Jessica Laird

Jessica Laird

Latest posts by Jessica Laird

The One Reason Families Are Applying to BASIS Independent in Droves

There is an educational renaissance happening in New York City. In the past few years we’ve seen dozens of new schools open, adding more public, private, and charter options to the mix. Two of those new programs are part of BASIS Independent Schools, a network of five independent schools nationwide. Their two brand new campuses in New York City offer a PreK-grade 12 in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and a PreK-8 on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Robots, Rockets, and Explosions Wow Kids at NORY STEM Camps

Summer is a time when kids should be trying new things, asking crazy questions, and exploring wild possibilities, even if it sometimes means failing along the way. At least that’s what the two dads who founded NORY believe.

NORY is a summer camp for New York City’s youngest innovators. Kids ages 3-12 can sign up for STEM-focused programs with weekly themes that are totally worth geeking out over, like wood working, kitchen science, and chemical engineering and explosions. The 5 to 1 ratio of curious campers to inspiring instructors helps to keep kids totally engrossed in the hands-on curriculum. And it’s clearly doing the trick, because the popular camp is expanding to three main campuses in FiDi, Midtown East, and the Upper West Side this year.

YMCA Offers Affordable Day Camps, Sleepaway Camps, and Specialty Summer Programs for All Ages

With more than twenty locations that proudly served a combined total of over 12,000 young New Yorkers last year alone, you're unlikely to make it through all those parenting listserv threads about summer coverage without coming across YMCA's much-loved camps. Offering fun-filled early childhood options for tots, traditional sleepaway options for tweens and teens, and specialty programs focusing on everything from STEAM to soccer, it's no surprise the popular programming has been a hit with parents and kids across the city since 1885.

Audio Stories That Entertain Kids Anytime and Anywhere from Pinna

The screen time struggle is real. So, I can't imagine I'm the only parent who's quite literally all ears when they hear that kids' podcasts and audiobooks are officially a thing now. On-demand audio programming certainly feels like the perfect way to bring some screen-free entertainment to playtime, add a little excitement to the bath, or even just wind down before bed, but finding awesome options for kids can be really hard. Enter a new subscription-based service called Pinna, which is packed with Peabody-winning original series, popular podcasts, and favorite audiobooks for listeners ages 4 to 12 — and zero commercials — making it a major parenting win. Read on to find out more and get a free 7-day membership to try it out.

The Liberty Science Center Celebrates 25 Years With Exciting Changes

It's no wonder Liberty Science Center has become a New Jersey mainstay for nearby parents and kiddos. Did you know the 300,000-square-foot educational center on the Jersey City bank of the Hudson is already celebrating 25 years of non-stop learning, playing, and exploration on January 23rd? And the much-loved museum isn't letting this major milestone pass by quietly either. Instead, it's rolling out a whole slew of improvements, entirely new exhibitions, and exciting upcoming events.

Science, Language & Arts International School Brings New Language Immersion Programs to Brooklyn

Bienvenue to Brooklyn! Or should we say 欢迎?

Dual-language schools are all the rage as parents and educators realize the growing importance of preparing kids for our quickly globalizing world. Here in Brooklyn, Science, Language & Arts International School (SLA) continues to grow with the increasing demand for its innovative and effective immersion program. Founded by linguist and bilingual education specialist Jennifer Wilkin back in 2011, the independent school has expanded to offer a rigorous, project-based education in a bilingual French or Mandarin setting for kids ages two to fourteen. And starting this academic year, SLA is launching a brand new pre-K Mandarin immersion track to run alongside the existing French immersion track, as well as middle school tracks for 6th to 8th graders in both Mandarin and French.

Not only does SLA offer a rich science, math, and arts curriculum in a bilingual environment, but it does it at a significantly lower tuition than many other local private schools.

New Guidelines and Tips for Early Allergen Introduction to Babies

From crying it out to co-sleeping, swaddling to self soothing, conflicting parenting ideas can make our poor sleep deprived heads spin. And even more so when it comes to feeding. For​ ​decades,​ new parents​ ​were​ ​instructed not to introduce possible ​allergens before baby's first birthday or later. Foods like fish, eggs, cow's milk, and peanuts were stuck under a fridge magnet with a scary warning about potential life-long allergies, and the need to create an allergy management plan, if your little one was found to have an allergy when you finally introduced these forbidden foods.

More recently though, research is changing the way families approach the introduction of potentially allergenic foods. In fact, in 2015, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) said that there is no reason to delay the introduction of potentially allergenic foods past 4-6 months of age - a total reversal from previous beliefs and practices. Since that time, even more research regarding the early introduction of allergens has been pouring in and, most recently, the FDA approved a qualified health claim for the early introduction of ground peanuts just this month.

Head spinning yet? We’ve partnered with Inspired Start to provide tips to simplify introducing potentially allergenic foods to baby, in accordance with AAAAI’s latest information:

Zombies and Wizards Teach "Sneaky STEM" at Guard Up in Boston Area

Celebrate a birthday by battling the undead in a zombie apocalypse. Spend the school break brewing potions in the Mages' Guild. Cap the school day with an epic afternoon NERF battle. These fantastic adventures are 100% reality at Guard Up, a local spot in Burlington and Waltham, Massachusetts, offering weekly classes, summer camps, birthday parties, and school holiday camps for ages 4 and up.

As magical as Guard Up may seem, the real wizardry is that the carefully developed programs actually teach creative problem-solving, leadership, teamwork, and yes, even STEM, all through gamified adventures kids will love. And that's just the tip of the iceberg; the more you hear about Guard Up the cooler it sounds.