Schools have been hit hard financially for so many years that cuts have had to be made – and storytelling is often seen as a disposable luxury.
But it isn’t! A traditional storyteller can instil good listening skills, concentration, improved vocabulary, narrative skills, literacy, wider imagination, a love of story – and a love of reading more stories.
I am often asked if my stories include participation. The answer is ‘Yes – total participation through deeply focussed attention and stillness.’
The development of Zoom means that schools are no longer restricted to local storytellers.
Whereas, for ‘real, live’ sessions. I can only visit schools in Devon and Cornwall, now, on Zoom, I can tell stories anywhere in the world with no worries about travel and accommodation costs.
During the pandemic I have experimented with using Zoom to tell stories in schools – and it works well. This opens the possibility for storytelling to become more affordable. A session could be shown in several classes, or even several schools, simultaneously. A session might be recorded so that the school could keep it for some repeat viewings.
A head teacher wrote, after some Zoomed stories:
The sessions brought the children a live and ‘different voice’ during home schooling. The stories were told so beautifully that they had something for all the audience. The children were captivated and followed the plot, despite a few twists and turns. Their questions showed that they really were imagining the tale as it unfolded.
Online should never replace face-to-face experiences, but I really hope it will mean that we can have a wider range of people in school than before. Schools like ours that are relatively remote could really benefit from online ‘visits.
For us, a class or two at a time worked really well. Your friendly approach to the children made them comfortable to ask questions. I could see a whole school session working too though, or even one with other schools that could then share any subsequent work.
Thank you so much Jill. You were a friendly and fresh voice for the children at a difficult time.