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Interview with Hélène

The Domaine du Val is a haven of peace in the middle of nature. People who stay there can find the calm and wellbeing that's missing from their daily lives, and above all enjoy time off with the family. In the Domain, everything's planned for young and old to feel good and find activities to their taste: from the swimming pool to the many walks, from the vegetable garden to the animals...

Then there's Hélène who tells stories to the children. We met Hélène, who's passionate about her work and is a real story teller who transforms a shared moment into adventures full of magic and wonder.

Hi, Hélène, tell us a bit about yourself

I come from maritime Picardy, the Bay of Somme in fact and I worked for 13 years in a travel agency in Lille. Then in 2007 I decided to have a change of life and to settle in the Bay of Somme. I've been devoting my free time to the Domaine du Val for the last 6 years.

What exactly do you do in the Domaine du Val?

I have several activities: I do the decorating to bring a bit of soul into the Domain, bring a bit of invigoration into the Club House area, for example and change the themed decorations with the seasons. We're really keen to show that the Domain is a place apart, focused on the human aspect and not just another impersonal holiday centre.

My other activity is dedicated to children: during the school holidays, I run reading workshops that follow on into a creation workshop in which the children can participate.

How do you organize your reading sessions?

Once or twice a week, generally Tuesdays at 6 pm, I tell 3 stories, not necessarily related but with complementary themes.

I've a very wide public: children between 2½ and 8-9 and the groups I run go from 7-8 children up to 25 children! It's not the easiest thing in the world to enthral a public with such a wide difference in ages, and so that nobody feels left out, I tell 3 stories of different levels, which moreover please many parents too!

To choose the books, I work with an independent bookshop who helps me choose recent stories in tune with my tastes, but above all according to their potential: how can I tell the story and what sort of workshop can I do around this story. Because of course, the idea isn't simply to read a story, but to tell it to create an interaction with the children and so that the experience is vivid enough to capture their attention.

The little workshop afterwards is a creative and pedagogical workshop where generally, the children always go away with something they've made themselves, often with paper and pencil.

Once, for example, after reading them the stories, I suggested to the children that they tell their own by making their own book with folded coloured paper and string. When they've decorated the cover, they can then draw their story page by page, or write it for those that are able. Another time, they also made their own postcards to send to friends, grandparents or schoolteacher.

The books we've read then go to the Domain du Val library. Then the children can read them themselves when they like.

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