About Sticks & Stones Education
Hey there! This is me! I'm Gaby and I love this photo of me because I was at a conference with a friend and having a blast AND wearing my lacey cat ears.
I'm the one woman show behind Sticks & Stones Education:
- chooser of inventory and curator of content,
- chief photographer,
- picker-upper of boxes,
- mover and opener of boxes,
- stocker of shelves,
- packer of orders and
- runner of the socials,
- website designer and builder
- author of emails ...
- in short, all the things
I'm an early childhood teacher with over 20 years experience working in early learning services, preschools, outside of school hours services and also primary school! I've also been a director/manager for five years and a curriculum mentor for two. All these roles have shaped who I am as a human and business owner.
I actually started babysitting when I was 12 years old for two little girls in my street - Theresa and Lola. They were both 9 months old and a bit learning curve for me. I then moved onto nannying or au pair work after high school, while I started studying my Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care. I wont be divulging how many years ago that was ...
I'm still working as a teacher doing a mix of casual and temporary contracts with children prior to school and early primary. I love the school where I'm working and the location and hours are perfect for running my small business.
I'm also an accidental cat rescuer, lover of coffee, pickled jalapeños and virgin mojitos in re-purposed pickle jars. I love succulents and cacti and indoor plants and quirky gardens.
Fun Randoms about Me!
- Favourite colours: teal, burnt orange, sage/olive green and black
- Favourite food: Mexican (coriander + jalepenos = happy place), but I also love Chinese, Thai and a smattering of Japanese.
- Favourite drink: coffee (currently a an oat milk late or home-made iced coffee) and virgin mojitos which I can down
- Favourite Architecture: California Craftsman/Mid-Century Modern
- What I wanted to be when I grew up: An archeologist! I absolutely loved ancient history in school ... although I found a booklet I made in first grade and I wrote that I wanted to be a teacher!
- I spent two years as an Educational Leader mentor to a cluster of 25 Educational Leaders. I loved this job and it really taught me to appreciate designing curriculum for young children ... AND of course beautiful teaching resources and toys.
- I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area You can take the girl out of Berkeley, but you can't take Berkeley out of the girl! I'm a cool climate person well and truly/
- I love, and I mean LOVE retro furniture and stoneware, tiger cane, succulents and Mexican decor. My father's family is of Mexican/Native Mexican heritage, and I love learning about our heritage in the Sonoran desert. Actually I love family history and learning about my ancestors. I am here because of them. There are more than a few skeletons in our genealogy closet!
- Favourite season: Autumn with a smattering of Spring. I'm also fond of a cozy Winter.
Where in the World:
We are an Australian based business located in Western Sydney. All my deliveries are sent to Homebush to my parents place as they are retired and then I collect them from there.
My mum is actually quite fond of the delivery people - especially during Covid-19 times as they were the only social distanced guests they would really have. I then get to cart all the boxes back to the storage unit. ! It can be a pain especially when it's raining, but I do it for the love of Sticks & Stones Education.
I ship Australia wide using mainly Australia Post and couriers where applicable.
While we are online based, we also participate in markets, conferences and the occasional expo. Also, because I don't have enough on my retro-stoneware plate, I also host an Educational Toy & Resource Emporium each year in Sydney. It's an awesome event with up to 28 small businesses all selling amazing toys and resources.
Man I love David Rose and Schitt's Creek. I just had to add him in somewhere!
As a practicing Early Childhood Teacher, I simply love the tools of the trade. Over my 20+ years of teaching I have seen the evolution and growth of the educational products on the market. And wow we now have access to such amazing products these days from all over the globe.
I am inspired by my own childhood and love of play. I went to an innovative preschool which was part of our local university. My play as a preschooler observed by university students and a participant in studies from infancy onwards may have actually influenced how we understand children's learning and play today. How cool is that? I think this pondering even deserves it's own blog piece.
I remember many key moments in preschool, from friendships and play to the learning spaces, routine moments and circle times, as well as a deep pondering about rainbows.
Play is critical to our learning, growth and development. Make it memorable and resource children's play with beautiful toys and educational items.
Sticks & Stones Education actually started out as a partnership between myself and a fellow Early Childhood Teacher. We were both in management and leadership and we both missed creating learnings space for children.
Independently we had been thinking about this idea and while we were both at a workshop on the play cycle, our chat lead to a shared dream and a small business. But business is hard! So very very VERY hard. So my small business wife decided she needed to step away from the business after three or so years, and I decided I would keep going forward. I restructured, designed a new website and then kept going!
In 2021 because it seemed like a good idea at the time, I moved the physical business to a business unit 5km from home. My home doesn't have a garage and it was just not viable any longer to have shelves and boxes of resources in my home. I snapped this quick shelfie for the socials while I was still moving shelves over and of course stocking them with goodies.