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Kids reading

  • 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.

  • Why reading is the fastest way to boost your mental health

    Don’t you just love how reading can lift your spirits? I’ve usually got a book on the go but during the occasional reading drought, when I’ve been too busy to stock up on new books, I really notice how it affects how I feel. Reading helps to take me out of my own ‘me, me, me’ world into a wonderful new, magical world and, to be honest, without it I soon feel myself slipping into a low mood.

    So I’m really pleased to hear that the theme of this year’s World Book Night on 23rd April is how reading benefits mental health. The annual event, run by national charity The Reading Agency  helps to get books to people who don’t read for pleasure or who don’t own their own books. Publishers donate books which are then gifted to prisons, hospitals, care homes and mental health charities – and among the books being donated this year will be ones that explore mental health and wellbeing.

    reading benefits mental health, charity, give a book, tidy books, kids reading Simply reading can help kids boost mental health. Photo credit Give A Book

    There has been lots of research about the benefits of reading for mental health, including increasing self-esteem, improving communication between parents and children and reducing stress, anxiety and depression. In one study, reading for just six minutes was found to decrease stress levels by 68% amazingly it’s a quicker and more effective stress buster than going for a walk or listening to music! 

    I totally understand the power of books and how reading benefits mental health. When I was a child, I remember going through periods of anxiety when books were a real solace to me. Whatever was happening around me, I could completely lose myself in a story and it calmed and comforted me. With a book by my side, it felt like everything was going to be OK.

    With one in ten children and young people affected by mental health problems – that’s three out of every 30 in a classroom – isn’t it incredible to think that something as simple as reading a book could help them?

    From my own experience – as a child and now as an adult – I know how truly uplifting reading can be.

    * Tidy Book holds a monthly collection for children’s books that we donate to Give a Book for distribution to schools and prison. For details, please contact us on 020 8520 4647

    geraldine grandidier, tidy books

    Geraldine 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.

     

  • Time to read...

    Telling the time is so natural to most of us, that we forget kids don't have the same concept of telling time.  I was chatting to a friend the other day about her Christmas and she said her three-year-old son was so excited he’d been constantly asking when Father Christmas was coming.  Of course, being so young, her son had no concept of time so she told him it would be ‘three times when you’ve gone to school’  She wanted to help him understand that he’d have to wait for what would feel like three school days.

    I thought that was a really clever way of teaching her child about telling time. Another mum I know does a similar thing – only she breaks time down into episodes of Peppa Pig. As for helping my own children to tell the time, I remember we sat down and made a clock out of a Camembert box (well, I am French!).

    telling time, teaching time clock, book box, tidy books, tell the time clock The Tidy Books Box with teaching time clock

    Experts agree that telling the time makes better sense to children when they can relate it to their own experience – like teatime at 5 o’ clock and their 7 o’ clock bath time. And of course it’s always good to making learning fun, so they suggest things like setting a timer when you’re baking cookies or using a stopwatch to time them cleaning their teeth.

    When I was designing my Book Box, I immediately thought of adding a teaching time clock on one end. I mean, why waste space when you can use it to include something useful? I loved the idea of kids having a little portable library so they could have their favourite books around them wherever they were in the house. And if it had a colourful telling the time clock, well they could have fun playing with that, too.

    The award-winning Tidy Books box has certainly gone down well with customers – they love that it’s so compact and space-saving and can easily be moved from the living room to the kids’ bedroom. I have to say, I’m pretty pleased with it myself – and I’m not bad at making a Camembert clock either!

    What do you do to explain time to your kids?

    geraldine grandidier, tidy books

     

    Geraldine 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.

  • Why writing a diary is great for kids

    Wondering what to put in the kids’ Christmas stocking this year? Well the National Literacy Trust is encouraging everyone to buy a diary or a journal as a gift. They believe writing a journal is a great way for children to explore language, express themselves and build emotional resilience.

    With daily writing, children can practise their handwriting outside of school. And according to one report, schoolchildren who kept a journal were nearly twice as likely to write above the expected level for their age as those who didn’t.

    The beauty of a diary is that kids can write about whatever they like. It might be what they’ve done that day, how they’re feeling or their hopes and fears. This, say the NLT, gives children the chance to build emotional resilience because writing things down lets them process their thoughts and express their feelings.

    Writing thoughts down is pretty handy for adults too. I have a personal notebook that I write in every evening. It’s somewhere for me to unload or reflect on what I’m immensely grateful for.

    " Diary writing is a brilliant idea for children, because it helps them organise their thoughts and express themselves. 

    Sue Townsend, author of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole

    When it comes to your kids, they may need a bit of encouraging – otherwise it might feel like another task they have to do rather than something they can enjoy.   A handy tip is to read your children a book where the main character writes a journal – like Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney and Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl. Younger kids could be encouraged to start by using pictures instead of words, or writing with colourful pens and pencils.

    bunk bed buddy, diary, tidy books, bunk bed storage, book shelf, journal Perfect place for a diary: the Tidy Books Bunk Bed Buddy. Photo credit: Would Like to be a Yummy Mummy  www.wouldliketobeayummymummy.com

    Of course a diary is personal so it’s always handy to have a secret place to keep it away from prying eyes. I love the idea of a child scribbling away in their diary then hiding it behind their favourite things on their Bunk Bed Buddy . It's safe in their own little territory – and it’s close at hand whenever they want to write in it.

    And who knows – one day that diary might become a best-selling book!

     

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