Hi I'm Tash and I'd love to tell you a little bit about my parenting journey and how Little Wooden Toybox came to be what is it today 💖
Little Wooden Toybox was established in 2010 as a wooden toy store at the Handmade Children’s Markets (my first business venture) in Myaree WA. We featured bright and colourful wooden toys including musical instruments, trucks, play sets and puzzles and we were a part of many markets and PBC Baby Expos in Perth.
This is where our love for learning through play started. It was around this time that my first child was diagnosed with Autism. We spent many many hours with OTs and speech therapists in early intervention therapy learning all about fine motor skills, bilateral coordination, handwriting, pincer grip, hand strength, gross motor skills… all through play!
And of course, the wooden toys were perfect for helping develop these skills. We continued to grow and train our team on the importance of play until we had over 80 toy reps Australia wide and were a trusted wooden toy supplier for hundreds of families across Australia.
Letter Basics – our own brand - was also established during this time with a range of colourful personalised handwriting guides to help keep kids engaged and learning through play while developing much needed handwriting skills.
Over the years we have changed and pivoted to adjust to changes on the wooden toy scene, the increase in homeschooling, and the increase in kids being diagnosed with Autism (including my own).
All the while, the kids and I have continued to work with speechies, OTs, physios and psychologists (over 700 hours) to understand autistic behaviours and to implement tools and strategies at home to learn to cope well with all the challenges that Autism presents. More importantly we are always working towards setting my kids up with the life skills, social skills and communication skills that they need to succeed as adults.
All of this knowledge, experience, tears and frustration have been poured into the current Little Wooden Toybox range where we now focus on teaching parents about emotions, emotional regulation, routines and visual schedules, developing fine motor skills through play and comprehension and literacy.
My goal is to help other families on the Autism journey by passing on what I have learnt over the last 10 years. To empower and equip parents like me to firstly understand, and then know what to do, to manage big behaviours and to confidently teach their kids educational, social, communication and life skill concepts.
There is a very real need for parents of kids with Autism/ADHD/PDA to feel heard and to know they are not alone on this parenting journey that so often makes no sense, is filled with endless screaming, little sleep and weird behaviours that we don’t understand… we didn’t get the Autism training manual at birth! (watch this space)
So I hope our resources; Little Wooden Toybox, The Crap and The Crazy and Training Bites, help you to know that you are not alone, that it does get better, and that there are things that you can do to enjoy life despite the challenges.
Our Vision: What we are working towards
- To empower mums and build community
- To equip families on the Autism journey to understand behaviours and what these behaviours communicate
- I believe it is essential to bring back the village that is required to raise well balanced children while supporting families with the challenges that they face in parenting in today's society.
Our Purpose - Our 'why'
- To make a difference
- To bridge the gap between parents, early childhood educators and therapist
- To empower children to become successful life long learners starting with play based learning in early childhood
- To empower parents to raise children that grow into successful and well balanced adults
- To empower families to understand each other and to enjoy life together - even though it may look different for some
Our Mission: How are we going to do it?
- High quality reusable educational resources that promote learning through play
- Education and training with practical tools & strategies to help families navigate parenting, especially with children with additional needs and/or behaviours that challenge
- Education and training to understand that all behaviours are communication - and to understand what is being communicated in order to confidently intervene, help and respond calmly
- Education and training around the importance of fine motor skills and learning through play
- Education and training to enable parents/therapist/educators to confidently teach educational and life skill concepts
Our Values: What we are about
- Acceptance and supporting parents and their children
- Education and learning through play
- Empowering parents to confidently teach their children
- Continue to learn and grow
- Own mistakes and be real - with our kids and each other
- Mind your own business - we all have our own mess to focus on!