Who We Are
Our staff is helpful and knowledgeable about the products we sell, and we have a thorough understanding of childhood developmental theory. We can answer questions and provide guidance about materials used, country of manufacture, and developmental appropriateness. If we can’t answer your questions, we’ll point you in the direction of someone who can.
Because we are an independently owned children’s store, we have the time and resources to create professionally personal relationships with many of our customer families. As a result, we offer exceptional service in helping your family find the perfect new toy, book or parenting product.
We pride ourselves in our expertise concerning the books we have in stock and their content, themes, authors and illustrators. We work to match your family and its unique culture and circumstances with the best available and most enjoyable literature available.
At A Child’s Garden, we’re all about education. Our staff experts have extensive experience in the realm of babywearing, cloth diapering and attachment parenting. We make these safe and traditional practices accessible and simple, and we help you find the best fit for your family.
And, now…meet our family!
Owner and Children’s Literature Fanatic
Kate always dreamed of owning a children’s bookstore. While she was a little surprised to have the opportunity to own A Child’s Garden present itself the summer after her college graduation(!), Kate didn’t hesitate. Part of what's made her Child's Garden experience an odyssey is discovering how many, different aspects to the business mean so much to her.
Kate grew up with books – and was raised to appreciate their beauty, their power, their heart. Having worked with special needs children through high school and college, she discovered that books have the ability to unleash the imagination for every child. Getting to share old favorites and discover new books that will enhance children's lives (and their parents and caregivers' lives) is every bit as wonderful as Kate imagined.
At Smith College, Kate earned her degree in Child and Family Studies, which allowed her to move through disciplines, including education, sociology and psychology with an eye on children and their worlds. She left college certain that supporting the whole child--and the whole family--as citizens of the whole world represented a mission: connecting small children to a sense of belonging safely in a big world. With A Child's Garden, she's found a way to offer children and their families a range of products--and support--for doing just this, from cloth diapers and soft baby carriers that give parents the option to keep babies and small children close, to high-quality literature and imagination-sparking toys (made from natural materials). She has made A Child's Garden a resource for young families that enhances their community.
Beyond books and toys, Kate offers workshops about a range of parenting topics, including diapering options and baby wearing. She played a key role in ensuring there would be midwives at Cooley Dickinson Hospital (raising money, and providing toys for the office's waiting room). She's a sponsor and contributor to many child-related causes (schools, mentoring programs, the local women's shelter).
In October, 2008, Kate and her friend, Meg Carlan, opened impish. Sister store to A Child's Garden, impish offers more products to enhance young families' lives: things like maternity clothing and baby-through-size six clothing, strollers, carseats, high chairs, cribs... on the second floor of Thornes. Between the two stores, families can be fully "equipped."
At the same time, Kate has extended her reach beyond her own business in significant ways. As a board member of Northampton's first Business Improvement District (which focuses on maintenance and promotion of Downtown Northampton) and a founding member of the Northampton Area Young Professionals (NAYP), she's made a strong commitment to the city. She's also jumped in at the national level to advocate on behalf of the Handmade Toy Alliance, an organization that gives voice to small businesses that make and sell toys made from natural products. It's no wonder then that she was recognized by Business West in June, 2009 as one of their "Forty Under Forty," a distinction given to young, up-and-coming professionals.
Sales and Display Expert (and mother of Alex and Rachel)
After leaving the work force to be a stay at home mom to her children, Alex and Rachel, Lori wanted to put her years of retail experience to use again and found the perfect opportunity at A Child’s Garden. She says, “A Child’s Garden has been a fantastic learning experience. My eyes have been opened to new worlds: babywearing, 'not so scary' cloth diapers, and the realization that children have great imaginations, which should be encouraged by choosing quality toys.” She adds, "I find it very gratifying to help someone find the perfect gift."
Lori's been with Kate from the beginning and creates the entire store's beautiful displays. She enjoys making A Child’s Garden a visually pleasing place to shop.
Babywearing Educator (and mother of Aviva and Liesl)
Meg learned to love babywearing, carrying a child in a sling or wrap, before her first daughter arrived. She says, "Babies need to be held and carried, and parents and caregivers need the freedom to go places and get things done. There's such an easy solution: babywearing." Meg appreciates the joy and practicality of this ancient art--and enjoys sharing it with others.
Meg says, “I work with families and caregivers to find the right carriers and to learn to use them comfortably and safely. It is my goal to help you enjoy carrying your baby as much as you like, and for as long as you need.”
A Child's Garden offers weekly open hours with Meg, so that people can stop by with questions. People can also sign up for one of her workshops to learn the art of Babywearing!
Jen started work at A Child’s Garden shortly after Kate opened the business while she finished her bachelor’s degree in Sociology at UMass Amherst. First, Jen worked behind the scenes. When she discovered she was pregnant with son, Kason, Jen decided A Child's Garden was the perfect place to work while nesting and settling into parenthood. Now the store's manager, Jen loves the many different relationships forged with A Child's Garden customers... many of whom she calls friends. She loves being able to help customers find the right product for them, be it a carrier, cloth diapers, or a fantastic toy. Jen says, "I love talking to parents and people buying gifts for parents. I love learning what people's experiences of our products are, and researching new products. People feel good knowing that we've looked for fun products that are safe, as well. Being a new parent, I love 'road-testing' them with Kason!"
~ About ~ Contact ~ Hours ~ Who We Are ~ Calendar ~ Workshops ~ Blog ~ Babywear ~ Cloth Diapers ~ Gift Registry ~ Toys And Books ~