The Launch of Disney’s Winnie the Pooh Storytelling Academy

Today the online resource Disney’s Winnie the Pooh Storytelling Academy opens its doors.

I went to the launch on Wednesday and watched Zoe Ball delight a bunch of 2-4 year olds with an interactive, upbeat storytelling session. It was great fun. I also listened to child psychologist Emma Kenny and Disney’s Justine Finch talk about why they feel storytelling matters.

Storytelling is close to my heart. It was a huge part of my childhood. It is a big part of my day to day life now  with my children and I use it in the therapeutic work I offer to bereaved children. Storytelling is magic and it creates bonds, evokes emotions, entertains, informs, delights and so much  more.

The storytelling academy exists to offer tips to parents who find storytelling tricky. It’s aim is to inspire  those who think they lack the time or the confidence to tell stories. It is chock  full of good ideas to encourage everyone to be a storyteller to th ir children and read stories with clarity and with confidence and to enjoy doing so.

Zoe Ball said  “I am a great believer in the magic of bedtime stories and hope that the Winnie the Pooh Storytelling Academy will inspire other parents. When I was young my dad would enthusiastically read tales of Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and friends to me, and put on daft voices to really bring the story to life. These are memories which I treasure and now I can share those special bedtime stories with my own children.”

I can just imagine her dad reading bedtime stories I bet he was FABULOUS!

When I met Zoe at the launch she shared that she reads stories to her kids over skype when she is away and sometimes Norman reads her stories too. How cute is that!

Emma Kenny also on the panel of experts gave an absolutely wonderful speech on storytelling, talking about the importnace of focussing on our children, creating good habits, giving them time. She siad she is from the school of no excuses, we must MAKE time for telling our children stories.

The Disney Winnie the Pooh Storytelling Academy can be found here: www.disney.co.uk/winniethepooh/storytelling

Recent reserarch by Disney tells us only a third (30%) of the UK parenting population read to their children every day, despite 51% of parents surveyed saying storytelling time enables them to spend quality time with their children, and 47% know their children enjoy having stories read to them. i think that is very sad don’t you? I think this storytelling academy is really necessary!

They also found that confidence in reading is higher amongst women and older parents. That’s me!

Worrying results

Two thirds (67%) of parents and grandparents polled feel that modern technology in the home is distracting them from storytelling. As well as this, almost a third (29%) of the population are too tired for tales, whilst another third (29%) feel that they get home from work too late, and a further fifth (22%) feel distracted by other activities at home,

Children love stories. 15 minutes on facebook or 15 minutes telling stories to your kids? Kids are young for such a short time. As Emma Kenny said…no excuses.

Winnie the Pooh emerged as a story made up by AA Milne for his son. he is the perfect mascot for Disney’s storytelling academy. Who doesn’t love Pooh Bear with his simple wisdom and wonderful array of pals.

Justine Finch, Winnie the Pooh expert at Disney. “In this hyper-connected world we want to help t to keep the art of storytelling alive for the next generation via a whole host of media like iPad apps, audio books and the traditional hardback, to create memorable shared family experiences.”

The academy is a brillaint online resource I hope you all use it and it inspires you….please tell your frineds! (and I’m not syaing this just ‘cos they gave us Winnie the Pooh cakes and juice in beakers!)

P.S In case you were wondering what she was like Zoe was really down to earth and friendly. Justine Finch was amazingly knowledgable and a clear lover of stories and Pooh in particular. Thought she had never heard of The Magic Faraway Tree  by Enid Blyton the best kids book ever, ever, ever! Emma Kenny was passionate about the importance of connecting with kids and a really good speaker. They all impressed me a great deal. Perfect ambassadors for this Disney Storytelling Project 

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