A joyful blend of creativity, play, the arts, and engaging enrichment is what local parents Kettia and Robert Ming had in mind when they founded Smarter Toddler Nursery and Preschool, inspired their own experience with searching for a nursery school for their own daughter. Currently, they’re in the midst of opening two new locations in the Financial District and in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in order to bring their unique early childhood education philosophy to more local little ones than ever! Learn more about Smarter Toddler Nursery and Preschool at the New York Baby Show coming up on May 14 and 15 at Pier 92!
The nation’s biggest show for expectant and new families, the New York Baby Show is a wonderful family-friendly mega-event featuring everything to do with maternity, baby, and toddler. From top products to trusted parenting experts, the New York Baby Show welcomes thousands of expectant and new parents from New York City, the Tri-State area, and beyond!
Tickets to the New York Baby Show are $30 per family, and $20 per individual.
We caught up with Smarter Toddler’s marketing manager Reanne Agbayani to learn more about what’s new with them and what parents can expect from them at the New York Baby Show!
For someone unfamiliar with Smarter Toddler, how would you describe the school’s mission and core offerings?
Smarter Toddler is a progressive-arts based nursery and preschool for children 3 months to 5 years. Inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach, Smarter Toddler provides a supportive, enriching environment where children are able to freely and naturally express themselves through music and the arts while building relationships with other children and the world around them.
The arts is an integral part of the Smarter Toddler program, and children are provided endless open-ended opportunities to create and express themselves through a variety of symbolic languages including storytelling, song, dance, visual arts, drama, and music.
We cultivate creative, curious and innovative thinkers through rich, engaging experiences, both indoors and out. Professional musicians and artists work together with teachers to provide educational and recreational experiences including Spanish, sign language, music, art, yoga, movement, and dance.
Tell us about Smarter Toddler’s background—how did it get started and how has it grown?
Smarter Toddler Nursery and Preschool was founded in 2003 by NYC based artists and parents of three, Robert and Kettia Ming. Inspired by their then 15-month-old daughter, Robert and Kettia saw an opportunity to change the local landscape of childcare and early childhood education. They set out to replace the traditional day care setting with a warm, nurturing and enriching learning community of teachers, parents and children that acted as an extension of a child’s home.
Originally operating from the first floor of their UWS brownstone, Smarter Toddler quickly gained recognition for its unique program that integrated academics with the arts, and grew into their two original Manhattan campuses where they served hundreds of families before the locations were acquired in 2014. Today, Smarter Toddler is preparing to bring their creativity-rich philosophy to families in the Financial District and Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
What’s new with Smarter Toddler? What should families know right now?
Brand new music-filled Smarter Toddler classrooms will be opening at 99 John Street in the Financial District and 17 North 6th Street at The Edge Condominium in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. While the school will have new homes, its philosophy remains the same: Taking an arts-based approach to education with organic “exposure to everything” through music, the arts, and the children’s immediate environment.
What makes Smarter Toddler unique and different from other early childhood education providers?
Smarter Toddler is unique in that it is more than just a school—it is a community of supportive, engaged educators and families. The strength of the community is one of Smarter Toddler’s defining characteristics as it provides a seamless extension of the home to ensure that the learning process isn’t disrupted. Children receive individualized attention from nurturing and passionate early childhood educators. Smarter Toddler also offers innovative and beautifully designed facilities that create an immersive cultural experience. Through expertly curated art, live plants, vibrant music-filled classrooms, and beautiful finishes reflective of the home environment, Smarter Toddler creates rich visual, auditory and interactive experiences that foster curiosity and intellectual and developmental growth.
Children are exposed to a vast repertoire of music including classical, jazz, folk, and world. Whether experiencing music through hands-on exploration with instruments, song, and dance, or just listening to soft background music that plays throughout our classrooms and hallways—music is a big part of every child’s day at Smarter Toddler.
What can parents expect to see from Smarter Toddler at the New York Baby Show and in the future in general?
Parents and expectant parents are welcome to visit us to learn more about the Smarter Toddler program and to pick up a complimentary information and enrollment packet. Members of the Smarter Toddler staff will be on-hand to answer any questions you may have. We look forward to meeting you!
To learn more about Smarter Toddler Nursery and Preschool, visit smartertoddler.net!