A world where kindness shapes the future: meet aKINDemy

A world where kindness shapes the future: meet aKINDemy

By Aya

For Moms|Indoor|Lifestyle|Little Kid|Outdoor|Parenting|Play|Small Business|Teens|Toddler

Picture this: a world where kindness shapes the future.

Meet Agne Skutelis, the heart and soul behind aKINDemy. She’s on a mission to make reading a joyful journey for families—a journey filled with kindness, diversity, and big ideas.

At aKINDemy, each month brings new themes that open doors to important conversations about our world. They’re here to help parents spark curiosity and understanding in their kids through carefully chosen books and fun resources.

Let’s dive into Agne’s story and the passion driving aKINDemy. Join us as we explore how this amazing idea is spreading kindness one story at a time.

1. What inspired the creation of aKINDemy? Could you share the story behind the concept and its inception?
When my first daughter Luna was born, and we began collecting books to read together, I couldn’t help but notice the lack of diversity and representation in children’s literature. The majority of books available online and in our local bookstores largely featured animals, objects (mainly male gender), white and able-bodied population. It felt like a crucial piece was missing. I firmly believe that all children deserve to experience books that not only mirror their own realities but also expose them to a world beyond their own.

We understand how incredibly inquisitive and curious our little ones can be, often posing questions that leave us parents searching for answers. This is where books become our trusted allies, providing a valuable resource to help us navigate these moments. And that is why I started aKINDemy – to curate and bring truly good children’s books to the region, to assist parents in answering questions and enjoy important conversations in an age-appropriate manner with their children.

2. How do you select the themes for each month, and what factors influence those choices?
The selection of themes varies on various factors, but we try to line our calendar with important United Nations days and also world events. In the formative years of a child’s life, caregivers can truly help shape their minds and hence the other crucial factor in selecting the theme is how relevant it is to the region. How lucky are we to raise our children in this incredibly privileged environment? But are we preparing them for the realities of the world? I think every parent raising their children in the UAE would have wondered this at some point! Hence we pick topics which can open windows to important conversations between a child and parent. For example, last year during the festive season we focused on ‘Giving vs Receiving’ and included books that inspire children to do good and highlight the importance of sharing with people who may not be as fortunate, understand how other people live, and learn about topics unfamiliar to them.

3. What motivated you to focus on societal and environmental topics for children’s literature?
As we know, traditional education can often be rigid or static, but in today’s world, our kids need a much broader set of values to thrive as global citizens. Preparing our children for this challenge is no small feat, that’s where aKINDemy steps in. We carefully curate meaningful books, with a different theme each month, to instil in our children the values of empathy, compassion, and morality. We want little ones to not only excel academically but also care about others, the environment, and themselves. But why is reading diverse books focused on societal and environmental topics so valuable? Well, books possess the remarkable ability to transport children to far-off places, introduce them to unique families, homes, and identities. These books open up discussions about cultural roots, ancestry, and traditions, answering questions about why some people dress a certain way or eat particular foods in a beautiful manner. At aKINDemy, we’re on a mission to broaden children’s horizons, one wonderful book at a time.

4. Could you describe the process of curating the well-researched books and resources offered each month?
We take this role very seriously! Finding the correct books for each age-group takes hours and hours of research. We look for award-winning and lesser-known titles from around the world, offering opportunities to engage mums, dads, guardians and children in meaningful conversations to develop a sense of morality and help children grasp a broader understanding of who they are while cultivating KINDness. Our search criteria ensures that we select titles that not only feature animals or objects as main characters, but represent different people, we ensure that our curated books have a good representation of gender and most importantly, we ensure that our recommended books provide an opportunity for a good conversation with a child.

5. In what ways do you ensure that the books and resources promote diversity, inclusivity, and age-appropriate understanding for children?
At aKINDemy, we’re dedicated to ensuring that the books and resources we offer are both meaningful and age-appropriate. We meticulously curate a diverse selection of books, considering the moral lesson that can be learnt while also making sure children will discover stories that resonate with them. We love to feature books created by diverse authors and illustrators! It brings a richness of perspectives to our collection and encourages kids to embrace different voices and viewpoints.

6. How do you envision aKINDemy making an impact on the way parents engage in conversations about important topics with their children?
Today, our kids are exposed to a multitude of external influences, from peers to the internet, shaping their perceptions and beliefs. As parents, it’s our responsibility to guide them through this complex landscape. However, finding the time to address various topics in an age-appropriate and child-friendly way can be a real struggle. This is where books become invaluable tools. Even when parents have little time, a good book can open doors to meaningful conversations. That brief moment spent with a quality book that sparks a conversation is truly time well spent. It’s an opportunity to shape our children’s understanding of the world and help them navigate the external influences they encounter.

7. What challenges did you face while starting aKINDemy, and how did you overcome them?
One of the initial hurdles I encountered while starting aKINDemy was the development of an efficient online tech platform. Given aKINDemy’s primary objective of simplifying the process for parents to access age-appropriate books for their children, it was paramount to ensure a seamless user experience. As a tech-enabled pioneer membership solution, aKINDemy’s online platform has been built from the ground up, developing a proprietary codebase to ensure its integrity and alignment with our mission. That was a huge learning experience for everyone involved.

8. Could you share a significant success story or memorable moment that highlights the positive impact of aKINDemy on families?
I will let our community answer this for you by sharing a few reviews from parents themselves. “We absolutely love aKINDemy! The monthly themes are so relevant to our current environment. As a family we do the activities, go through the discussions, and read the books together. We always look forward to receiving the box!” – Rensche “aKINDemy has given us a great way to incorporate meaning and purposeful messages into home reading and story time. aKINDemy really showcases a great selection of the books which are great, and I am not sure we would have known about if it wasn’t for them.” – Lamisse Our community’s feedback speaks volumes about the impact of aKINDemy. We’re thrilled to be making a difference in the lives of families by introducing littles ones to different topics to build a kinder community.

9. What future plans or expansions do you foresee for aKINDemy?
Are there any new features or initiatives in the pipeline? Yes, exciting updates are on the horizon and we will be able to share more on that next year. Currently, we want to double down on our strength of providing amazing resources to our community and reach as many families as possible.

10. How do you measure the effectiveness or success of aKINDemy in terms of achieving its goals for parents and children?
Our goal is to use books to help raise children with good values and principles that draw the best out of their minds and souls. For parents and children to be able to spend more quality time reading, building memories and creating a safe space where no topic or discussion is off limits. Our members’ feedback is the most significant and truest validation of our concept. We’re overjoyed to witness so many families benefiting from it.


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