Richmond tuition company creates story time for the digital age

By Kwame Boakye
July 18 2020, 09.00

A Richmond based tuition company has brought story time to the digital age during lockdown.

Headway Tutors, who teach children aged between seven and 11, have taken their services online, including live streaming story time via their Facebook page.

Story Time with Miss Shine is presented by Brigid Shine, 29, and has been being streamed once a week during lockdown but has proved so popular that from Monday it will go up to five days a week, Monday-Friday at 2pm.

Brigid, pictured above, is originally from County Armagh in Northern Ireland and is a fully qualified teacher but acting is her first love.

She said: “It’s my favourite half hour of the day because it combines my two passions, I love performing and I love these texts.”

‘Story Time with Miss Shine’ has covered children’s classics such as Charlotte’s Web, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the reading sessions are designed to be fun as well as educational.

Brigid said: “We don’t take ourselves too seriously but at the same time we really hope that the kids are developing their reading skills through getting involved with story time.”

Brigid’s stories have provided some familiarity and routine in an uncertain time, with the tales selected designed to appeal to a range of ages and provide a free educational service.

Providing access to more online classes has also allowed Headway Tutors to reach children outside of their normal catchment area.

Brigid said: “We’ve connected with kids from all over the world, we’ve had people tuning in from Canada, Australia and even further afield than that.

“The great thing about it being on Facebook is that the kids can interact live. It’s as close as you might get to being in a classroom.”

Brigid is a star of stage and screen having starred in films such as First Time Loser and Is This Now, as well as musical Kiss Me, Kate, however she’s had to put her acting career on hold as the world of performing arts has come to a standstill during the pandemic.

The government have recently announced an arts culture and heritage rescue package of £1.57 billion, however the funds will not be enough to safeguard every job, as many 400,000 could be lost.

Brigid said: “In lockdown my world imploded, theatres closed and what is a very challenging career became a non-career. My teaching has been a lifeline.”

There is still no clear indication of when the ban on live performances will be relaxed, meaning it might be some time before Brigid is back on stage, however this doesn’t worry her.

She said: “It’s nice to have a break, get back into the classroom, hone my skills as a teacher and get on board with this new trend of teaching online, which is an entirely new phenomenon for teachers.”

Brigid added: “I think Miss Shine is going to be in the classroom for 2020, I don’t mind at all, I absolutely love teaching.”

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