Books and toys for little humans that engage and excite
You found Di!
Hi, I’m the Butterfly Princess by day and a Queen Bee by night.
I like Suji dipped in lemon sauce and I use to adore rocky road but now I’m addicted to sunflower seeds.
Come on a magical journey with some of my characters like ‘Jeex the adventurer’ and discover natural wonders and how to be a good friend.
With my husband Duane, I have designed two awesome, industry disrupting toys that I will showcase soon. We have spent years researching in China, Hong Kong and Nepal and developing our never before seen puzzles and we hope to make them available to children around the world in the not too distant future.
I’m an Early Years educator from Australia and have spent 35 years of my working life in Early Learning Centres and Kindergartens in Australia, United Kingdom, Nepal, Hong Kong and China.
Over the years working in Australia and around the world one aspect has always excited and surprised me, and that the willingness and need for engagement with each other no matter the age, language barriers or socio-economic situation we all seek to engage and have fun.
A large portion of my working life I have spent with the 0-3 age and thoroughly enjoyed the verbal and quite often non verbal communication with these lovely little humans, they have taught me so much about myself, so much so I realised that it’s not only what you do or say to another person but how you make them feel that is most important especially from young children where communication can be limited.
I have always enjoyed reading engaging and fun books with the children, and on many occasions created variations on the stories they enjoyed engaging them and getting them creating more.
That lead me to writing my first three books, my books are designed for 0-3-year old’s and/or children where English is not their main language. I’m a strong believer in the fact that children learn and retain information when it’s fun, active and engaging, so my books use fun and repetitive actions in a rhythmical pattern, that last long after the book is finished.
My Nepal Project
Grab a tissue, this is the story:
Whilst we were visiting Nepal in February this year (2017), we had the privilege of meeting some truly wonderful and inspirational local Nepalis making huge life changes to less fortunate families of Nepal.
This is Laxmi, from Padampur village, who does her best to care for between 20 and 43 under 5-year-olds each day.
Raj and Keshab Khanal are two locals in Chitwan, south Nepal and they have taken on the care and development of four villages that didn’t even have water or a school. They have sunk wells for water and have built a Kindy and that’s where the kids of the village and one of the parents, (acting as the teacher), gather daily.
Enter Duane and I, we are Early Years Educators so we can create a curriculum and teach the parents to teach. And that’s how we plan to change their future, the kids will learn and have opportunities to attend a government school and opportunities to support their family and community.
The project involves 4 small villages in the Chitwan area of southwest Nepal. The villages of Padampur, Manahari, Jinglau and Sapreni.
Through local efforts and international help from a German aid fund, Raj and Keshab have been able to organise for stand-alone single room kindergartens to be built in each village, so each of the villages now has a dedicated hut for a kindergarten.
We’re passionate about Education, it’s been our whole lives. These children in Nepal don’t have education at the moment so we want to change their lives, with your help.
Each centre averages around 40 kids per day. They have a parent as a volunteer teacher, a few over loved toys and no educational materials. All these guys are under 5 years old with no educational prospects in sight.
Duane and I have over 50 years experience between us in Early Years Education, so visiting one of the centres and seeing just what we could do with our experience and some funding gave us the strongest sense of purpose and usefulness for our skills and knowledge.
After spending some time with the children, we knew that an educational program and structure that supports and nurtures their strengths will make a huge difference not only to their own future opportunities but to the prospects for their families and their community. So we raised the funds to buy toys and educational materials for the little guys and off we went. We delivered the toys, implemented an educational program at each village and we are looking forward to our next visit.
Down in the garden…where the fun begins: is a journey through the eyes of a child engaging with insects in the garden, the joy and surprise from each encounter connects the child with nature and the joy of exploration and imagination.
Every morning when I wake up” is about a little child morning journey from opening their eyes to jumping out of bed, and all the funny quirky activities they do each day, often without thinking about them.
The story builds the activities of waking up into a fun and repetitive action story that engages and excites a young reader.
Each page from opening their eyes with a POP, to shouting “GOOD MORNING EVERYBODY”, is full of action and excitement.
“What’s the weather like today” is about a child’s awareness and engagement with the types of weather and what action or movement that weather inspires in them.
The story starts each morning when they wake up and how that weather comes to life for them.
The story builds an awareness of different weather patterns and creates an understanding of the world they live in by engaging with the weather characters each day.
I started writing fun and catchy children’s books many years ago to communicate concepts and actions that I wanted to role model to the children, this led me on a journey of speaking to EAL (English as another language) learners in a fun and rhythmical fashion. I found that the children walked away humming or singing the rhythm of the book I’d just read or the catchy song with actions, all leading to them retaining more English and feeling more confident.
Years before that I’d read similar books to my 0-3 children in centres and found that they were engaged and excited by the sounds and actions.
My first three books are engaging, simple, fun and repetitive about things that they see and do on a regular basis, teamed with fun catchy actions. I have read my books to very young children 0-3 years with lots of smiles and giggles, as well as with slightly older children where English is not their first language. The beauty of my books is that as the concepts are so simple and known to children they can alter and change the story with different actions, great fun for imagination and building strong confident life long learners.
EVERYDAY ENGLISH SERIES
Over the years of teaching English in China and Hong Kong, we saw a need to vary the way young children learned a new language. It’s a well-known fact that the younger a child is the faster they will absorb information, so we started to explore fun and engaging ways to teach/introduce language.
Our theory was since many children in Hong Kong and Southern China are fluent in two or more languages by the age of 2 and 3 years old. We researched this concept and realised that these children didn’t go off to language classes to learn the second or third language, they were engaging with the language on a regular basis and in context. We understand that you speak to your baby and expect them to understand you, and you have no doubt that with constant communication and in context they will one day answer you back in a “perfectly executed” first word. We also understand that children know exactly what you mean before they can formulate the sentences themselves, so with that in mind we designed a series of books called Everyday English, these books start with very simple concepts that we all know such as colours, numbers, food, shapes etc, but the idea behind it is to extend the language in context with your surroundings.
As your child’s awareness grows with the common objects and items, they see around them the book extends into fuller sentences and focus on the what, where, why, how and when aspects of language as well as describing objects using the item, the colour and the size.
For example, in many English classes across the world teachers show an abundance of flashcards and the children are taught the single word, but without the context it means very little. That said, if we use a common item such as a cup, instead of just saying ‘cup’ we would say ‘it’s a cup’ first of all, then once the concept and context are in place we would say it’s a small blue cup etc….