Innovative Coworking Space Brings Play Space, Drop-in Childcare to Carroll Gardens
With the pandemic changing the structure of many people’s working lives and forcing working parents to get creative to keep kids busy during office hours, the recently opened Brooklearn in Carroll Gardens offers a bit of a reprieve for local families. The combined play space and coworking facility caters to caregivers with children up to age 5 who are juggling jobs alongside childcare duties.
Read on for our review of this innovative, family-friendly, hybrid coworking and play space, which is surely a welcome addition to our list of the best things to do with kids in Carrol Gardens and its sister neighborhoods.
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The premise of Brooklearn is simple: Kids can be left in a well-equipped gym and play space under the supervision of a fully trained staff, while parents go into the room next door to work. A door leads directly from one space to the other, so parents can go get their cuddle fix during any spare moments in their workday and are on hand if there is an issue with their child.
Housed in the former Kidville space on Court Street, Brooklearn benefits from a large footprint with soaring ceilings. The management team is also the same and knows a thing or two about creating a safe, child-friendly play and care experience.
The brightly colored, well-padded play space at Brooklearn offers plenty of fun for little kids.
The gym is huge by city standards and is fully padded and well-stocked with soft climbing blocks for younger children, a trampoline, a climbing wall, and a gymnastics bar for older kids. A play kitchen and blocks are also available. In the front of the space, you'll find a cozy area with sofas where parents and kids can enjoy a snack and some quiet time with books and toys.
Perks for parents are equally impressive. The coworking space is quiet and large with tasteful, simple decorations. When I visited there were four or five people working—it was a quiet time in the middle of lunch and nap time.
Perks at Brooklearn aren't just for the kids. There's plenty of amenities, and streamlined workspaces, for adults, too.
The desks are separated a good COVID-compliant 6-feet apart, and one thing I liked was the two soundproof booths available for Zoom meetings and conference calls. There are also standing desks. The space includes a kitchen and the promise of a coffee machine arriving soon.
Brooklearn is newly opened and the plans and pricing are subject to change as the format molds to customer needs. Currently, subscription and drop-in plans are offered. The subscription allows families to purchase 10-, 20- or 30-hours per month, equating to $14-$19 per hour for combined time in the workspace and care for one child. A drop-in session is $35 per hour for use of both the play and coworking spaces. It is also possible to purchase time for the play space or coworking space as a standalone option.
Brooklearn is a welcome addition to the neighborhood—particularly because so many indoor play facilities have shuttered during the pandemic. A small, friendly staff awaits visitors, who are known by name and greeted like family.
Once the core business is more established, owner and manager John Lehman intends to introduce after-school activities for kids ages 5-8 with offerings like Lego building and cooking, while mom and dad crank out a couple more hours of productivity. The space is available for birthday parties, and plans are being made for a summer camp for 2-5 year olds.
Safety is top of mind, and current COVID protocols require visitors ages 2+ to wear masks; while all who are eligible must show proof of vaccination. Currently, space is operating at 50 percent capacity, and windows are opened to facilitate ventilation. Additionally, a CDC-recommended HVAC system has been installed. Toys, books, and equipment are regularly cleaned.
Photos courtesy of Brooklearn Brooklyn