How your clients refer to you:
Jasmine or Teacher Jasmine
Email: PlayCreationsKids@gmail.com, Ph. (310) 571-8028, Website: www.playcreationskids.com
How many years have you been in business in LA?
January 2018 will be our 3-year anniversary!
How did you get your start and what was your initial inspiration?
I started out teaching enrichment classes after school long ago. I loved working with children so much that I decided to pursue a master’s in Education with an emphasis on early-childhood education. I applied to UCLA and received a fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education, in which I earned dual credentials in early-childhood and elementary education while completing my masters and teaching part time as an apprentice teacher. The program was fantastic and helped me realize my real passion was in working with younger children. After graduating, I worked at a prestigious Santa Monica preschool for a few years before moving on to create PlayCreations.
During my time at UCLA, I created a sensory curriculum for a kindergarten classroom that really clicked with the children, and my professors loved it. The curriculum became a passion project of mine! I did some research and noticed that the programs available for young children were mostly limited to music classes, gym classes, or parenting style mommy and me sessions. While these are all really important for young children, I saw a need for messy sensory play. Many of my preschool students avoided getting messy. They preferred not to play at the sensory tables, or even to go into the sand box. I wanted to find a way to bridge the gap, to take my more hands-on preschool curriculum and make it baby friendly! When we engage a child’s five senses, their young brain develops faster. Introducing sensory play opportunities early on can help stimulate a child’s motor skills and language development. And it encourages them to follow their innate curiosity and desire to explore the world around them.
At PlayCreations, we play with musical instruments, create art projects, and have sensory playtime in each and every class! The kids experience painting their first canvas, playing their first instrument, or just getting messy with rainbow spaghetti, edible sand, or body paint. Such activities are often not introduced until later in life, but we believe it’s never too early to start.
What do you feel differentiates you from others in your field?
The PlayCreations curriculum is very unique. Each week there is something new and different we explore and engage in. Each child will find projects they absolutely love and projects they are more hesitant to try. This allows every child the opportunity to connect to the class in their own way and at their own pace. There are two teachers in every class that spend time with each child during sensory play, guiding the parents through exploring and engaging with their children and modeling how to narrate and talk to your child, so they get the most out of the experience.
Our curriculum is designed to keep your little ones engaged throughout the class. We have well over 50 sensory and art projects to keep your little one entertained for weeks and months over! Classes start as young as five-months-old and go all the way to three years. Classes begin with circle time, with music and instrument play. For about 25 minutes we sing songs, play with drums, shakers, puppets, the parachute, scarves, balls and xylophones! Each eight-week session we keep a consistent playlist of the same songs to allow the children to learn and recognize songs and movements through repetition and familiarity. After music time, we do our special project. Parents get an email the evening before class detailing the project and what your little one is learning and working on so they can come prepared if the project is messy. Some of our most popular projects are edible body painting, rainbow rice play, making lentil shakers, playing in a giant bowl of cornstarch, a Jell-O smash, painting canvas, and rainbow spaghetti. After clean-up, we gather again for one more song and we read a story together.
We recently developed an exciting new class called Sports Motor Play! This class is for children 18 months to 3 years old. These classes are designed to work on gross motor development and skills like running, jumping, throwing, catching, hand-eye coordination, balance, impulse control, and strength through various sports activities. We play sports like golf, basketball, tee-ball, football, soccer, obstacle courses, and yoga to develop those motor skills and get the kids interested in physical activity. It’s a really special class for our older ones! We also offer art education and exploration classes for preschool-age children after school, where we learn about different artists, and create art projects in their style as well as engage in free art projects so they can develop their own style as an artist.
What do you feel gives you longevity in this big city with so many options?
I think our ability to tailor our classes to each age group and to each individual group of children, and our dedication to growth by constantly expanding our curriculum is what gives us an edge. We have a general guide for which projects are for which sessions and ages, but if we find one group of children is ready for more challenging projects or another needs more time with simpler projects we can make adjustments to the curriculum to better fit each group. We are constantly adding new fun projects, and exploring new ideas like our new sports classes and our preschool prep classes. Our Shabbat class, for example, is a new sensory and art class related to Jewish themes and held in local synagogues — Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills on Fridays, and Sinai Temple on Tuesdays. In these classes, we have art projects like painting Shabbat candlesticks, and kiddish cups and sensory projects like making latkes or having a pretend Shabbat meal! I believe our desire to grow and change with our students is what has helped us to develop such a great reputation, and what will help keep us growing for years to come.
How do you positively impact your clientele?
I think there is a lot of good that comes out of mommy and me classes in general. They offer a wonderful way for mothers to bond with their babies and learn skills to help their baby grow and develop. Because we engage in sensory play each week, the babies are being challenged and stimulated in ways that encourage brain development, motor skill work, language development, sensory exploration, and skill building. This class is truly meant for your baby, and your little one will get a lot out of it each and every week. We do music, art, and sensory play, and you get it all in one fun and engaging class. I think our biggest impact on our clientele is helping parents become aware of sensory play, its importance, and their child’s sensory development; and we provide a fun and safe environment in which every child can learn and grow at their own pace
What is your favorite part of your job?
I have the most amazing job ever! There are so many things I love, but my very favorite is watching the children progress and grow over the course of an eight-week session or even multiple sessions. I’ve watched children that were hesitant to touch any of our projects become the messiest kids in class. I get to watch them learn to talk, and even walk in class! It is very rewarding to watch them learn and develop from the work that we do. I also love all the kisses, hugs, and cuddles I get every day!
What is your favorite secret LA spot?
My favorite spot in LA is not so secret. I love going to the beach, especially near Annenberg Community Beach house. There is a splash pad for kids, swings, a climbing structure on the sand, a restaurant, and of course the gorgeous LA beach. It’s fun for the whole family. (And a great opportunity for some sensory play with the sand and the water!)
How do you benefit mamas?
In our classes, we aim to engage the parents as fully as the kids. And our hope is that they learn skills and techniques they can take home with them to enhance their daily playtime. We teach parents how to help their little ones grow, to learn and develop through engaging activities and sensory play. We provide them with experiences they wouldn’t otherwise have with their little ones, and make it more accessible for them to try projects like ours at home. Parents learn a lot about fine motor skills, child development, and their child’s senses. Most of our projects are easy to do, and I encourage them to continue to work on their child’s sensory development on their own time!
What is the most memorable feedback a client has given you?
I truly feel blessed because I get a lot of meaningful feedback from parents, and that is what motivates me most. I try to build a relationship with each parent and child that comes through my classes — what kind of projects they loved, what were they more sensitive towards, and what they can work on at home to help their child continue their growth. My favorite kind of feedback is when I get texts and emails with pictures of my students doing something their parents thought they would never do or come around to — kids who wouldn’t touch anything and hated getting messy now covered in paint or dirt. I am lucky to be a part of so many kids’ lives and it touches my heart each time I get a message from a parent thanking me for all they learned and what a wonderful time they had in class. I have had students take classes with me non-stop, from six-months-old until they started preschool at three, and who are now coming back for sport motor classes after school. Parents who come back with their second and third babies, for me, is the best feedback I can get! One story that really touched me was from a mother whose child I would see once a week. She shared that every time she put her toddler in the car to take him to a class, the child would ask, “Teacher Jasmine?” She would have count down the days for him, until it was Tuesday and it was finally time for our class. That was really wonderful to hear!
Pay it forward and name your top colleagues in the same field or related field:
We are lucky to live in LA. There are so many amazing specialist, educators, and resources available to parents all around the city! In particular, Cheryl Petran of The Pump Station and Nurtury and Sarah Klinger of Sinai Temple’s Parenting Center are two people with whom I have personally worked and have spent time getting to know their programs. Cheryl runs both locations of The Pump Station, which has been around for over 30 years. Their Mommy and Me classes are excellent. They have an array of classes including parenting education, lactation classes, mommy and me, music classes, and even our PlayCreations sensory and art classes! She is always looking for new and inventive ways to help parents with all the challenges that come with parenthood. Sarah Klinger is the director of the parenting center at Sinai Temple’s Lainer School, one of the largest synagogues and Jewish schools in the area. Her center offers a ton of amazing classes, including music, Shabbat classes, parental education, and even an early preschool program for kids 18-months and up. She is incredibly knowledgeable, and runs wonderful classes.
What is the best advice anyone's ever given you? Or what is your "mantra" / words to live by?
My mantra, or what I try my very hardest to do each and every day, is to stay present! Working with kids really forces you to do that. There is no time to think about other things when you have ten excited, happy babies staring up at you! But between classes it can be hard to stay present with all the stresses of running a business. I am so thankful for my class time because it keeps me grounded and fully present with the children. It is so important we spend as much of our day as possible in the moment and enjoy what is happening right then and there!
As moms, the day can escape us, what is your best timesaving trick?
While I am not yet a parent myself, I know the time I am able to get the most done is late in the evenings when everything is quiet. I think it’s important to keep your little ones busy and active during the day, and develop a great bedtime routine, so the evenings are free for you and your partner to spend time together, or work on anything else that needs to be done.