Books provide a familiar access point for children, parents and staff and Story Pages explored how to use books as a starting point for guided interactive play with under 5s.

The Story Pages project was initiated by an opportunity provided by The Beacon in Summer 2012. With a small amount of available funding from The Cattanach Trust, through Starcatchers, artist Geraldine Heaney was approached to deliver a small-scale project in the Greenock area.

Geraldine created a ‘mini-residency’ in the Glenbrae Family Centre where she ran weekly sessions with the children and staff using some favourite story books as jumping off points. These sessions were designed to be interactive, creative, positive experiences for everyone involved with the potential for some activities to be revisited in between the sessions by Family Centre staff or by parents.

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  • Geraldine Heaney

    Geraldine is a Glasgow-based film-maker, artist, freelance enthusiast and adventurer. She has worked with a multiple artists and organisations, and is a member of Sprog Rock, a band that create gigs for under 5s and their friends and families.  

Expecting Something has been amazing for the young mums that I work with…We have referred lots of parents to the group, all absolutely love it. The sessions they do are incredible, the mums and babies/toddlers have all gained a lot out of attending and it has inspired their creativity as well as confidence.

Claire McGeary Communities and Family unit, Gate 55

Geraldine identified 10 books which she would use as the basis for the project, they were:

  • Augustus and His Smile – Catherine Rayner
  • Lost and Found – Oliver Jeffers
  • Press Here – Herve Tullet
  • The Very Hungary Caterpillar – Eric Carle
  • The Bear in the Cave – Michael Rosen
  • I Want My Hat Back – Jon Klassen
  • Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus – Mo Willems
  • Isaac and Iris – Catherine Rayner
  • Where the Wild Things are – Maurice Sendack
  • Whatever Next! – Jill Murphy

Geraldine collaborated with the following artists on the project:

Oliver Ridgewell – Musician

Becki Gerrard – Performer

Joni Lindsey – Musician

Let’s Talk About Space (Keiran Heather and Chris McGarry) – Musicians

Hannah Murray – RCS CPP Student

Emily Magorian – RCS CPP Student

Geraldine made the use of lots of simple props during the sessions to add texture and depth to the stories. Using torches was a really effective prop which all the children could use. During the Isaac and Iris session, the artists and children created their own ‘Northern Lights’ with torches, paper and coloured gel. Musician Joni Lindsey composed some music for the sessions and all the children were given head or hand torches to explore this new environment. In the following week between the sessions, the staff at Glenbrae bought additional torches and created dens in the centre for the children to play and revisit the workshop that Geraldine had led.

The final session allowed parents and carers to join their children and the staff in an adventure to the moon. With music and animation from Let’s Talk About Space, the children, their parents and carers explored the story and finished with a picnic on the moon.

Geraldine had been filming throughout the project and documented the project by producing a film which can be viewed above. Geraldine also gifted copies of all the books used during the project along with bobble hats and some of the props so that the centre can revisit some of their adventures in the future.

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