Gallery: Children encouraged to use their imagination and get lost in a good book at ‘storyshack’

Sarah Gallagher, former head teacher at Rendlesham Primary School, now runs the Story Shack in an ol

Sarah Gallagher, former head teacher at Rendlesham Primary School, now runs the Story Shack in an old barn in Snape that gives children a chance to read, write and create. - Credit: Archant

A former headteacher has been helping inspire children this summer with an imaginative new venture.

Sarah Gallagher, who was behind the helm at Rendlesham Primary School for seven years, has opened up a “storyshack”.

The aim is to inspire children to use their imagination, pick up a book and have fun.

They are also encouraged to write their own stories, discover new authors and get creative.

It has been open around three times a week during the summer holidays and Ms Gallagher said it continues to go from strength to strength.

“It is something I had been thinking about for quite a long time,” she said. “I wanted to see if I could create a space where children could come and just be children. There is a lot of pressure on them to grow up too quickly - adverts and TV programmes almost miss out the ages after seven and jump straight to teenagers.

“But they still need to play. There’s nothing wrong with computers or television but sometimes it’s nice to get absorbed in a good book. For some that can be quite important.”

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The storyshack, which is open tomorrow, Sunday, Tuesday, August 20 and Thursday, August 22, has been created in a barn close to the Crown pub in Snape.

“Just come along and choose something to do,” Ms Gallagher continued. “There’s no need to book first. We have had lots of people making holiday journals, others have been potion making and dressing up as fairies or pirates and having tea parties. Others have just been reading and finding authors that they have never heard of. We also talk to children and parents about their book choices, offer advice and suggest titles that they might enjoy.”

Ms Gallagher, who also writes a blog offering reading recommendations, said after a short break the storyshack would be back from September, but to check dates on her website first.

“The response so far has been great,” she said. “We had one family down from Sheffield who visited after seeing it on the internet. I’ve also had a lot of children from Rendlesham.”

She said a number of authors, including Michael Rosen, Philip Reeve and Julia Jones had been very supportive, while publishers including Random House and Bloomsbury were providing proof copies for her to review.

She also thanked Miranda Barclay for use of the barn.

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