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Denstone College Preparatory School at Smallwood Manor, in Marchington near Uttoxeter, has had a busy week. There has been a Poetry Festival, a renowned storyteller visit and World Book Day. All of these events have helped to further encourage children to read, write stories and enjoy poems, activities that could be seen as becoming less popular as a result of technology.

The Poetry Festival on Monday had every child in Main Prep (ages 7-11) learning a poem. They had to perform their poem to the rest of the year group. Each performance was judged and awarded points which all went towards the house cup. There were a handful of finalists that were selected from each year group, which were the very best in each year. They performed their poems in Chapel in front of the whole school and parents. Teacher Kathleen Friend said, “I love the poetry festival build up; each class is buzzing with poetry and the children not only seem to know their own poem inside out, they then start to learn each other’s!”

Following on from the Poetry Festival, internationally acclaimed story teller, Maria Whatton, has been coming to the school to tell stories for the past 7 years. On Tuesday 1 March, she visited the youngest children in the Nursery and shared stories with them, whilst Pre Prep and Main Prep visited her in the old Library where she “weaved a web with words”. Her visit was a real treat and captivated the children, which was a highlight of this term. To top it all off, Maria also bought her actress daughter, Maya, along to accompany her with the use of harp, voice and drumming. This was particularly well received as Years 3 and 4 are soon to be performing their own play The Selfish Giant on Tuesday 15 March.