Tell me about yourself and your background.
I taught at Stonehedge Elementary School in the West Genesee School District for eight years. I spent four years at home on a child rearing leave before I resigned from Stonehedge to stay home with my first little one. When I was on leave with my first daughter, we looked around the community for some kind of early childhood program that we could enjoy together. I wanted something that would promote socialization and for her to be enriched. I wanted lots of gross and fine motor movement, along with play, while still being there with her. I knew what I wanted but there wasn’t anything like it, so I created Play2Learn.
What makes Play2Learn different than other centers?
I created Play2Learn to teach early childhood family classes to enrich children in the early childhood years and promote socialization. We support families and answer their questions about how they can play with their little ones at home, and help them through difficult transitions. I started with tot time which is for ages 2 ½ to 4. It’s like a precursor to preschool, all through play with their caregiver. The interest from the community was over the top, and there was interest in classes for babies up to ten months old. I reached out to an occupational therapist I used to work with, and asked if she wanted to create a baby sensory motor class. So now we have three different classes, starting with the baby sensory motor class, going to mini movers and ending with tot time, all with the parent or caregiver. We also have art studio for toddlers and preschoolers, and open gym.
What are you most proud of about Play2Learn?
I really wanted my three kids (two girls and a baby boy) to see mommy as a teacher and for them to also benefit from Play2Learn, and they have 100%. As a family, I am proud of that. I am also proud of the sense of community that we’ve created. Families come for two-week sessions and they meet other families with children of the same age that are going through the same things. They become friends and plan play dates. Families have been coming from all over to experience this, and I’m proud of how we’ve expanded to service more families.