Babies are naturally curious and inventive. We believe a child’s joy and growth come from being engaged rather than entertained. That’s why all our classes and open-play hours are centered around sparking wonder often through repurposed objects and free expression.
You won’t find jungle gyms or princess/superhero-themed rooms at Union Square Play. Instead, we’ve designed a clean, cozy space filled with items that encourage children to imagine their own world and be who they are.
Our programming and approach to raising children are led by our partner, Jennie Monness, who is also the founder and creator of Mo’ Mommies. Jennie studied Psychology in Education and received her Master’s Degree from Teachers College, Columbia University. She started her career as an early childhood teacher for two and three year olds, and then became an Educational Director of a preschool for approximately 8 years before becoming the Center Director of Explore + Discover Early Learning Center.
The RIE® Educaring philosophy inspires much of Jennie’s work and approach to parenting:
Start with Respect
From day one—even when your newborn can seem more like a peanut than a person—a child should be treated as a unique human being, not an object.
Strive for Authenticity
The way we look at and listen to our children has a major influence on the way they see life. By being genuinely engaged, we help children feel secure, competent, and independent.
Trust Your Baby
Allow babies to initiate, explore, and discover with minimal assistance, so that they can fully celebrate their wins.
Observe, Observe, Observe
Babies learn amazingly fast during their first two or three years. By simply watching your little genius, you’ll resist the urge to teach and instead provide an environment for learning.
Allow for Open Play
Set aside plenty of time for uninterrupted play and freedom for babies to do their own thing.
Create a Safe Space
The more consistent, predictable, and safe an environment is, the easier it is for babies to move and learn.
Slowing down while changing diapers, feeding, bathing, or dressing creates the freedom for your child to be an active participant instead of a passive recipient. (And participants make for better explorers.)