It’s easy to envy kids for their boundless creativity.
Imaginary friends, stuffed toys with elaborate back stories and innate curiosity mean creative writing is generally second-nature to most children, right around the age when they head off to school for the first time.
For the past two years, Paisley Aiken and her team of volunteers have been introducing elementary and middle school kids to the world of creative writing with a program called Story Studio. The goal is to coach youth through the writing process and instil a lifelong love of the written word.
“One of the most powerful aspects of the program is the ownership the kids feel over their story,” Aiken says.
Over a three-day period, each child comes up with a character and story, which then gets published and returned to them by Story Studio a few weeks later.
On Wednesday, Aiken and her team were in Vic West elementary’s kindergarten class with freelance writer Korina Miller to show kids how it’s done.
“The first day we go in, we have the kids come up with a character, and we do a lot of interactive activities around each step,” Aiken says. “With the younger kids, we’ll use clay and we’ll do some drama to help them get ideas to develop their character, then we’ll set up sensory stations and get kids to describe their settings.”
The non-profit program relies on private donations and the help of sponsors like RBC’s Cook Street branch, whose employees stayed after-hours on Thursday to type up the stories of each Vic West student.
“We bind their stories into little books and they get to bring it home,” Aiken says. “The kids are thrilled … suddenly, they see they’re an author.”
To learn more about Story Studio’s summer programs, visit storystudio.ca or call 250-388-4418.