ABOUT NOTCH HILL
Why are we here?
We’ve been there. We’ve been those kids struggling to learn every lesson in school. We’ve also been the ones helping those kids in school. Over the years we’ve learned a lot about how kids learn, and come up with an amazing process that really works to help all children. If your child is struggling we want to help. If your child is learning skills for the first time we want to help you set a solid foundation so that your child will never become a struggling child.
We know that you see brilliance in your child, we believe it is there too and we want to help you unlock it.
How did we start?
Joan Thornton, a retired teacher with more than 30 years of front line teaching experience, believed that children learn best when they are having fun and don’t realise that they are learning. She began using board games as a vehicle for teaching kids early literacy and math skills. As the children excelled under her care, she became in demand, with her reputation reaching far and wide.
In 2006 she told her daughter that, while she wanted to remain retired, she was still passionate about helping kids to learn. This was the birth of Notch Hill. Together Joan and Nic have been compiling Joan’s tried and tested games into Learning Systems for parents to play with their kids.
NOTCH HILL EDUCATIONAL PRODUCTS IncTM launched their first Learning System THE NOGSTM OF NOTCH HILL in May 2009. It teaches children to read, sound and write the lower case letters of the alphabet.
A second GamePak covering the uppercase letters was released in 2010. There are 8 more GamePaks planned, taking children to a Grade three level in reading, writing and maths skills.
About the Founders
Nicola wants to give kids who struggle in school, the tools they need to succeed.
Growing up it became apparent early on that she had some learning challenges and that school was going to be a struggle. Luckily she had an amazing Mom who never gave up and continued to find creative, multisensory, fun ways to engage her and allow her to succeed.
After receiving her undergraduate degree from Plymouth University in the UK, Nicola taught ESL in Japan. After moving to Canada she worked in construction management for several years, while volunteering as a literacy tutor in an elementary school on the downtown east side. In 2006 she changed careers to follow her passion for helping struggling children by starting Notch Hill Learning and later trained as an Orton-Gillingham Tutor.
To date she has taught adults, teens and children in 4 continents and at sea. She has worked with people who range from able bodied to extremely mentally and physically challenged and just about every ability in between.Today, Nicola lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, and spends her free time trying to keep up with her boys.
As a child Joan also struggled in school (despite being a math wizz). She began her teaching career as a teacher’s aide at Nicola”s elementary school 30 years ago. She started by taking children for extra reading practice. After a while she began to see patterns in the behaviours of the students who were struggling. She created games that practiced the skills the children were missing and began playing them with the children. The children loved the games, and began to learn fast in her care. Joan is highly creative and loves a challenge – she loves to figure out where children are struggling and work out a program to help them. She has been highly successful over the years and has given hundreds of children the gift of a solid academic foundation.
When her husband’s job took her to Nigeria, Africa, she became the special needs teacher at the local international school. She helped many more children through the use of her ever expanding collection of games in the 10 years she lived there. As her reputation became known, she travelled to other towns in Nigeria to help more children.
Since retiring in British Columbia, Canada, she has discovered a passion for relaxing in hot tubs…and generally being retired. She has been tutoring select students, but has a deep desire to continue to help more children than ever before. Notch Hill Learning, is the genesis of that desire.
We care about the planet
Notch Hill Educational Products is committed to being an environmentally responsible company. All products are created using recycled or recyclable materials where possible.