Our vision is to see non-English speaking children get a good foundation for learning English. 'Sam and Mel' is designed especially for children who are beginner learners of English. We feel that it is very important that children learn good grammar and pronunciation right from the beginning. 'Sam and Mel' has been tested extensively in kindergartens and primary schools.
B.A. (U.S.A.); Maîtrise d'anglais (France) ; Dip.Tch (N.Z.)
Tony first started teaching English in refugee camps in South-East Asia in 1981. He has since taught English and French in primary schools in Europe, the West Indies and New Zealand. Tony is currently Head of Studies at Macleans College Academy, a branch of Macleans College, one of the highest achieving academic high schools in New Zealand. Tony designs the lessons for 'Sam and Mel'.
"In my spare time, I enjoy rowing competitively and sailing around the Hauraki Gulf. I also love travelling to exotic lands."
Dip. Film and Television (N.Z.)
Reuben is an experienced video producer. He teamed up with Tony in 2011 to produce prototype lessons from which the present lessons are inspired. Prior to becoming involved with video production, Reuben spent 3 and a half years in Japan working as a children's performer and English language teacher, and has also worked back in New Zealand as a children's magician. Reuben applies his video craft to 'Sam and Mel' in order to bring an entertaining as well as educational viewing experience to young learners.
"When I'm not producing video content or taking care of my young son, I enjoy mountain-biking and sharing good food with family and friends".
B.A. (Political Studies, Spanish); Trinity Certificate in TESOL
Sam works part-time as an ESOL (English) teacher of international students in a Language Institute in Auckland, New Zealand. He has also played a small role in a local television series. Sam is currently completing a Bachelor's degree in Counselling and a Graduate Certificate in Theology. He speaks English, French and Spanish.
"I am married and have a two year old boy. I enjoy coffee, books, poetry, writing, drums/guitar, playing with my son and jogging."
B.A. (Film and Media)
Mel has featured in a TVNZ documentary and some short films. She has also taught French to young children at the Alliance Française in Dunedin, New Zealand. Mel is currently completing a second Bachelor's degree in Counselling. She works part-time for Tear Fund, a charitable organization that sponsors children's education in developing countries. She speaks English, French and German.
"I enjoy singing, good music and outdoor adventures. I am happiest when spending quality time with friends, dreaming about the future and eating fantastic food."
B.A. (Honours) (Philosophy), M.A. with Distinction (Philosophy), Dip. Art and Creativity (Honours) (Illustration and Design)
Dennis is an experienced illustrator whose work has been primarily focused in the educational market. He focuses on digital illustration as this enables him to produce quality work quickly and efficiently. He uses the research and analysis skills he learned from his philosophy degrees to inform his illustrative process. Dennis produces the illustrations for 'Sam and Mel' alongside his brother Alan.
"I enjoy drawing, reading, watching movies, and taking walks around the beautiful estuary and beach near my home on the Kapiti Coast."
B.A. (Honours) (Philosophy), M.A. (Merit) (Philosophy), Dip. Art and Creativity (Honours) (Illustration and Design)
Alan is an experienced illustrator who has worked primarily in the education market with his brother Dennis. Prior to illustration work, Alan has worked as a tutor and guest lecturer in the Philosophy department at Victoria University of Wellington, as well as an English language teacher in Japan. He works primarily in digital illustration to produce images quickly and efficiently.
"In my spare time I enjoy reading, drawing and painting in both traditional and digital media."