We chat to Melissa Savonoff, wife to Nick and mum to Samuel (18), Luke (16), Josiah (14), Daniel (9) and Rachel (6). Melissa has recently released her first app, Ricardo’s Alphabet Game Board.
Tell us about your business/current role?
For the past 12 years, I have been self-employed, working part-time as a paediatric occupational therapist. In this time, I have worked with children from about 6 months old through to year 11/12 with a wide range of disabilities/diagnosis but predominantly, learning difficulties and Autism Spectrum Disorders. I delight to see children joyously overcoming difficulties and enjoying their learning.
Where did the concept for this come from?
Through my experience home-schooling my own children and working with many children who simply do not know their alphabet letters nor initial letter-sound associations, I identified a need for an Australian based app that systematically introduces the 26 letters of the English alphabet, and provides opportunity to practice recognising and remembering letter names and initial letter sounds, without moving on too quickly to long vowel sounds like ‘oa’ in goat, silent ‘e’ words like ‘cake’ and sight words, which can overwhelm or confuse a child still trying to learn the basics of letter names and their beginning sounds.
Tell us more…
So it is very exciting for me to have recently released my first app, Ricardo’s Alphabet Game Board for IOS devices, android coming soon. Children will delight to help Ricardo Reading Mouse jump across river rocks to match a letter sound, help vowel characters catch matching kites and find 26 alphabet letters playing hide and seek.
You will note the games and rewards involve Ricardo or the alphabet letters doing something active – riding a scooter, using a pogo stick, rock hopping, flying a kite, playing hide and seek, doing a handstand etc. which I hope will encourage children to enjoy active play time as well as screen time. I am very aware of Ricardo being a role model for children, in this way.
I have registered Ricardo Reading Mouse as a trademark and have also launched, an online business called Triumphant Shout Children, with a beautiful new range of learning resources – songs, games, workbooks etc. – to inspire and encourage children in their learning. I am now sharing them with children all over the world, via my website www.ricardoreadingmouse.com.au.
What time does a typical day start for you, and who does the cooking and cleaning at your house?
Our home life varies day to day, depending on our work/family commitments and we all have chores that we do and work as a team, but cooking dinner tends to regularly fall into my court and everyone is very excited if I venture into a new recipe and it turns out (they don’t always… as I sometimes I try to tweak them with extra or alternate ingredients!!)
If you have 10 minutes to yourself, what do you do?
When I have 10 minutes to myself, I enjoy taking a walk in a nature strip across the road or grabbing a hot coffee (that hasn’t been reheated in the microwave several times!!) and reading outside in a quiet comfy spot.
What do your children do for extracurricular activities?
My children enjoy many and varied activities, mainly outdoors – skateboarding, scootering, roller blading, bike-riding, swimming and cooking yummy treats. All the boys play musical instruments and my daughter enjoys playing in the cubby and reading with Mum and Dad.
What do you do for fun as a family?
As a family, we enjoy riding bikes and our street surfer or electric skate board(even me!!), using our Annual Gold Coast Theme Park passes, and getting take-away or going out to eat. A popular choice for family birthday dinners is Hogs Breath Cafe or Sizzlers
What is your favourite thing to do for date night with your partner?
My husband and I enjoy our date nights dining at restaurants of varied cuisines, especially those dotted along the Brisbane River.
What is your favourite Gold Coast place?
Our favourite Gold Coast spot would simply be any one of the numerous beautiful golden beaches which we can so freely enjoy for a swim and various beach activities. Kurrawa Surf Club is a lovely spot to enjoy a delicious meal and beautiful view afterwards too.
Where do you head to when you get time for a girls’ night out?
What girl’s night out?? Haha – the last one I went to was the Flash dance musical and a coffee; it is a distant but fond memory!
What is your best beauty tip for mums?
Beauty tip for mamas – I really enjoy drinking lots of filtered water each day and for the last 20 years I have used – just about every day – my favourite skincare product ever – a luxurious aloe in botanical oils that just soaks into my skin.
Favourite place to shop?
I am not a big fan of shopping til u drop – so the ease of shopping online suits me perfectly.
Must-have parenting tip or tool?
A parenting tip: stick with what you say and stick together, don’t let the children split you and your husband over a matter and don’t however much persuasion or emotional blackmail occurs, give in or give up, be consistent, and believe me, they will grow to respect you for it in the end.