The Art of Storytelling: Fostering Imagination and Language Skills in Nursery Education

If there’s one thing we know as one of the leading local nursery providers in the UK, it’s that imagination matters when it comes to early years development and education.

Published on December 22, 2023

When children of nursery age are immersed in fantastical places through the art of storytelling, they retain more information and pay attention for longer.

The way that storytelling is integrated into the average day at nursery can – and often does – change. Far from being limited to story time at the end of each day, one of our emphases at My Ohana is to bridge development with imagination and creativity in as much of the daily routine as possible, inspiring children to communicate in new ways and express themselves through creative outlets.

Our goal is always to connect childcare and early development with the foundational principles which inspire children to grow, unlock new curiosities, and discover new things. From socialisation and the formation of friendships to the introduction of educational learning in both a formal and informal sense, childcare providers have big shoes to fill in terms of what we hope to inspire amongst children.

And what better way to do all that than through the art of storytelling?

The benefits of storytelling for young children

First things first, it doesn’t matter what age you are – you cannot argue that stories and the art of storytelling itself is an intrinsically imaginative activity.

When we read stories or watch them play out in movies or TV shows, we are transported to a world where that story becomes reality for the duration of our engagement with it – that is, an actor ceases to be an actor and becomes a character, and your setting transforms from the chair in your home to the centre spot in your latest favourite book.

This imagination starts from childhood, when fairytales, princesses, pirates and dragons become a part of our everyday existence. From there, it develops and grows - never dulling, but rather fitting in with our experiences.

Telling stories and reading from books is a foolproof way of building language skills, introducing children to new ideologies and ways of communicating, and engaging that sense of imagination which lets the story feel real. More than that, it captivates a desire to think more creatively, to learn and to continue reading, and to find new ways of unlocking that joy we get when we read or experience a really good story.

For nursery children, storytelling introduces them to fictional worlds and inspiring characters, while encouraging them to understand the hidden meanings, morals, and lessons at the heart of those stories. Here’s how we use stories to enrich nursery education at My Ohana.

How stories are used to enrich nursery education

The biggest selling point of storytelling (beyond facilitating five minutes of peace in a busy day!) is how it allows you to integrate skills-building and life lessons into stories that engage and inspire children. Rather than relegating learning to formal classroom-style teaching, stories allow us to create real-world examples of specific lessons in action, in such a way that resonates and sticks in the minds of children long after the story is over.

If you’re not yet convinced, consider for a moment the number of children’s books and nursery rhymes that have a moral lesson at the end. This is a working example of how storytelling connects seamlessly with a form of learning and education – and is something we seek to emanate both from direct stories and in the curation of creative activities and whimsical worlds.

As well as reading books and inviting children to explore fictional worlds on paper, we also encourage storytelling through play and the formation of our children’s own characters and storylines during inside and outside play.

This, combined with the child-led ethos behind our daily nursery routine, and our emphasis on mind, body, and world knowledge and learning, enables us to create a rich environment where storytelling isn’t just one portion of the day but a major concept underpinning our vision.

If you want to learn more about how a nursery can benefit your child, through a combination of education and creative experiences, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the My Ohana team


We’ve been shortlisted for ‘Nursery Group Under 10 Settings’ in the National Day Nursery Awards 2022

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