When Montessori graduate Lorraine Duane enrolled on a Montessori course with Portobello Institute back in 2010 little did she know that it would lead to her having her own business “Wash & Learn”.  Having worked in the Travel sector for 13 years Lorraine decided it was time for a career change.  She had always wanted to work in the pre-school sector and training in Montessori Teaching was her first step in what was soon to be a huge turning point in her career.

As part of the Montessori Curriculum learns must work on a number of projects and ideas to aide children in developing their skills and senses.  During her Practical Life module Lorraine came up the ingenious idea of Wash & Learn, a simple yet effect wash bag for young children.  When presented to her tutors and peers her tutor thought it was a fantastic concept for pre-school children and encouraged Lorraine to explore the possibilities of further developing this product into a brand.  Empowered and excited by the feedback Lorraine set about starting up her own company and Duane Learning was born.

The idea for the Wash & Learn came about when Lorraine was packing an overnight bag for her own child and needed to pack toiletries for the sleep over.  Drawing on her findings from her Montessori studies on early childhood development she came up with the idea of the Wash & Learn toiletry bag where a young child can pack their own tooth brush, face cloth and soap in the bag.  Within the bag here are 3 compartments with various fastenings - velcro, zip and button, all these elements are part of the Practical Life module where in an early years setting children are shown how to open and close these with ease, encouraging independence and developing motor skills, a philosophy of Maria Montessori, the founder of the infamous and much loved Montessori Method.

Since its launch Wash & Learn is going from strength to strength.  Lorraine has appeared on TV3 and LMFM radio and most recently won the Network Kildare Business Woman of the Year 2014 – New Business.  Now that the product is in production Lorraine is concentrating on bringing the Wash & Learn concept to Montessori and crèches nationwide.  The children at Headford Montessori, Navan are already using the product in line with their Healthy Ireland Smart Start Programme which sees the Montessori leaders in the school encouraging healthy eating and positive thinking.  The children recently took part in Oral Health Week which saw them bringing their Wash & Learn bags to school each day.

“I am excited about the future and growth of my company Duane Learning and the Wash & Learn product is only just the start.  Training at Portobello Institute gave me foundation and understanding of the early years needs in terms of early childhood development and skills learned at this stage which is what I based the Wash & Learn product on. I have many exciting things planed to aide early years development both at home and in pre-school settings” says Lorraine.

If you have young children or friends with children please support this fantastic Irish product.  Now available to buy online.  To find out more please visit www.duanelearning.com