black girl magic Archives - Little Scholars Playground

We’re nominated for a National Diversity Award

We’re excited to be nominated for the the 2022 Entrepreneur of Excellence Award at The National Diversity Awards in association with ITV News. Please vote for us here. This came as a surprise to us this morning. Who said Mondays were the worst day of the week 🎉😊

We would really appreciate your vote. Every vote counts, so please click the link here today and please remember to verify your vote when you receive the email 🙏🏾

Our storytelling at Story Space in Tate Britain and the importance of storytelling

Estimated reading time: 4 mins

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Storytelling is a great way to influence and inspire children. It’s a way for children to learn and connect with people and ideas. Stories teach children about other cultures and history. They can also help to build familiarity and a connection with the person telling the story and allows children to ‘enter a new world’ through the story. Stories also allow children to understand more complex information in an engaging and fun way.

There are three types of learners.

  1. Visual learners – most children are visual learners and learn best through diagrams, illustrations and videos
  2. Auditory learners – children who learn best through discussions
  3. Kinaesthetic learners – children who learn best through doing

Storytelling caters to all three of these types of learners.  Visual learners will enjoy the illustrations, Kinaesthetic learners connect with the feelings that the story evokes and Auditory learners will connect with the words in the story.

Stories are easy for children to remember, more than facts and numbers. That’s why repetition and regular reading to children is important. Reading diverse books to children is also important, as they can also help to change current attitudes and beliefs. Places like Story Space in Tate Britain are great. Story Space is a workshop for families of all ages to come together, imagine, and explore the world of storytelling at the Tate Britain. You can discover a library of books by Black authors, Indigenous authors and authors of colour from around the world.

We recently did a Storytelling of two of our books. Zara’s Caribbean Adventure and Emmanuel’s African Adventure. It was lots of fun connecting with both parents and children. In Zara’s Caribbean Adventure she attends Carnival, so I brought one of my headpieces and in Emmanuel’s African Adventure, Grandmama goes to the market, so I brought out a basket and got the kids to name the fruit and veg common in Africa. It was a great way to expose the children to the African and Caribbean culture.

Natalie

Little Scholars Playground
info@littlescholarsplayground.com

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About the author

Natalie is the co-founder and illustrator at Little Scholars Playground. She is passionate about literacy, learning, illustrating, black women in STEM and Montessori.

Why we started Little Scholars Playground & tips to start your own business

Estimated reading time: 6 mins

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Welcome to the home of Little Scholars Playground! We’re a children’s book publisher and early years hub. We create diverse children’s books and learning resources.

It started in 2020 lockdown…

We were having a casual conversation about how difficult it is to find wide-ranging books for young children with main character representation of black people specifically. As people of action, we quickly determined that between us, we possessed the skillset to begin to chip-away at this problem. Fast-forward and Little Scholars Playground was born in February 2021. With a single mission to create engaging, diverse children’s literature and learning resources. We create everything ourselves, Denhue is the author of all of our books and Natalie is the illustrator.

Our business has grown RAPIDLY, so we thought we’d share some tips on how you can start your own business and side hustle. More and more people are becoming self-employed or finding a side-hustle to nurture their talents and of course to bring in more income, which can be seen particularly amongst women. The number of freelance mothers has grown by 79 percent since 2008*. Research shows it allows mums to pursue their career while being able to spend quality time with their families.

So, you want to pursue self-employment or have a side-hustle but how?

  1. Find the right hustle for you
  • Think about what you’re good at and nurture your talents. Ask yourself what are your skill sets, think about the things you’re good at and what people tell you you’re good at.
  • Think about what problem you’re trying to solve. The most successful businesses start with trying to solve a problem. For example, we struggled to find books, which featured a Black protagonist
  • Consider if there’s a true need for the business and is your idea realistic?

2. What’s your business mission, objectives and goals

  • Think about what your business mission is/ your businesses purpose. Always refer back to it in whatever you do. This helps to create consistency in your brand and allows you to always think of the why in what you do
  • Ensure your goals are attainable and realistic. Setting out clear goals and objectives will help you to not only start your business but take your business to the next level.

3. Get your finances in order

Start to think about your budget and how much you would need to invest in your business, think about ALL of the costs. If finances are low, think about creating a Kickstarter or do some Crowdfunding. They can be good ways to generate some money to get your business started.

4. Running the business

Starting a business or side hustle will mean some early morning and late nights, especially if you’re a working mum. But blocking out some time to focus on the business is important. Schedule at least an hour or two per week to focus solely on your new business.

5. Establish your target market

In order to get customers, you need to first establish who your target market is, who is likely to buy your product or service? Knowing who your target market is, allows you to market to the right people.

6. Have a support system

  • Having people to talk to about all the struggles and trials of setting up a business is important. They can help keep you going if it starts to feel overwhelming. But not only that you can also bounce ideas off them
  • Networking is also a great way to build a support system. There are many networking events for boss women out there.

7. Taking the leap to becoming a BOSS

When business starts to take off, you may be in a position to take your side hustle to the next level and leave your place of work. It’s always a gamble as employment is steady income to pay them bills! We recommend having at least 6 months’ worth of savings, just so you have a buffer to fall back on if you have a slow month or two.

So, you’re thinking about starting that side hustle or business, go for it! Now’s the time. We have seen a shift in consumers wanting to support small businesses. Good Luck! If you know someone who wants to start a business or have a side-hustle do send them this blog.

Natalie

Little Scholars Playground
info@littlescholarsplayground.com

*Research from IPSE

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About the author

Natalie is the co-founder and illustrator at Little Scholars Playground. She is passionate about literacy, learning, illustrating, black women in STEM and Montessori.

The benefits of regular reading to children from birth

Estimated reading time: 4 mins

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Babies and young children are sponges that soak up everything around them. So naturally when books are read to them, they take in all the language and words they hear. Reading to children boosts their brain development in a big way, but not only that it acts as bonding time for you and your child. Therefore we recommend some story time EVERY day.

So what are the benefits of reading to your child?

Brain and language development

Even the youngest children benefit from hearing their parents read to them. Studies have shown that babies who are regularly read to, get higher scores in language skills, promotes higher IQs and improves brain development, such as problem-solving skills.

Provides bonding time

Reading provides a great opportunity for you to bond with your child. It also acts as a little wind down time during a busy and hectic day.

Improves your child’s listening skills

listening is a skill children MUST gain before they can read themselves. So naturally hearing a story read out loud to them involves them having to comprehend and listen.

Helps your child have a larger vocabulary

Experts say reading books to children helps expand the number and variety of words they use. If you think about it, books you read often have words you may not otherwise use in your everyday speech. While reading you may not realise but you will often use more specific names for things such as animals and places etc as well as use more adjectives (descriptive words).

Improved attention span

Reading to children helps them develop key concentration skills as they have to sit still and listen in order to comprehend what is being read to them. This will also help improve their attention span.

Helps them learn life lessons

Books help to provide an opportunity to talk about real-life situations in an age-appropriate way. They can also reflect what happens in real-world situations, reading books on specific subjects may help children deal with something new that may feel scary, such as Coronavirus, racism, moving home and going to the Doctors etc

Sparks creativity in your child

Children have vivid imagination, so books help to feed their creativity by opening up a new and often magical world to them. Creativity is important for developing your child’s interests, ideas, as well as helping with their emotional health.

It’s beneficial to read to your child from birth. Talk to your baby as you look at the picture books you’re reading, describing what you can see. For example, point to a picture and ask “What’s this?” or declare “That’s a Monkey!” to get your child engaging with the book. Keep repeating what you can see, as repetition helps things and words to stick in your child’s mind. We have two books suitable for children, shop books here (or click on the image below).

Pre order Zara

Starting regular reading from birth will help your child become the little scholar they can be, happy reading!

Natalie

Little Scholars Playground
info@littlescholarsplayground.com

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About the author

Natalie is the co-founder and illustrator at Little Scholars Playground. She is passionate about literacy, learning, illustrating, black women in STEM and Montessori.

The benefits of wooden toys for children

Estimated reading time: 2 mins

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When you start learning about the Montessori practice you often hear (and see) a lot about wooden toys. But why are they so beneficial? Wooden toys spark your child’s creativity and is a form of open-ended play. Unlike plastic toys that can be over-stimulating with flashing lights and a set outcome. Wooden toys will provide your child with activities that do not have a set outcome. Building blocks, cardboard tubes, wooden kitchens, train sets and sensory/messy play are all examples of openended play, because they can play in a number of ways with no set outcome.

Encourages your child’s brain development

Not only do wooden toys inspire creative and imaginative play in children. It is also beneficial for your child’s brain development, helping to improve their cognitive and problem-solving skills. The natural textures of wooden toys stimulate the child’s senses as they encourage them to feel, touch and explore. Because of their simpler shapes, wooden toys also help children build hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

They’re strong and child safe

Wooden toys are also stronger than their plastic counterparts. They will not easily break, meaning no broken small pieces or sharp edges, which is ideal for babies who we know like to put everything in their mouths!

They’re better for your peace of mind and the environment

Of course, wooden toys are also much better for the environment than plastic! They’re non-toxic, but not only that they won’t pollute your home with excessive noise, win, win! As open-ended wooden toys help to keep children from becoming so easily distracted. By having natural wooden toys in your home, it actually keeps your home quieter and more peaceful. We’re all a product of our environment, so offering the best/calm environment for your child will therefore encourage their mind to stay calm and healthy.

Natalie

Little Scholars Playground
info@littlescholarsplayground.com

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About the Author

Natalie is the co-founder and illustrator at Little Scholars Playground. She is passionate about literacy, learning, illustrating, black women in STEM and Montessori.