I am a retired child minder from Maidenhead in Berkshire. I retired in September 2017.
I love to sew and as a child minder, I often made relevant resources for my minded children out of felt.
When the Early Years Foundation Framework became mandatory in March 2012 I wanted to make a toy suitable to cover all of its area of learning:
PSED, Physical Development and Communication and Language.
I had already made some little felt stars for a story sack for acting out the nursery rhyme Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
I had the idea to stitch expressions on the stars depicting different moods and emotions (PSED) they could be held and played with (Physical Development) and make props for story sacks (Communication and Language)
I made these available to other child minders who then used them in their settings.
It was during my last inspection in 2015 that my Ofsted inspector urged me to develop the stars further as he saw a market for the stars not only for mainstream children but for children on the autism spectrum.
Once I retired, I had the time to develop the stars further by inventing a board onto which they could pop on and off.
The Stars became My Mood Stars and the board – My Mood Stars board.
The wonderful thing that has come out of developing My Mood Stars is learning about children on the autism spectrum and children with mental health issues. Children’s mental health is a growing concern as more and more children are diagnosed with ADHD, depression and anxiety.
It is through reading and connecting with people who have first-hand experience with these issues that I have been able to offer My Mood Stars as a resource as well as a toy.
Advertising My Mood Stars across different platforms has given me a lot of positive feedback. My Mood Stars are gaining a lot of attention from viewers on social media from The National Autistic Society to head teachers of primary schools.
I have been approached by several on line stores who wish to advertise My Mood Stars. My Mood Stars have appeared the family magazine Mummy & Me and will be featuring in PACEY the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years and Autism Parenting Magazine next month. So it’s all very exciting!