FoundHer: Lottie Trump, Cubie
Updated: Nov 30, 2021
Cubie is a learning tool for little ones that is as multi-faceted as its name suggests. For a start, it is not an app (hallelujah!) but a three-dimensional, real-life booklet brimming with age-appropriate maths questions. I hesitate to call it a workbook, because the way my two boys (aged 5 and 6) went at it, it was all about curiosity, fun and achievement. It's learning so cunningly disguised, that my smalls wanted to do it before breakfast on a Saturday.
So what does Cubie look like? Inside the monthly subscription box are 4 small booklets that cater either to Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 children (you specify when you order). There's a pencil and a dice or counters, depending on what's needed. Visually simple yet with splashes of bright colour, it can grab the attention of young minds, but not overwhelm them. Meaning: following a little instruction from Mummy, I can walk away and leave them to it. And - here's the best bit - they were keen as mustard to complete the tasks (and add stickers to a Cubie reward poster to celebrate).
The pages are colour-coded so that they only need do 10-15 minutes of maths per day - a little and often approach throughout the month. My two charged through more than that at each sitting, even when it was challenging their grey matter and they might normally have abandoned the idea. It made me think how perfect it would be for a train or an aeroplane, and how happy I'd feel about their eyes off the iPad when we travel.
This is old school, but it's been cleverly reimagined and likely to appeal to attention-poor kids. Designed by a team of teachers, Lottie Trump is at the helm of Cubie. I spoke to her about the brainwave of her Cubie concept and how it's beginning to ripple amid pools of parents.
What inspired you to start Cubie?
After leaving a full time teaching post in July 2019 (and having taught for 10 years), I started my own private tutoring business. Throughout the pandemic, I supported parents and children at home with their online learning. Parents would often ask for extra work in between sessions particularly in terms of Maths. With very little (if anything) available that wasn’t an online resource, I decided to create my own: Cubie was born. I wanted the whole programme to be accessible, fun, and engaging whilst ensuring that the National Curriculum was covered. Most importantly, I wanted a way for children to become more confident and independent learners.
What is Cubie's USP?
A key aspect of Cubie is that it provides 10-15 minutes of Maths each day. This little and often approach is something I am particularly passionate about as it really does make a difference. Translating the benefits of this idea across to parents is one of the challenges we face, as there tends to be an emphasis on reading each day, but very little on doing Maths. Supported by my husband (also a teacher), and along with a team of freelancers, designers, teachers and experts in education, we have worked hard over the past year to create, develop and launch Cubie.
How it was starting a business during the pandemic?
We started the business in the middle of the pandemic (December 2020) and launched in September 2021. We are very fortunate that the majority of the designing and developing could be done virtually, allowing us to pull together the Cubie team and coordinate online meetings and keep in touch this way. Throughout 2021 we sent out many samples to parents to gain feedback and to further develop, refine and adjust the books accordingly, ahead of our launch to coincide with the start of the new school year. Parents told us they loved the way the Cubie booklets promoted independent learning, and that their children wanted to do the exercises when they got home from school!
What have been the challenges, and surprises, of launching Cubie?
Perhaps the most challenging aspect so far has been getting the word out about Cubie. Another challenge was the delivery of our very first pallet of boxes going missing! Luckily, the pallet was quickly located (15 miles away on someone’s driveway) and redelivered to our office the next day. We have been surprised and delighted by the positive feedback from parents, teachers and other tutors about the Cubie brand, the quality of the resources and the overall comprehensiveness of the three levels currently on offer.
Which tools can’t you live without?
Apart from the Cubie team - our passionate and knowledgeable teachers, designers and web developers - we couldn’t be without G Suite from Google. We run the entire business from there. It has all the tools we need as a team and as we all work remotely it allows us to access everything we need to work collaboratively. We also use Quickbooks for our finances, and Mailchimp to spread the word.
www.cubie-education.com £35 per month, or £32.91 per month on the annual subsciption.