The power of social media means you make connections with amazing professionals in the Early Years field. I am very happy to have interviewed Clare Stead on Oliiki Baby Brain Building App. I especially agree with instilling a love of learning (the last i in Oliiki).
How did the Oliiki Baby Brain Building App come about?
I am a primary school teacher by training and I kept seeing the same thing happening in the classrooms that I taught in. I would see some children arrive at school and thrive, others were special needs children who were on their own education journey and then there was this whole other group who seemed to find learning really hard. They seemed to find getting organised and down to the work a challenge. I wondered why that was. Especially as when you watch toddlers watching a caterpillar on a leaf, they are ALL fully focused and engaged. I wondered what had happened to prevent these children being able to access the learning that was on offer in school.
I’ve worked across three continents in literally hundreds of schools and I found the same thing. It made me curious, especially as behind each one of these seemingly failing children was very often a parent who felt lost, frightened, judged and a failure.
I knew there needed to be a different way.
When I was working in Zambia putting the whole of the primary curriculum on a tablet for African children to get quality education in their own language I was shown the learning that happens in the first 1000 days.
That for me was like turning the light switch on! I realised that if I wanted to ensure that every child thrived and that every child reached their full potential, I was working with the wrong age range! I needed to start working with those who were just pregnant or had babies in the first 1000 days of life, the time between conception to two as this is the time when the brain is literally building itself. It is an amazing window of opportunity for learning.
The challenge is, though the brain is developing at a rate that will never be replicated again in our life, babies spend the most time with their parents who are learning how to be parents for the first time and have little or no training on child development.
Having been a new parent myself, I’ve felt the bewilderment of the first days and wondering what on earth to do with my new born sat in the sitting room in their new car seat and I too have reached to the kettle and a cup of tea as the answer! I’ve felt the frustration of being newly pregnant and wanting to do things to help my baby develop but not been sure what to do or how or why and I’ve felt the tiredness of a toddler parent who needs to be a continual fount of new activities and adventures for their child and can’t be creative or imaginative because of that tiredness!
So I quit my job and built the app that I would have wanted if I had been a first time parent again. One that was grounded in the science and research that is now available so that I could be confident that I was not only developing my child, but also myself! That is how the Oliiki Baby Brain Building app was born.
What do your parents/readers learn from the Oliiki Baby Brain Building App?
Ultimately, through tiny daily playful adventures parents and parents-to-be build up an understanding of child development and how they can impact their child’s life outcomes. They become confident that they are giving their child the best start in life through the every day little interactions that they do. There are over 1000 activities on the Oliiki Baby Brain Building app, and none of them use dyed pasta or expensive resources.
Parents learn how to use the things from in and around their home to support their baby’s development and help them reach their full potential.
Parents also learn the Oliiki way:
O – Observe closely (You’ll learn so much from watching your child)
L – Learn what your baby is saying (babies communicate more than you think, even while in the womb!)
I – Initiate conversation (Chatting to your baby is one of the best brain building things you can do!)
I – Investigate their interests (follow their lead, be fascinated in what they are interested in, it’s called serve and return and builds your baby’s brain fabulously!)
K – Kindle connection, (your baby thrives in an environment of relationships, make yours one that lasts a lifetime)
I – Instil a love of learning (it’s the greatest gift you can give your baby!)
Tell us about books for parents.
Well, I LOVE books and encouraging reading from pregnancy onwards!
I advise my pregnant parents to spend time reading every day, it helps them relax which is brilliant for baby, but if they read out loud, it’s fabulous for brain building too. As an activity (from the Oliiki Baby Brain Building App) I suggest that parents make their baby their first black and white book!
It’s easy to do, and is such a lovely way to spend your first night together reading your new baby their first ever bed time story and have it be the one that you wrote for them!
What’s next for Oliiki/Clare Stead?
I am now starting to run courses for parents and parents-to-be The title of these courses are: How to parent so your kids become fabulous, and Learning and play in the first 1000 days of life, your role as a parent.
If you are interested in either of these courses you can message me on my social media pages for the next dates.
We have now completed our research with University College London and scientifically proven that the Oliiki app builds parental confidence in just 4 weeks, the new version of the Oliiki Baby Brain Building app has just landed in the app stores so I am spreading the word about the Oliiki Baby Brain Building app, (feel free to share this info with anyone you feel would find it useful!)
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Thank you to Clare, I love this and it really does show that there is More to Books!
Love Kat x
Send in your pictures of the books you’ve made for your babies to feature in this blog!