Mommy and me infant and toddler early sensory learning classes in Hoboken, New Jersey and Waldwick, New Jersey. We focus on sensory play, socialization and American Sign Language. Each session is based on a book. Each class is inspired by a page within the book. Each class is a unique experience for the caregiver and child.
Hugs & Bugs Club was inspired by my son, Jackson, and my hopes for him to socialize more and experience new things regularly. We tried pretty much all the classes and some of them were great, especially in the beginning when they were new. But, once the wow factor of a new drum or bubble wand disappeared, he became super bored, went stir crazy, and entertained himself by finding new ways of tearing down the room or escaping. This became increasingly difficult since I was pregnant with his baby brother, Rex. So I started researching sensory games and materials, and their benefits, and I was blown away! You mean he could be entertained, learn something cool and I can take a shower for longer than two seconds!?! That's it! Why not create a constantly changing sensory playgroup for him and our little friends to have fun and learn!?! So I did and I am loving every moment of Hugs & Bugs Club! I'm so thankful to all the amazing and creative people I have met, my amazing boys and all the kids for constantly inspiring me!
I grew up in a very creative household always encouraged to be imaginative. My mom was the true artist of the family, inspiring us to play with paints and make our own costumes, while my dad had the entrepreneurial spirit, always teaching us to try new things and keep our minds open. Together they sparked a love of literature and art in me as well as maintaining my dreamer mentality. This has all come together for me with Hugs & Bugs Club!
My love of literature came from my dad's descriptions of different books and how much he appreciated language and vocabulary. This led me to pursue my BA at Rutgers University and then an MA from The University of Chicago in English Language and Literature. My plan was to become a professor and keep my writing, art and theater passions as hobbies. Eventually those hobbies broke free and they became my sole focus for over 10 years. I whole-heartedly jumped into the acting world and studied with amazing teachers and directors, learning different acting techniques, body movement exercises, mask exploration, voice and diction techniques and anything else I could do to delve deeper into this wonderful acting craft.
I'm a creative spirit and enjoy art, theater and music, and believe children learn in creative play. I witnessed this first hand while tutoring young children as well as my experience being a stepmom to three amazing girls, one of which I taught how to read, and a mom to my sons. I have loved all the moments of decorating our home with handmade creations for special occasions and holidays, getting messy in the kitchen while Jackson looks at me through different colored tupperware tops, and making Halloween costumes.
I hope my kids remember these moments like I remember my mom showing me how beautiful watercolors spread and how one thing can become something completely different with a little bit of imagination, or the sight of a huge bonfire at my dad's college celebrations and the taste of spicy chicken wings, and how Motown, Jazz, Latin and Classical music always filled my home. My senses were constantly intrigued! I wish to share this love of sensory play and welcome children to be inspired and build awesome memories too!
I graduated from Monmouth University in 2016 with a Bachelors degree in the Health Sciences and hoped to go on to Medical School to become a Doctor. After working with children as a Nanny, I soon realized that working with children was my true passion. I began working with Hugs & Bugs Club in September 2017. Working with Hugs & Bugs Club, I was really able to mold my passion for teaching.
I teach at Hugs & Bugs because their values about education are so closely aligned with my own. I believe that children are intelligent beings capable of learning on their own and that the teacher serves as a facilitator of learning. Learning should be organic and fun. Hugs & Bugs Club makes learning fun and has every student in mind.
In hopes to better understand children and expand my teaching toolbox, I am working towards a Masters of Education as well as my teaching certifications in Early Childhood Education and Special Education Grades N-6 at Bank Street College of Education in Manhattan, a renowned leader in progressive education. I am inspired by Reggio Emilia and really try to incorporate these ideas into our classes.
In my free time, I am an artist and I also run my own Etsy business creating sensory education materials. I am also very interested in local history, and love researching the area we live in. I am always exploring and always looking to expand my knowledge. I hope this upcoming year brings along many more opportunities to travel. In the past, I have had the opportunity to travel to Honduras as a medical volunteer serving small communities outside of Tegucigalpa. This upcoming summer, I plan to travel to Costa Rica to learn more about how to incorporate rainforest ecology and rainforest conservation into a science curriculum.
I came to Hugs & Bugs Club for a second summer job and very shortly after I left my first job to work here solely. I have worked with children for several years in the past and I great joy in what I do. However, my path was never as a "teacher"; with the set stations and lessons plans, etc. Though I hold the title of teacher now my role is much more than that. Instead of pushing a set learning plan I choose to be silly with the child, to stumble, play, test things out and see what happens. Hugs & Bugs Club has given me the perfect environment to do that. Here every idea and activity I introduce to the child stems from what I loved and found interesting as a kid (and still do now). I also do my best to incorporate things that were not accessible to me as a child. My studies and growing career is in American Sign Language and Interpreting, and I hope that our use of sign language sparks an interest in everyone to further study the language and culture. I also am restlessly fascinated with other cultures and countries and do my best to travel as often as I can. Everything from language to history, dress style to environment, music to entertainment, it all has its own uniqueness to every culture; and of course lets not forget about food! I feel exposure to cultures other than their own is the greatest way to set the basis for social empathy, tolerance and acceptance; as well as a sense of wonder for all that the world has to offer.