Lockdown entrepreneur neighbours shake up the home-learning scene
Neighbours, Jess & Bethia, used the struggles of lockdown to re-imagine their professional future incorporating their values and ethos into an alternative approach to home-learning. ‘GROW Together!’ provides activity boxes that connect kids to nature, promotes mental and physical wellbeing, gives free rein to imagination and builds community during times with Covid-19 and beyond.
Jess and Bethia are neighbours in rural mid-Devon and partners in the start-up business, ‘GROW Together!’. Having worked on community events to connect families to the land, as well as hosting an outdoor parenting lunch group, they recognised that there was a big overlap in their passions, as well as having a whole host of things in common (including having boys born a day apart and each with a son called Rowan!). They have spent loads of time chatting in a field and have covered some serious ground! They have discussed sustainability and green-living; the importance of building connections and community in a world that is becoming more isolated. They have tackled challenges such as encouraging potential and nurturing imagination in children. They are interested in issues both local and global – from climate change to the farm shop down the road and of course, how they parent. Simultaneously, they struck a ‘EUREKA’ moment!
As wavelengths collided, magic started to happen and they hatched a plan to design a workshop helping children to understand more about the land and where their food comes from. They busied themselves with designing course plans and logos. Then as soon as their idea had landed and become more than just a seed, lockdown was enforced. Their bright sparks were dampened by the global pandemic. Quickly overcoming the initial panic, adaptable and full of ideas, they changed direction and GROWbox began!
The GROWbox focuses on the four themes of GROW (nature & sustainability), BE WELL (mental & physical wellbeing), IMAGINE (creativity) and CONNECT (building community). The GROWbox contains instruction booklets suitable for children from 3-8yrs and fun, sustainable resources to compliment the activity. In addition, there are original stories as well as beautiful short videos to illustrate each theme, all beautifully presented in eco-friendly packaging. The GIFTbox is also available for those special occasions, a celebration of the GROWbox themes and ethos.
Jess says: “We believe in raising children that proactively protect the natural world, look after others and are grounded and strong. We hope to inspire children and their families to enjoy the benefits that come from mindfulness, a sense of our place in our various habitats, whoever we are and whatever our background, geography or circumstances.”
GROWbox is a product that has been born from friendship. It’s a project that Bethia and Jess feel strongly about. They really believe in savouring childhoods, in raising mindful adults who are in touch with the natural environment and with personal growth. By giving children space, allowing free rein to imagination and in fighting against the cultural shift towards loneliness, the challenges of an increasing trend in mental health issues can be surmounted. They have confidence that children who grow up to be kind to all they come across could provide simple solutions to much of the hurt ingrained in our society.
Bethia says: “We are excited about growing – in all its forms. The process, rather than the outcome is where so much quality and richness can be found. Growth is dynamic, exciting, non-competitive and accessible to everyone – it doesn’t matter where you live, how old you are or your background. It applies to all living things and benefits us all.”
The GROWbox supports children and their families in alternative learning and is the perfect accessory for the proactive and eco-conscious home-educator, parent/carer, friend or relative. We aim to be as eco-conscious and environmentally responsible as possible and are mindful of this when constructing each month’s box.
‘GROW Together!’ is an educational resources and subscription box company to provide fun, personalised learning resources enabling engagement between parents/carers and their children. The activities focus on getting in touch with nature and encouraging a desire to protect it, promoting better mental and physical wellbeing, allowing space for creativity and connectivity. Find out more on our website, www.farleigh.org.uk/growbox, Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/GROWboxDevon/ and on our Instagram Feed https://www.instagram.com/we.are.growbox/.