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Creative learning case study - Babbling Vagabonds

In January 2006, Babbling Vagabonds, a theatre group, spent one term in Cherry Tree Infant School. Their brief was to investigate new ways of developing oracy (speaking and listening) skills with young children, and to investigate different approaches to literature using story telling, music and drama.

Project Aim

The project aimed to develop new ways to develop children's expressive language through story-making techniques and drama games.

Project Activities:

Every year group in the school, from nursery to year 2 worked on a theme. Through this theme, they worked on creating stories and the characters to populate their stories. The given theme gave the children a problem to solve or a dilemma to explore. The characters and stories that they devised helped to resolve the problem. The technique 'leader in role' was especially successful. This is where one of the drama practitioners takes a lead role in the drama, for example a policeman investigating burglary in a village, and the class take on the the part of the villagers.

Children explored different ways of using language to express their ideas during the story making process. Once the story had been acted out, the story would be told back to a puppet - Charlie the Cat. Recapping the story gave children the opportunity to express their different views of the story in their own ways.


Storytelling, drama, music


OPUS, a music education organisation, also worked with Babbling Vagabonds during this project. They helped the children to turn their words into music, and write songs to go with their stories.


Teachers were delighted to see the children acting out different roles, and to see how quieter children suddenly became far more outgoing when in role. They were also surprised at the ability of children to have ideas and act them out within the context of the drama. The impact of working with artists on speaking and listening was also cited as a positive outcome.

At the end of the project, the school had a big celebration event, where each year group presented the story they had devised to the whole school.

" that was just magic"
Year 1 pupil

" gave us a chance to really get to know the school community over a term, rather than just doing one-off days here and there. The impact of our work over that period of time was a real eye opener"
Phil Coggins - Babbling Vagabonds

What's next?

Babbling Vagabonds have now been invited into Cherry Tree Infant School for a year long residency from September 2006, titled Hand in Hand. They will be investigating how the lessons learnt from their oracy work can be rolled out to the whole curriculum.


Babbling Vagabonds

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