One of the first lessons a new parent learns is who really owns their home. That realization usually comes in the middle of the night after stepping bare foot on a toy, not put away, or when leg hits freshly re-re-relocated coffee table. Josh Gunsberger, the new owner of Nassau Avenue’s PLAY, has recreated the two year old playspace to address those joys of parenthood, and to offer neighborhood kids exceptional early childhood classes.
With 1,000 square feet of interior play space, PLAY provides a “living room” environment, giving kids, ages newborn to five years, access to a huge variety of toys. The selection is rotated frequently, to keep things fresh for the children. A separate play area is dedicated to toddlers (crawlers). The clientele, Gunsberger said, are “local parents who want a place for their children to roam around, be free, enjoy toys and not have to clean up. It offers a unique experience, which the confines of a small apartment limit.”
To help bring an academic edge, Gunsberger teamed up with Rug Bug, a local business run by Ofrit Peres, that provides early childhood programming with a green twist, “to represent what’s important to families in this neighborhood,” Gunsberger noted. Rug Bug offers five courses at PLAY, in music, art, dance, theater and movement.
The music program, In Tune with the Earth, features original compositions and all-time favorites performed on instruments recycled from common household objects. For the art course, Natural Beauty, students work together to create masterpieces using natural materials. The dance class, Magnificent Movement, uses both household objects and creative instruments to teach about muscle movement and self-expression while building listening skills and spatial awareness. In Let’s Pretend! kids role play, while puppetry, storytelling and musical theater help reinforce cognition, abstract thought and social skills. Romp & Relax, a body-awareness program guides parents and children, ages newborn to 12 months, through each stage of early development, using techniques, borrowed from yoga, to combine tummy strengthening and tumbling exercises with musical and imaginative elements.
“What sets our program apart is the integration of core Rug Bug ideals: commitment to sustainability, unity and charity,” said Peres. “We strive to educate in the traditional sense while equipping our youngsters with skills that foster an appreciation for their peers, community and their wonderful world.”
PLAY also offers special programming, such as customized birthday parties with puppets, music, magic shows and Brooklyn Cupcakes, as well as Puppetsburg, a weekly “hipster, interactive puppet show,” featuring “ a lot of bubbles, cute music and puppets with big glasses and tattoos,” described Gunsberger. Weekly movie nights are currently for families, but plans are in the works for a “drop-off” movie night for the older kids, so parents can get a couple of hours of alone time.
Gunsberger, who also owns FasTracKids and Eye Level franchises, also looks forward to adding a full afterschool program at PLAY, with a high academic standard, to offer parents another neighborhood alternative.
Courses are offered over a ten week semester, with one 45 minute class per week. The cost is $345, which includes unlimited play time. Fall semester classes begin on September 17th. Free trials will be available from September 12th to 15th. To RSVP, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
33 Nassau Avenue
Monday through Friday from 9:00AM – 6:00PM
Saturday & Sunday from 10:00AM – 4:00PM
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