It’s an unprecedented time for small business owners right now, with many parents having to juggle two careers; not only do they run their business, but they’ve also become a teacher overnight! I caught up with Chloe, a small business manager with a background in education, and asked about her top tips for parents facing much more than the morning school run. Chloe also took some time to showcase her new educational product range!
Can you tell us a little about your Early Years Educator History?
I began training as an Early Years Educator in 2014 and qualified in 2016, which led me to progress my career into being a teaching assistant at a school, a nursery practitioner and a pre-school assistant before settling in as a nanny for a lovely little boy, which was the job I had when I became disabled in July 2018. Throughout this time I was able to inspire learning in children ranging in age from 6m to 10 years old. This isn’t even counting the ages of the children from all the freelance babysitting I did! I found that my strong points were mainly in creative areas, which led to all sorts of crazy activities with the kids! Things like using recycled materials to make model rockets, making home-made play-dough, and fun sensory play with cereal and dinosaur models. I loved my career in childcare and education, and I’m pleased that I can use my knowledge and experience to create relevant and exciting designs for children within my business!
How important is homeschooling during these unprecedented times?
No question about it, homeshooling is definitely important! However, there is a lot more at stake than your child’s education at this time. So, there is a lot to consider. Things like balancing your full-time job with potentially multiple children to look after, I couldn’t even imagine! The lockdown is affecting me enough, and I don’t even have children! What I can tell you, from my experience, is that children learn better when their learning is focused around them and having activities that engage their passions and interests. Don’t be afraid to stray away from that rigid classroom structure and let them take the lead sometimes – it might even give you a break!
Do you have five top tips on engaging and effective lessons at home?
1 – Work around a theme – I would recommend using a theme each week, so you can explore it in some depth. The idea is to use this theme as a basis for all your learning for that week. For example, to use a ‘farm animals’ theme to explore things such as counting the farm animals, colouring them, talking about where they live, and so on.
2 – Don’t be afraid to get messy – It is common for children to respond well to getting stuck in! I’m such a big fan of messy play, and if you’re stuck for messy play suggestions, then I definitely recommend using a tray to let the children explore playing with cornflour mixed with water, shaving foam, and paint in a bowl of spaghetti!
3 – Go outside. Fresh air is so important and now we have free reign to exercise, make the most of getting outdoors. This will not only help to support your child’s physical development, it will also tire them out, giving you that bit more much-needed rest in the evening!
4 – Don’t panic if it doesn’t feel like a lesson. The main sign that your child is learning is if they’re asking questions. This can come about in any way, not just through structured pen and paper lessons that you’d expect to see in school. Don’t be afraid to follow the child’s lead – if all their questions are about their new space toy, then why not use that as a basis for learning?
5 – Have fun! Children are most engaged if you’re enjoying it too. Use this time to get to know them on a more personal level and make the most of this precious time which you have together.
Why did you begin creating educational products for homeschooling?
In a way, I was creating educational products long before I started my career in graphic design, but they weren’t ‘products’, they were just my teaching materials! I didn’t sell any of my educational designs before the lockdown as it wasn’t even an area I had considered going back to, but when this pandemic struck and most parents across the UK were forced into homeschooling, I decided I wanted to help in any way I could, and being limited by being unable to physically contribute, I settled on making educational products and sharing
activity ideas to help parents as much as possible during this unimaginable period.
What is your favourite education product you've released?
My favourite education product has to be my most recent – The Space Game! This is a board game that I am very proud to have conceptualised and designed! It includes flash cards to learn about the planets as well as the game board and components. This was one of those ‘lightbulb’ moments, where the concept just came to me and I ran with it!
Why did you start your business?
I founded Graphic Design by Chloe in January this year, so we are still quite a young business! My experience with setting up my own business within MLM companies previously saw business booming within the first week of being open, which was amazing!
What does Graphic Design by Chloe do?
I run my business alongside my fiance Paul, and with support from my lovely friend Olivia. We are a small business providing Graphic Design in a range of areas. Specifically, we provide Home Designs, Business Essentials and Educational Tools – but we are proud to be able to produce most designs requested from us!
What was it that influenced you to start the business?
The main influence for me to start the business was to help people! I know how difficult it is setting up a business and I wanted to help as many people as possible to set up their own business! Another large factor in me starting the business was due to my inability have a ‘normal’ job due to my poor health. I spend lots of time in bed and needed a way to keep my brain active but I also wanted to find a way to financially support myself whilst working from home.
Do you have any tips for new business owners?
I have so many tips for new business owners that I could go on for hours! For now, I’ll stick to the top 3 tips that I’ve been told are most helpful:
1 – Thoroughly research your pricing – Consider all elements of pricing in depth, and get yourself familiar with any fees coming out from the payment methods you want to use (e.g PayPal).
2 – Take your time to set up all areas of your business before launching on social media – It can be so exciting to just dive in, but having a business that is ready to tackle all challenges and is attractive to potential customers/clients will really set you up for the best start!
3 – Host an online launch party – when launching your business online, hosting an online launch party can attract a hype around your new business and will let you build an audience to whom you can promote your products and services to!