Teach, Play, Learn is a new shop where can you buy books, games and toys chosen for their clear educational value.
Run by former primary school teacher Larissa Hughes and her husband Carl, who live in North Swindon, the shop at Studley Grange Craft Centre offers parents, carers and also teachers a range of brightly presented resources to stimulate a child’s curiosity to learn and develop.
However the shop is by no means a new venture. Larissa and Carl have been trading online as Primary Classroom Resources for almost ten years, and ran a shop at Basepoint Business Centre in West Swindon for about 18 months. Larissa said: “From my teaching experience I realised a long time ago that there was a need for a website where teachers and parents could find interesting, innovative and proven material to extend children at different stages in their learning.
“When we started, with just the two of us, trying to grow the business online and respond to customers in a shop became overwhelming. We’ve always wanted to run a shop for people in the Swindon area and now that the online operation is well established, we’ve taken the leap at Studley Grange which is ideal as it attracts a large number of parents and grandparents as well as carers to the child-friendly craft units, as well as the butterfly centre and small animal farm.
“We’ve called the shop Teach, Play, Learn for a more informal feel as we thought Primary Classroom Resources could put some people off. We get a lot of pleasure of talking to parents, particularly if a child needs extra help with reading, writing and tables. We’re also looking at introducing more materials to help children with special educational needs.
“Parents have given us great feedback since we opened in early March. They’re really pleased that they can see learning resources and talk to experts about what might suit their child, and not have to trail around a toy shop looking for educational material.
“We do sell toys for pre-school children, but they have a clear learning purpose. We also welcome teachers who can see what we offer, including our range of ‘classroom decor’ which we import from the USA. We’re the UK distributor for Creative Teaching Press which produces display materials to help teachers make their classroom interesting. It’s a great time saver for showing off children’s work.”
North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson officially open the shop on 9 April. He said: “It’s fantastic to visit a business which saw the opportunity to thrive online nearly ten years ago and have now seen the benefit of moving into retail. It’s great that Larissa and Carl now employ 9 people in their warehouse and at the shop and I’m really impressed that Primary Classroom Resources sends educational material to teachers in Australia, the Middle East and China.”
Larissa and Carl are now looking for a larger warehouse to cope with the range of stock they now have. She said: “We’ve seen a rise in the number of parents
Teach, Play, Learn is open daily from 10am to 4pm and closed on Mondays.
Find out more at: www.primaryclassroomresources.co.uk
Pictured by Richard Wintle of Calyx, top, Justin with Larissa and Carl in Crackerjack mode (Does anybody remember this 1960s TV children’s programme). Below, Justin cutting the ribbon to launch the shop with help from four year old Floyd Saunders