Little Story Explorers was co-founded by mother and daughter team Barbara and Anna in the winter of 2018 and launched officially in January 2019. With a wealth of teaching experience and a large family full of wonderful (grand) children  (born between 2011 and 2018), they have  focused their energy on providing an engaging, fun, interactive class that promotes literacy, oracy and social capital in hospitable venues where you can stay after class to chat/drink/eat with others, whilst nurturing a love of books and storytelling.

Pre-school and Primary School classes were established to provide a quality enrichment which captures children's imaginations, instils a love of books and nurtures their enjoyment of storytelling, as well as igniting a passion for them to develop their own storytelling abilities. Oracy  is a key element of sessions and not only supports children with their literacy development but also boosts confidence and strengthens relationships.

Meet the team - Spring 2019

Barbara Kirby-Johnston


After a long, successful and very rewarding career (having graduated on 7/7/77 – an illustrious start!) Barbara gradually moved from the classroom to management and training other teachers then most recently to tutoring whilst researching and developing plans for Little Story Explorers. Barbara is  passionate about writing poetry and stories and boasts to have written her first poem at four years old!

With 9 grandchildren (born between 2011 and 2018) that benefit from Barbara’s ‘Nanna Rhubarb’ stories and adventurous play, Barbara is keen to provide quality, fun experiences for others to nurture a love of literature and learning whilst stimulating children’s imaginations and promoting resilience and self-esteem. Barbara’s aim to create happy, confident children, is intertwined with her vision to support parents in helping their children learn through reading and play and strengthening bonds and relationships.

Anna Rimmer

Anna has spent 12 successful years teaching in an outstanding school, leading the English department and as Assistant Head. She now invests her time, energy and love of teaching with her young family and working in partnership with her mum and sharing her wealth of experience and enthusiasm with the local community through these classes.

Anna has two young children (born 2016 and 2017) and is passionate about promoting oracy through storytelling. As someone who had attended many baby classes herself, she wants to provide community classes where parents/grandparents/carers can take children to socialise as well as learn and in places that are convenient and comfortable to make a pleasurable experience for all. A key aim is that the class is something all parties enjoy and look forward to each time. Her passion to promote reading for pleasure has been a driving force in providing schools and pre-schools with sessions that enhance their teaching of reading whilst supporting children in developing their own oracy skills and enjoyment of storytelling and reading.