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  • Montessori and Me

    ‘Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.’
    Dr Maria Montessori

    When my two children were tiny I remember watching them crawl around the house, slowly getting to know their territory. Bit by bit, their inquisitiveness took them further as they discovered new and exciting places around the house. As I hovered nearby, keeping a watchful eye, it was wonderful to see that sense of independence forming in my kids at such an early age.

    Letting children explore and learn on their own is something I’ve always felt strongly about.  And in that, I’m very much aligned with the Montessori way. Dr Maria Montessori’s philosophy was about allowing children to develop naturally and independently. She believed that children should be free to make their own discoveries and to learn for themselves by ‘doing’ and ‘experiencing’.

    My very first design, the Tidy Books bookcase, was made with that guiding principle in mind. I wanted kids to have their own special little library so they could pick out their favourite books whenever they wanted rather than having to wait until it was ‘time to read’. So many parents have told me that because of the bookcase their children are reading at every opportunity – which makes me really happy.

    montessori, montessori bookcase, tidy books, kids bookcase The Tidy Books Bookcase in Montessori colours

    The bookcase is also useful for learning the alphabet.  My daughter, Adèle, used to love pointing to the colourful letters and running her fingers around the tactile wooden shapes. There was nothing forced about her learning – she just did it gradually, in her own time, without me pushing her.

    From recent market research we’ve done here at Tidy Books, I know that many customers are interested in the Montessori way of teaching and would like to bring elements of it into their home. In response, my original bookcase will now also be available with the alphabet in Montessori colours – a simple colour scheme of blue for vowels and red for consonants. And the wooden letters are all lower case – which makes better sense to children as these are the predominant letters they see when they read.

    I love that I share so many values with the Montessori way of teaching. From the very beginning, I set out to design products that made sense to kids and would help to foster their sense of independence. I’ve watched my own children interact with all my Tidy Books designs and seen them grow up to become creative, self-sufficient adults. As a parent and businesswoman, that’s a pretty amazing achievement.

    * The new Montessori-inspired bookcase is available to pre-order now for delivery in early July.  Send an email to info@tidy-books.com with subject line 'Montessori' to claim yours. 

    geraldine grandidier, tidy booksGeraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.

  • How to go from reluctant reader to bookworm in 40 books

    It’s a rather special kid’s book that can tempt the most reluctant reader to dip their toe in the water.  Beanstalk, the literacy charity which helps children’ who have fallen behind with their reading has handpicked 40 of the most engaging kid’s books to go into their Top 40 book packs for schools. For parents who’re looking for a handy list to kick start their child’s library, Beanstalk’s Top 40 is gold dust.

    We’ve been a longtime partner of Beanstalk, and are proud that Tidy Books has been able to support Beanstalk’s brilliant work in the nation’s primary schools.  We’re delighted too, that Beanstalk has chosen a Tidy Books kid’s bookcase to showcase their Top 40 kid’s books. As author of the ‘You’re a Bad Man Mr Gum’ series Andy Stanton says:

    “I've been told many times that 'Mr Gum' has helped to get young readers started and it never fails to give me goosebumps - what a privilege it is to write for children. My stories might be silly, but I take writing and reading very seriously and am absolutely delighted to be included in Beanstalk's starter pack.”

    kids books, reluctant reader, kids bookcase, tidy books, beanstalk, kids reading, kids literacy Beanstalk's Top 40 Books in a Tidy Books Bookcase

    Beanstalk’s Top 40 books are ideal for ages 3-10 and include classics like ‘Dear Zoo’ to more contemporary books like ‘Oi Frog’  They’ve been specially selected by the Beanstalk reading helpers who see firsthand how each book catches a child’s imagination, and with the help of children’s book expert Marilynn Brocklehurst of the Norfolk Children’s Book Centre.

    Beanstalk is a national literacy charity that recruits, vets, trains and supports volunteers to work in primary schools with children who have fallen behind with their reading.  Beanstalk reading helpers work with children on a one-to-one basis, giving them their full attention and support to improve reading levels, increase overall confidence and inspire a lifelong love of reading. With Beanstalk's support the child's approach to learning and enjoying reading is often transformed.

    Whether you have a reluctant reader or a bookworm raring to go, then Beanstalk’s Book Top 40 could the perfect place to start your little reader’s journey into books, and build their very own library.   

    You can find the Beanstalk Top 40 book list  here https://www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk/Pages/Category/beanstalk-top-40

    geraldine grandidier, tidy booksGeraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.

     

  • Stop the summer reading slump

    Schools out – and kids can’t get their uniforms off quick enough. With the summer holidays here they’ve got six whole weeks to relax and have fun, so doing anything remotely school-related will be the last thing on their mind now. Trouble is, when kids go back in September they’ve often forgotten some of the things they learned in class. It’s what teachers call the summer reading slump.

    One brilliant initiative to keep kids reading through the holiday is the Summer Reading Challenge run by the charity The Reading Agency. Once they’ve signed up at their local library, kids can take out six books to read over the summer and there are competitions, games and rewards to collect to keep them motivated, and stop the summer reading slump.

    You can help your kids with the challenge by letting them choose their own books. According to Scholastic’s Kids and Family Reading report  9 out of 10 kids are more likely to finish a book that they’ve picked themselves. And as they’re allowed six books for their summer reading challenge, this is a good time for your kids to be free with their book choices – fiction, non-fiction, poetry, picture books or whatever else takes their fancy.

    The Tidy Books Box puts books within easy reach of kids to help stop the summer reading slump The Tidy Books Box puts books in easy reach

    It’s all about making reading enjoyable for the kids while they’re away from school and not turning it into a task. But of course the books need to be accessible so kids don’t forget they’re there. You could put them in our Portable Book Box , which makes a handy mini-library that can be moved around the house. It can go with them into the garden or over to their grandparents’ house – even in the car to take on holiday.

    The box’s front-facing design means books can easily be identified by their covers, so kids won’t get impatient trying to find the one they want! It holds up to 40 books – plenty of room for all your kids’ books – and also comes with a play clock so they can have fun learning to tell the time as well.

    Kids deserve the summer off but reading doesn’t need to feel like homework. All they need is a little inspiration and they’ll soon see that reading a book at any time is fun!

    Happy summer reading everyone!

     

  • Adventures in Bunk Bed Land

    Last week I was talking about bunk beds – as you do – with one of my friends. She grew up sharing a bunk bed with her sister and had such sweet memories of her experience. They used to pretend their bed was a ship and loved taking it in turns to climb up the wooden steps to be the lookout. And of course their ship needed lots of sailors – ably played by their teddies!

    It made me smile to hear her stories. Instead of being cross that they had to share a bunk bed, her and her sister loved being together and really embraced their bunk bed as an adventure. It was a comforting experience, too. At night, they often played ‘Tickly Two’ – my friend would stretch her arm down from the top bunk to meet her sister’s outstretched arm and they would gently tickle each other until they felt sleepy.

    I couldn’t imagine my daughter and son having quite such a lovely time together. When Adele and Emile were young they had separate rooms, each with their own bunk bed so they could have a friend staying with them for a sleepover. We were lucky that our house was big enough for the kids to have their own bedrooms, but I don’t know how they would have got along if they’d had to share.

    bunk bed, tidy books, kids room, shelf The Tidy Books Bunk Bed Buddy

    My friend reckons they might have got on better than I imagined. She heard about one woman and her brother who’d shared a bunk bed when they were young, and the brother had helped his sister to read. Apparently he got fed up with her pestering him to read her a bedtime story so he helped teach her to read by herself.

    I love that that little girl learnt how to read independently. It’s exactly why I make all the products I do, so that kids can create their own personal environment and become independent as they learn. I made the Bunk Bed Buddy so kids who sleep on the top bunk can still be close to their books. It also gives them a safe place to put their bedtime drink and allows them to have their own personal area for storing bits and bobs that they want close to them when they’re sleeping.

    My friend wishes she’d had a Bunk Bed Buddy when she was a kid. Much as she enjoyed sharing a bunk bed, she says she would have loved to have had her books and personal things next to her. And she really wishes she’d had somewhere to keep her teddies safe so she didn’t wake up to find her special sailors had fallen overboard in the night!

    * Do your kids have bunk beds? I’d love to hear how they get on – drop me a line.

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