If you believe that there’s no more room for news in the educational field, if when you think about innovation you only consider Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence and if you divide the child’s emotions into extreme happiness and hysterical crying, well after this article you’ll need to change your mind. In our relentless hunt for stimulating projects, we came across QUID+, a young Italian editorial company that represents an important innovation for the education of children and parents.
Although for now, due to the restrictions imposed by Covid19, only through the screen, we were lucky enough to have met Barbara Franco, the mother of the project, who answered some of our questions; but let’s go in order, telling you what this proposal consists of and what we think are the most interesting aspects. The QUID+ catalog is composed of fifteen products, books and game boxes for an age group between 0 and 7 years. Leafing through the titles you will immediately realize that alongside a ‘classic’ educational proposal (as we are used to understanding it) on topics such as mathematics or geography, there is a strong presence of titles concerning emotions.
The innovative aspect of the project is based on this idea, on the development of lateral skills, of that emotional intelligence that is important to develop in the child from the first years of life. It is therefore not surprising that the QUID+ team boasts numerous educational experts and that it draws inspiration for the development of the product line from the most advanced pedagogical, psychological and pediatric theories. The plurality of voices is a great resource, especially when these are personalities who have made the history of education; QUID+ understood this and was able to take the best of each one, translating each teaching into play. So, on each packaging we find the name of the person who inspired it, as if to celebrate the research done by these experts…after all it is also a great way to create credibility and trust in the parent who will make a purchase choice!
Speaking of parents, for QUID+ they are almost as important as children because, as happens in nature, they support and go with their puppy on the road to independence, as evidenced by the company’s logo, an elephant that accompanies its baby. But parents also need to be guided in their role; therefore, the editorial line aims to provide them with a greater awareness of the child’s learning abilities through play and fun. If you consider that the cognitive, intellectual, behavioral and emotional qualities of each individual born in very early childhood, you understand how important is the training of the parent, who has a great responsibility in his hands.
These guidelines are found in each of the proposals in the catalog, divided into 7 areas of competence with specific learning objectives, treated in detail and with surprising aspects, such as ‘Listen how it sound’, where the packaging turns into a fun box of sounds. But the titles that “resonate” the most are those related to emotional intelligence, in a path that goes from recognition, to the tale up to the management of emotions. ‘The superpower of Mindfulness, cultivating calm and attention to deal with anger, anxiety and hyperactivity’ is the latest book coming, for children from 3 to 6 years old, it wants to teach children the awareness and acceptance of their own emotions, in a path of personal growth that we believe should be at the center of the educational path not only for the youngest, as we told you about our Awareness Toys project. But now let’s stop telling and pass the word on to Barbara Franco.
TOY Design: Different professionalisms come into play when developing a QUID+ product, from clinical psychologist to expert in music or memory techniques. We at TOY design think that bringing together the skills around a table is fundamental to design quality educational games and we like to emphasize, when present, the holistic aspect of the companies or products we tell.
Can you describe how the QUID+ product development process works, how and when you involve experts? What role does the designer play in this process, is he a performer who arrives in a final phase or do you also involve him in the planning phase?
Barbara Franco: I personally develop the initial concept of the product, usually starting from a specific need that I feel like a mother or that comes directly from the parents who follow me. Products always arise from a question, from a need, from more or less stated problems to which I try to give an answer, to find a solution. The second step, therefore, is to create the content design, design the content that we want to convey to the parent and for this I always look for the right consultant who can help me for the part of parent training, which is the one I invest most in terms of time. Designing this content is the most delicate part, it is the heart of the whole project, because the mission of QUID+ is to take the most advanced scientific theories, which usually remain in the academic or professional sphere, to simplify and make them understandable and practical, so as to be relevant in the family in everyday life.
This is why we have given ourselves guidelines, specific style guides both for the textual creation and for the visual form they must have, in order to break down as much as possible the barriers to accessing the content. Just as the architect does when designing a building trying to break down all architectural barriers to facilitate everyone’s access.
The moment I begin to master the scientific vision and the methodology, be it psychological, pedagogical or pediatric, the creative part linked to the educational game for children begins, we could define the product design, given that all QUID+ products are presented as products for children.
Professionally I am a creative born in the publishing world, I could almost call myself an editorial designer, so creating editorial products is my job and then at the right moment of development I involve different types of other professionals: graphic designers, illustrators, copywriters, papers engineering, etc…With everyone I have an open relationship, of listening and continuous exchange, but obviously the final decision on every detail is in my hands…which takes into account many constraints, first of all those related to the economic accounts, determined in close collaboration with the technical department of the publisher.
TD: In your products the parent is taken into account as much as the child. This line of thought is very interesting to deepen, above all because it allows to offer an educational product for both children, mothers and fathers who want to improve themselves as a family.
In this regard, I was struck by the phrase ‘When a child is born, two parents born too’, which introduces the QUID+ LIVE initiative on your website. Can you tell us how it was born and what it is? What are the most interesting feedback from the parents, in short, what do you bring home from this experience?
BF: I start from a very deep conviction: the parent is the first teacher of the child, the parent is the mediator between the child and the world. So in reality, QUID+ products, despite appearances, are growth paths for parents together with their children.
I say despite appearances, because QUID+ products have the appearance of books or educational games for children, but inside there is always a fundamental tool, that extra something, which is the micro-essay for parents. A text that serves to provide basic knowledge for parents of the most advanced pedagogical, psychological and pediatric techniques, scientifically proven, but applicable in everyday life at home.
So here is the mission I set myself with QUID+: to enter homes, families, to disseminate that much scientific knowledge that is linked to the world of childhood, but which often remains relegated to academia or profession and does not reach ours homes.
QUID+ Live intends to be the natural continuation of the path, in which parents can meet our experts directly, to learn more about the founding themes of parent training. We have created many workshops in various bookstores in Italy and the feedback has always been interesting, so much so as to push us to organize the first weekend for families, which unfortunately Covid19 has abruptly stopped. Now we are waiting to understand how the situation evolves to decide how to continue on this path.
TD: The QUID+ product line is very careful to create and preserve the ‘Quality time‘ between parents and children. In this delicate period for everyone, many families inevitably find themselves spending more time together, reconfiguring spaces, days and habits, often with some difficulty.
What suggestions do you feel to give families to face and overcome this moment? How can we make sure that the time together is actually of quality?
BF: I know that I may seem repetitive, but the focus of Quality Time is the parents again and the path of the conscious parent is the only way to the real Quality time.
What do I mean? ThatI can cook with my daughter with all the possible love, and this is already quality time in itself, in the sense that I spend exclusive time with her, but if I am aware that in that simple activity I can develop manual skills, I can increase her sensitivity to quantity and therefore her future predisposition for mathematics, I can feed her ability to concentrate and her satisfaction to complete a task, she understands that I will act differently by dedicating time and attention to micro aspects of activity of cooking together, on which otherwise I would not have dwelled.
So my invitation to parents is to start a path of growth of awareness, not only made of learning by doing, which is obviously important, but it is not enough. And QUID+ can be an easy tool that allows you to take the first steps in this direction. And I emphasize, the first steps, the purpose of QUID+ is not to exhaust a topic, but to give good foundations, to sow a seed, then it will be up to the parent, if he wants to continue on his autonomous path of growth, to deepen the various themes.