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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.

  • Getting ready for school needn’t be a headache

    Did you know, as mums and dads, our stress levels go up by 30% on school mornings and don’t return to normal levels till after lunchtime? Getting the kids ready for school, complete with coats, lunches, and homework, can feel like a daily test of your sanity.

    We talked to Jen of the Dad Network, whose son Louis who has severe dyspraxia and finds getting ready for school difficult.   Jen, a teacher, developed strategies to help Louis organise himself, which will help you get your kids organised and ready for school on time.

    These are her top tips

    1.Put homework, lunch boxes and uniform in a place kids can’t miss.
    Use a notice board in the kid’s bedroom, kitchen or hall to write up what you need for the next day.  You can hang up bags, PE kit and even the school uniform The Tidy Books Forget Me Not noticeboard.  Jen called the Forget Me Not a ‘lifechanger’ because it gives kids a visual prompt.

    tidy books, kids noticeboard, getting organised, ready for school Louis is all ready for the morning with the Tidy Books Forget Me Not. Photo credit The Dad Network

    2. Decide what you want for breakfast the night before
    Choose your cereal before you go to bed. Jen lays out the table each night, ready for the morning. You’ll find breakfast is speedier without having to factor in decision making time.

    3. Label everything in one colour
    Use big name labels in your child’s favourite colour. Labels can be added to coats, PE kit and water bottles so that your child can spot their belongings at a glance.

    4. Pick a favourite colour and stick to it.
    Colour coding is a great way to organise. Buy school pens and pencils all in one colour, so your child can see their belongings instantly. Kids, particularly dyspraxic kids are very tuned into visual prompts.  Colour coding helps them scan for their favourite colour and pick out their belongings quickly.

    5. Use a see-through pencil case
    Cuts down on rummaging time.  Your child can make sure they have their favourite pencil without tipping everything out.

    6. Get into the habit of making notes
    Kids with dyspraxia can struggle to remember the simplest of instructions, and it happens to all of us from time to time.  If you’ve ever found a letter from school left forgotten in the kid's school bag, then teach them to write notes.  Try a notebook or use the whiteboard of the Forget Me Not noticeboard.

    7.Timers
    We’ve all been there; your child’s in the bathroom to brush teeth, but they’re daydreaming in front of the mirror instead.   Jen and Louis use stop clocks to time teeth brushing or minutes left till leaving the house, so everyone knows when they need to be ready for school.

    For more information on living with dyspraxia visit the Dyspraxia Foundation website
    Thanks to Jen of The Dad Network and Louis for sharing their story. This blog content is adapted from an original guest post on the The Dad Network.

    What about you? Is getting the kids to organise themselves is the key to peaceful mornings?

    The Tidy Books kids organiser, the Forget Me Not is available now in Limited Edition new colours; Dark Grey and Soft White

    kids organiser, forget me not, tidy books, school run, ready for school Tidy Books Forget Me Not Kids Organiser in Soft White

    tidy books, forgetmenot, kids organiser, school run, ready for school Tidy Books Forget Me Not in Dark Grey

    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.

  • Children's room trends for 2018 with Houzz and Tidy Books

    Parents are taking the design of their children's room very seriously.   When Tidy Books was selected to be part of interior trends expo Houzz of 2018, it was immediately clear that parents want a space for their kids that is functional, playful and stylish.

    International interiors platform Houzz and designers Run for the Hills took over a five storey Soho townhouse to create a modern family home which showcases the trends for 2018.   The children's room featured the iconic Tidy Books Bookcase which I'd created for my daughter 15 years ago. 

    children's room, tidy books kids bookcase, kids bookshelf Tidy Books Bookcase in Houzz of 2018

    The key trends I spotted in the Houzz townhouse were tactile rugs and fabrics, retro touches; all looking luxurious.   In the children's rooms the interior design team highlighted blush pinks and illustrated wallpaper as key design trends for 2018.

    children's room, interior design, tidy books The children's room in Houzz of 2018

    Houzz discovered that  72% of parents want a children's room that's easy to clean, so simplicity and amazing storage are their top priorities.*  30% said they despaired of keeping the kid's belongings organised.  Houzz identified key purchases as bookshelves and toy boxes, such as Tidy Books' kid's bookcase and small toy storage boxes, the Sorting Box.   

    It's not just the children's rooms that parents are taking seriously.   I've observed that parents don't want to tuck all their children's belongings in their bedroom.  Houzz identified that parents are creating playrooms, homework stations and reading nooks in other areas of the home.  As a result, they're seeking out designs that work well for children and are stylish enough for adult spaces. 

    Tidy Books' timeless bookcases, shelves and toy box designs reflect this trend.  Parents want simplicity, function and style.  My original designs are conceived in real life scenarios, from being a parent or observing others’ family life.  I think that’s what makes my designs strike a chord with parents, who’re craving simple, functional designs for children.

    houzz, interior design, children's room, tidy books The Soho 5 storey townhouse - home of Houzz of 2018

    Houzz of 2018 was a fabulous event and I was excited that Tidy Books was selected.  It was a pleasure to be in the company of so many other fabulous home and interiors products and I'm looking forward to Houzz of 2019!

    *Source Houzz Kids and the Home poll 2017

  • See Tidy Books in kid's interior design expo in Soho townhouse

    Tidy Books has been selected by leading interior designers to showcase the latest trends in home design.  In an exciting pop up expo, Houzz, is taking over a five storey house in London’s Soho for a week-long, interior design installation.

    The Houzz designers have created a beautiful family home from kitchen, home office and a kid’s bedroom, where Tidy Books’ iconic kid’s bookcase is featured. The installation, which is free to the public, will appeal to anyone who loves snooping around other people’s homes.

    interior design, trends, kids design, tidy books, kids bookcase Visit the Houzz of 2018 event at 19 Greek Street, Soho, London, W1D4DT

    Naturally I'm excited that international interior design platform Houzz has selected Tidy Books' iconic kid's bookcase to be part of the event Houzz of 2018. Everything I make is designed to be fun and enjoyable for children whilst creating a timeless classic design that can be passed down through the generations.

    I made the first Tidy Books kid’s bookcase for my own daughter and went on to found the Tidy Books in 2004.   It's fabulous to see my design in this smart Soho townhouse.

    Parents today  are seeking out designs for their children which are stylish, but also practical and easy for kids to use.  As more of us choose open plan family living spaces, parents are looking for kid's designs which work for the whole family.

    The Tidy Books’ Children’s bookcase was a design first, created to encourage kids’ love of reading by enabling them to explore books by themselves.  It forever changed the concept of what a good children’s bookcase should do.

    Touring the Soho home promises to be fascinating, with workshops and talks from interior designer and brands. You can even relax with a free coffee on the top floor!

    The Houzz of 2018 event can be found at 19 Greek Street, Soho, London, W1D 4DT from 26th January until 31st January, and is open from 11am till 6pm. Will you be dropping by to see Tidy Books on tour?

    You can find more information on the Houzz of 2018 site https://houzzof2018.com/

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