Our family, many of whom are pictured above, always supported an inquisitive mind. We spent many hours working on school work, playing cards, and debating world issues. These activities and the energy of our family around us, provided the foundation for Beyond the Blackboard. On any given day, if you stop by the store, you may very well meet one of us.
We, Jean and Jacqueline, blended together our passion for education with our entrepreneurial spirits, to create a one-of-a-kind educational store. Our goal is to help nurture the confidence of children both in and out of the classroom, while creating life-long learners who exercise their inquisitive minds to have fun and be creative. Our merchandise enables parents and teachers to explore the world one subject at a time with the kids in their lives.
As moms ourselves, we understand parents today are juggling a million different things and are short on time. We understand you want to savor every moment with your children, and also enhance each developmental stage with the right kind of play. Every parent want to ensure the development of curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking - not to mention all the interpersonal skills to tackle the world!
The American Academy of Pediatrics has created a “prescription for play” and we are here with just the right toys for every developmental stage. We pride ourselves on selling unique products that are designed to engage children and parents alike with hours of screen-free time. Our selections are hand chosen best sellers that will stand the test of time. Our retail manager, Carah, is a “Certified Play Expert” and she leads the staff, who are always ready to find the perfect toy or gift for every customer.
My life philosophy is: Be nice. My kids (3 grown daughters) will tell you we never really had rules while they were growing up. I believe if you are nice, everything else will work out. Clean your room? Your mom would think that is nice. Share your snack? That’s nice. Don’t overcommit. That’s nice, too!
My favorite book, game, or toy to share is: I have a few favorites. I love the lavender plush. You can warm it up in the microwave or cool it down in the freezer. It is nice and heavy and really brings comfort to the recipient. I also LOVE the chime hearts. They are my best kept secret - each chime heart makes a very small sound. I say the sound is there to remind you, “You are loved.” I have placed these in children’s backpacks, mother’s purses, and little boy’s pockets. They always bring a smile to their face.
3 things I can’t live without: I think I can live without most things. There are people I sure don’t want to live without but I can’t control that. Hmmm … I will have to think about this one.
Currently reading: I am currently reading every blog post I can find about websites. When we made the decision to share our toy store nationwide through a website, I knew I would have a HUGE learning curve. Blogs have been my go-to! This weekend I am heading out of town for a business trip; I will pick up an airport read before I go. I’m not sure what the book will be … something romantic with a happy ending!
One activity I would love to try but haven’t yet is: One of my big dreams was to hike the 26-mile Inca Trail. Three years ago, my husband and I did it! If it’s on your bucket list, make a plan and do it! The people, the food, the grit, the beauty, the spirituality. It was amazing.
So, I haven’t answered your question. Baby snuggling at a local hospital! I always think this sounds amazing, I just have not taken steps to make it happen.
My favorite quotation is: “I love you!”
My life philosophy is: My favorite movie is Under the Tuscan Sun. It is a story about having dreams and working really hard, taking risks and loving with all your heart. In the movie, her dreams all came true – but they all look different that she had imagined them in her mind many years earlier. That sums up my life too I think. People say I am intense – but I see it as living with intent. Moving through life with enough intention to guide your journey, and at the same time take risks and above all love the people along the way. Life is full of surprises. It is important to love the day to day as well as dream big!
My favorite book, game, or toy to share is: My go-to favorite game in our store is Quiddler. This card game is based on the rules of rummy, but it is a beautiful special deck with letters instead of numbers. This game is great for children beginning in first grade, when students are able to build 3+ letter words. The games can progress to harder and harder play, making it a favorite for all ages. Quiddler combines math and phonics/spelling so it’s a sophisticated way to support these skills in school aged students. The kids will “never know they are learning”!
3 things I can’t live without: I am kind of a minimalist so I could live without a lot of things. I do love great food. My husband and I have been in a dinner club with dear friends for over 30 years. Cooking and nurturing each other is important. With family so far away I would not want to live without my phone! I even Facetime with my grandson who lives across town! I cherish those moments.
Currently reading: My reading pleasure has been spent on all kinds of reading on the topic of encouraging parents who want the best for their kids and how to support teachers! (Watch for many future blog posts!)
One activity I would love to try but haven’t yet is: Travel is always on the top of my bucket list. I have a son-in-law from Chile and a son and daughter-in-law living in China. I love exploring and experiencing the different cultures of the world. It is amazing how similar people everywhere are, and at the same time how interestingly unique they can be.
My favorite quotation is: I am always thinking, “What if...”. What if parents knew exactly how to help their children and could work more closely with teachers? Parents want the best for their children and the teachers need support. I assembled all the things I have learned working with teachers and parents in the store (so far!), and it will be published in 2020 with FranklinCovey.