Keen to reach others in the same boat, she began sharing simple play ideas on social media to help fellow parents and carers entertain their little ones during her maternity leave.
“I wanted to use my expertise as a teacher to help other parents but it was also something to do for me too because I wanted to use my brain and my own creativity,” says the 30-year-old.
Ruth, who lives in Wolverhampton, soon attracted a loyal following on social media and she began hosting live streaming session offering activity suggestions and answering questions.
Her plan had been to return to her deputy headteacher position part-time when her maternity leave ended but she was left disappointed when her request for flexible working was turned down.
“I absolutely loved my job. I absolutely loved working with the children and the school. But I knew I couldn’t go back to doing what I was doing before because the role had to be full-time. I knew I needed the flexibility of working part-time and the work-life balance.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do but then I thought everything happens for a reason. I saw a gap in the market for play ideas and decided I would try to grow it into a business.
“This way I would still be using passion for education and playing to help parents and children,” explains Ruth, who works as an educational and inclusion consultant.
She spent a year developing Learning Through Play Cards which provide activity and play ideas for parents and professionals to do with their children, from newborns up to the age of seven.
Each suggestion can be adapted for a wide range of abilities, with options to make it easier or more challenging so it can be tailored to the individual child.
Ruth says they are the first card on the market to provide this level of inclusion and differentiation to help all parents and their children learn and play at home.
They have also been designed around the Early years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework and National Curriculum to support children’s learning and development.
The cards are available in both physical and digital formats and the set for age 1+ is the current best seller. All of the activities are simple set-ups, using items that parents will most likely already have on hand.
“I wanted something that would cater for all children because not all two-year-olds or three-year-olds are the same. They can be a different developmental stages so I wanted to create something inclusive.
“There’s a variety of activities to help with physical development, social and emotional development and they also cover literacy, maths, art and design and communication and language.
“It took me over a year to write all of these ideas. During lockdown, every hour I wasn’t with my little boy, I was writing down ideas.
“There are things I’ve done before with children as a teacher and things I’ve done with my own little boy,” explains Ruth.
She officially launched her business, My Mummy Teacher, in June with the support of The Prince’s Trust and hosted a live launch party on Instagram with support from Cbeebies presenter Evie Pickerill and her friend Ruth Gibbins.
Ruth has been delighted by the positive feedback she has received and will soon launch a new range of cards for for ages 5+ and sensory play.
“It’s been amazing. One mum told me it had helped with her mental health. She’s a single mother and she’s at home with her child all day. I know what it’s like – the days can be long and it can be difficult to keep your child entertained and find new ways to keep them occupied.
“She says she can get the cards, flick through and get inspiration for an activity they can do together. I want cards rather than a book so it’s more accessible. She told me it had really helped her,” she tells Weekend.
Her future plans include launching a members club towards the end of the year which will offer additional resources such as video tutorials and activity sheets as well as access to the Facebook group. Ruth has also started to run parent workshops in schools to show parents how to help their children learn through play at home and to help with homework in a playful way.
From a young age she knew she always wanted to be a teacher and says that inspiring children to learn and seeing the moment they just ‘get it’ is the best feeling in the world.
Although no longer working in school, Ruth says she still is able to share that same passion and commitment through her learning cards.
“My mission through the business is to get all children learning through play and my aim is to empower parents and professionals to be able to do this.”
For further information about the resources, or to join the community, search for @mymummyteacher on Instagram and Facebook.