Everyone has a story to tell.
We are all storytellers.
That traffic you got stuck on this morning. The recognition you received at school. Your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Your neighbor’s newly-groomed dog. The wedding of your cousin from overseas. The wildfire crisis in Amazon. A progress in the research for a cure against cancer. Brand new breakthroughs in technological advancements. Random as these things may be, but these are just the surface of many stories that weave our lives together – directly or indirectly.
The stories that we tell are unique, just as they are the same. In a sense, we share the same experiences under different circumstances regardless if it’s something fictional or nonfictional. That’s what makes storytelling so magical. You will always find a part of yourself in someone else’s narrative, in the same way that people may see themselves in yours. Remember those bedtime stories your parents would tell you about? They are fictional but the context and underlying substance become far easier for kids to understand. We admire protagonists on TV and in movies because they resonate with our values and character, we can relate to them. We listen to our favourite musicians because we connect with their music and we find meaning in their lyrics.
Good storytelling, whether written or verbal, isn’t just about the use of words. It’s not always about the mastery of the language. It’s not always about how articulate you are. It’s not always about the use of figurative descriptions. It’s not about the length. It’s not about the flowery paragraphs.
“I went to the grocery store.” is a story.
“The car shop down the road has closed down.” is a story.
“COVID halted the operations of a lot of small-scale businesses.” is a story.
“I made a mistake at school today.” is a story.
We all have bigger stories to tell than we actually realise. And in each of these stories, we’re always learning a thing or two. That’s also one of the things that makes UK Virtual School unique. We value and learn from each other’s experiences. We mirror best practices. We listen and wait for our turn to share. This cultivation of shared learning pushes us to go forth and beyond – it instills the growth mindset that we want our staff and students to uphold.
And so our story began.
UK Virtual School was founded on fundamental core values: growth mindset, curiosity, innovation, and diversity and inclusion. These principles align with our vision and brand. It’s always been our priority to impart them onto our students. It is important that we equip them with these values to gear them for what they may face ahead. We realised that whilst adults can easily grasp what these core values mean, we have to make it more engaging for our students.
Last year, we created the characters that we now love and adore. Conceptualising and building the world of these characters has been a great experience. We created their looks. We gave them their own personalities and characteristics. We thought about how they would interact with peers and friends. We designed them from top to bottom, inside and outside, including that which cannot be seen by our eyes. Seeing them come to life was a joyful experience. We had hoped that our students would have fun getting to know these characters just as we did.
Then came loads of ideas. How can we integrate these characters into the UK Virtual School structure?
Our founder, Syd, thought it’d be nice to create a whole new world for these characters – in a storybook. Syd had a clear vision of the story map – the flow, the characters involved, the focal lesson, and the setting. And so we put them all together in words and in pictures. What started as merely a concept came out to be a fruitful collaboration. That’s how the story of Jamie and his friends began.
This storybook introduces us to Jamie – a boy who dreams of going into space. While the plot mainly revolves around Growth Mindset, we see a glimpse of the other core values and get to know them as well. We’d see them work together to fulfill Jamie’s wishes. The story is interactive and engaging. It allows readers to see through the eyes of these core values and know what their roles are in our lives. Will they ever make it to space?
Storytelling is complex. When we tell stories, we always share a part of ourselves. Each word, each sentence, each paragraph – they all converge to convey a message. Our goal remains the same: to impart fundamental values to our team and our students. Only now, we’re doing it in a fun, interactive, and engaging way.
Our storybook “Space for Everyone” is available for purchase through Amazon and it ships globally too! Hop into Jamie’s world and join him and his friends on their adventures as they make an attempt to go into space!