lots of imaginary drawings, we are also using small world equipment to make the scenes etc.
I think it is always useful to have some kind of ideas site as other teachers are so inventive and it is great to see new ways of approaching things
Many thanks for providing a great resource.
Jen - Broomhaugh C of E First School