I thought I would tell you a little bit of history to the Oliiki app.  I became a teacher because the education system and I just didn’t get on! I finally left school with lots of qualifications, but not one of them was on the same certificate as the others, I had taken exams every year, twice a year from 14 – 19 years old! I wanted to make sure that no other child would have to struggle in the same way.  So, I trained to be a teacher.  I knew with a history like that, if I could pass the course, I would be a brilliant teacher! I passed and got a distinction in my final teaching practice!

I have been a primary school teacher (trained to work with children from 3-8 years) since 1993.  In that time, I have worked in a number of schools, in three continents.  (The UK, New Zealand and in Africa (Zambia)), either as a classroom teacher or in e-learning, developing curriculum for hundreds of thousands of children.

I also have worked in research with the top 5% of schools in England and Wales looking for best practice with an ambition to change outcomes for all children by rolling this best practice out across the country.

One thing kept happing during this time, we would create content (some of which was really quite cool, and some of which was in the child’s own language for the first time ever and all of it met the governments' curriculum requirements).  But time and time again, I would see children arrive at school and just be unable to access the content.  Many a night I spent wondering if it was the content and the lesson plans that we had written... but all of those met the governments expected requirements for the children.

Then I saw the graph by Nelson et al 2000 showing the amazing amount of learning that takes place in the first 1000 days and the penny dropped. Since seeing that graph and reading more, I just knew we had to DO something.... what that something was, I didn’t know... I just knew that I couldn’t let yet more children arrive at school and just not be ready to access the content that was waiting there for them.  Because those children who start behind, often stay behind, and their life outcomes are set from the earliest of days. For me, this is JUST not ok!

C.A. Nelson (2000). Credit: Center on the Developing Child

So, I did what I knew how to do! I quit my job building school-based e-learning content and I built an app, the Oliiki app, an app that hopefully shows parents how the play that they do with their bump or baby or toddler helps to outline the learning that can come from everyday play.  I hoped that the app would let parents see the importance of play and doing things with their baby and see how spending time, even a small amount of time would really impact on their baby’s life outcomes. The app also helps parents be confident with what they are doing, they begin to understand what their child is learning from the everyday play they are doing.  The Oliiki app also is a library of over 1000 simple age-appropriate activities for parents to do with their bump, baby or toddler and the activities start from the first day of conception!

Oliiki is at the beginning of its journey.  I wanted to make an impact, to help those children those whose parents want the very best for their children but don’t know what that looks like, the hard to reach children, as well, the ones whose parents feel guilty because they work too long hours and are hardly home when the baby is awake. I wanted to help the parents to build the relationships with their babies that will last their whole lives, using the language that the baby understands, the language of play, connection and warmth. 

If this sounds like something that you might be interested in, or you think it might be of use to someone you know, I would love you to share the Oliiki love and spread the word.  Just imagine a world where every child arrives at school ready to learn and fly, imagine a world where every parent feels confident in their parenting and imagine a world where we talk about the successes of the next generation rather than their failures… the future starts here. 

child-learning-at-school

References

C.A. Nelson (2000). Credit: Center on the Developing Child