Storytelling to imagine the future

This activity uses the book 'Errol’s Garden' by Gillian Hibbs, which explores the possibilities of turning a disused space into a thriving garden for people and nature. By stopping the book before the end, learners are invited to imagine what happens next, and what the space might have become. This discussion can then inspire ideas about your own site, and what next steps you’d like to take to improve it for nature and people. 

< 30 minutes
KS1

Preparation

What you need
  • Errol's Garden by Gillian Hibbs (or a story book of your choosing on a similar theme)
  • Optional: plain paper, pens and pencils for drawing 
Curriculum links
  • English
  • Citizenship
Location

Indoors or outdoors

Useful guidance

Step by step

  1. You may wish to begin the activity by reflecting with learners on what you have all found out or planned for your Nature Park so far. What have you explored so far? What have you learned? What would you all like to do next?
  2. Introduce the book ‘Errol’s Garden’ by Gillian Hibbs. (If you don’t have this book, you may be able to find a free reading of it online, or select a book with similar themes – take a look at our Nature library catalogue for examples.)  
  3. When the story reaches the point where Errol invites the community to help (“But we needed help. Luckily, everyone else was just as excited as me!”), pause the storytelling here. This can be adapted for other stories – choose a moment in the narrative before something changes or a decision is made. Open a discussion with the group about what has happened so far in the story, and what they think might happen next:

    “What is Errol hoping to do? What do you think the other people can do to help? What will happen next? What sorts of things do you think they’ll add to the roof? What kind of place will it be for people? What kind of place will it be for wildlife?”
  4. You could invite learners to draw what they imagine Errol’s garden looks like by the end of the story. What plants and animals might there be? What might people do there? These drawings can be used as inspiration when it comes to imagining your own Nature Park.  
  5. Continue the storytelling to find out what really happens next, and what Errol’s Garden becomes.  
  6. After the reading, reflect on the story with learners and what Errol and the community achieved: 

    “How did the roof change from the beginning to the end of the story? How did Errol get help with the garden? What steps did they need to take to make the garden a reality?” 

Reflection

You can use this story and the discussion to inspire ideas for your own site, and what needs to happen next. What did learners see in the story that they’d like to have in their own site?