It was Tribly Dsouza and her husband’s desire to nurture their daughters’ minds differently that led them to discover the Montessori method. Using the guiding principles of Montessori has helped them become calmer, gentler parents, and better able to nurture and support their daughters’ unique individuality. They set out with a vision to make Montessori learning easy, accessible, and most importantly affordable to every child of pre-school age. With Nino Mondo Play & Learn Montessori Toy bundles, they support parents by taking the guesswork out of choosing their children’s toys. Every bundle is curated carefully by Montessori educators, and for the safety of your child and the sustainability of the planet, their products are made from safe, non-toxic, natural/recyclable materials. Here Tribly talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about the passion behind their business, how they balance work and family life, and her hopes and dreams for the future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
I really like the ‘One Thing Question’ by Gary Keller from his book ‘The One Thing’, which asks “What is the one thing that you can do so that everything else will be easy or unnecessary?”. And when it comes to parenting and educating my daughters, Montessori is that ‘One Thing’ for me. With the guiding principles of Montessori, I am able to be a calmer and gentle parent and support and nurture both my daughters’ unique individuality and not try to fit them into a mould. I am a bookworm. You will always find a book in my hand. Ever since I got pregnant, I was constantly reading about childbirth and parenting – that’s how I learnt about Montessori. Reading everything that is out there on Montessori and practising it first-hand with my daughters, I can vouch that it is truly transformational. I am surprised that not many people know about it. It feels like a conspiracy to me sometimes that only the elite have access to it and that it is intentionally not made available to the masses. I wonder how our society would be if every child had an opportunity to be their unique self and not be boxed in stereotypes. Coming from a humble background, I know the importance of getting the fundamentals and foundation right and I truly believe that education is a great equaliser. So, this is my humble attempt to support and educate fellow busy parents so that they too can practise the philosophy at home despite their busy lives, with the help of toys, allowing them to get the fundamentals right and nurture their child’s unique individuality to set them up for success in whatever they do in life.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
I started Nino Mondo with a vision to make Montessori learning easy, accessible, and affordable to every child. So when Covid struck and I lost my job, I decided to give this a go. I know first hand that Montessori schools are far and few and Montessori toys have always been expensive. I almost gave up on the idea when the costs to curate the Play & Learn bundles with authentic Montessori materials turned out to be extremely high, but I stayed put. Today we are Australia’s first Montessori Play & Learn bundles for ages 0-2 with comprehensive coverage of the authentic learning materials that a child needs from birth to the early years of life. I believe we are making it easy for busy parents who have a lot on their plate and even though know they should do something for their child’s brain development, just don’t know how. With Nino Mondo Play & Learn bundles, a parent only needs to provide the material to their child, maybe show it once, and let the child figure out how to play with it through experimentation and hence stimulate independent thinking in their child.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
I have observed that most commercial toys demand too much parent involvement, are overstimulating and are made with toxic plastics and low-quality materials. Some are just one-time activities. We bundle the 5-7 Montessori toys that meet a child’s developmental milestones and provide a gentle challenge for growth. Our toys are also structured in sequence, from easiest to hardest and within the context of the toys in every bundle, we offer them for the skills a child can develop at a given stage. We also offer practical life activities in a sequence in our bundles. Our customers appreciate this uniqueness of our toy bundles and that’s why we have a lot of conscious parents buying practically every bundle from us. A clear sequence provides children with a logical pathway to learning that promotes the gradual layering of knowledge to establish foundational learning. Children have the best learning experience when the toys are introduced in this way.
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
I wake up at 5.00 am every weekday and work on Nino Mondo. It is hard work but once I am at my table working, I go into my flow state almost instantly. I have help from my Montessori daughters who are very involved in the business. When I started, they were 2 and 5. They are 5 and 8 now and help me with sorting, packing, labelling, and even brainstorming ideas. My husband is also very actively involved in the backend of the business. So, lines do get blurred between work and family but we do have a great time bonding when we are working on the business – I see it as a learning opportunity for myself and my daughters.