Rebecca Caranay, Program Director
How your clients refer to you:
Rebecca, Becca, Miss Rebecca/Becca
Free to be Under Three
Free to Be Under Three P.O. Box 595 NY, NY 10028 (212) 988-1708
How many years have you been in business in NYC?
21 years at our All Souls, Upper East Side location!
How did you get your start and what was your initial inspiration?
Twenty years ago, class offerings for the very young were scarce, and not always age-appropriate. The founder, Joe Robertson, began a small group class that was gentle, calm, and language-rich. His small group soon grew into a full business!
What do you feel differentiates you from others in your field?
Our fearless commitment to repetition! Each semester builds gently on the last, creating and maintaining a familiar, comfortable space for our children to a acquire new language, physical, and social skills. While it is tempting to cater to adults, and keep things "fresh", children need and love consistency and repetition to thrive.
What do you feel gives you longevity in this big city with so many options?
Free to Be Under Three is a program that is over 20 years old, and has continued to grow, without advertising. We are proud that we are a word-of-mouth program, supported and promoted through our clients and alumni. We are humbled to know that our program is held in such high esteem with our families.
How do you positively impact your clientele?
We provide ideas, information, and support: how to engage with their young children, or how to embrace a particularly trying phase of development. A group of caregivers that have children within a few months of each other are often looking for the same support and reassurance, and maybe just to spend some time with not just their child, but some adult peers!
What is your favorite part of your job?
The portions of our classes when we have one-on-one time...it's a great time to connect with the caregiver, and having meaningful interactions with each child.
What is your favorite secret NYC spot?
Neither a secret, but both feel like you've left the city - The Swedish Marionette Cottage in Central Park - the surrounding gardens and pathways are particularly magical for children. Fort Tryon Park and the Cloisters - the park, Cloisters Museum, and view of the Hudson wash away any sense of bustling city.
How do you benefit mamas?
We support our moms through three years of their new child's life, with gentle guidance and genuine support. Our parents and children often stay together as a class for the three years, creating their own mini-communities, and lasting friendships.
What is the most memorable feedback a client has given you?
One of my moms, with a career and three children, told me she wants to go back to school for Early Childhood Education. She was attending classes with her third child, and loved to learn about the many developmental stages her son was experiencing. I hope she actually does it, this work is wonderfully fulfilling!
Pay it forward and name your top colleagues in the same field or related field:
What is the best advice anyone's ever given you? Or what is your "mantra" / words to live by?
Never do something once, that you won't want to do again!
As moms, the day can escape us, what is your best time-saving trick?
Healthful meals are important to me, so menu planning, shopping, and some prep on the weekend make my family's week a breeze. It is an effort, but worth it!