Angela De Vincenzo
How your clients refer to you:
Blocks, Trucks + Art
Website: www.blockstrucksandart.com, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How many years have you been in business:
Two years. We launched our program the summer of 2015.
How did you get your start and what was your inspiration:
Blocks, Trucks + Art is an amalgamation of who we are as individuals, and as a family of three. My husband is a designer, former BMXer and a visionary. I am a learning specialist with progressive roots. And our son, Luca, is a truck enthusiast and the source of our inspiration. Luca’s passion for trucks led us to where we are today, leading an integrative program with a mission to motivate and inspire children.
What do you feel differentiates you from others in your field?
Our program is unique since it truly reflects who we are, and what we do. My background in education is quite rare. I’ve taught in one of the most progressive schools in the world, the City & Country School in Greenwich Village (where I learned all about the power of blocks in learning and play), to one of the most highly rigorous, academic schools for girls on the Upper East Side, the Chapin School. I’m so grateful for my experiences in these thoughtful schools and to have worked alongside such smart, thoughtful, dedicated educators all these years. Our vision for Blocks, Trucks + Art, is to balance creative, physical and academic learning in an integrative, developmentally appropriate, engaging way. And so, we have children building with blocks, painting murals collaboratively, receiving small group and one-on-one literacy support, and cycling on a pump track to excite and stimulate the core, physically. Talk about multi-sensory instruction! And, the nuttiest part, we do all this inside and around our family owned 18-wheeler.
What gives you longevity in this big city with so many options?
Our story. Our whole mission starts with a story. The authenticity of who we are, and the experiences we’ve had makes our work unique, heartfelt, and truly original.
How do you positively impact your clientele?
Through our program offerings, we truly get to know our kids, and from there we meet them where they are and hone in on what they are ready to learn. Whether it be social pragmatics, problem solving skills, spatial awareness, gross and fine motor skills, or core alignment strengthening, we engage the learner in hands-on experiences that are authentic, meaningful, and exciting. It’s a magical process.
What is your favorite part of your job?
The beauty of working with children is that you bring your whole self to the work. All that I enjoy in life enters my experience as a teacher. I can dance, sing, laugh, read, write, and most importantly, play. The powerful connection I feel to and from children is what keeps me going...
What is your favorite secret NYC spot?
Red Hook, Brooklyn – so many gems there, from the shops to restaurants. We are regulars at Fort Defiance for brunch. And, the light and vibe is amazingly chill and beautiful…
How do you benefit mamas?
By working with their children, supporting them creatively and/or academically. And, by consulting with parents, providing tips, insight, and guiding them in the next steps for their child’s growth and development. The parental piece is just as important as the direct work with the children. I value my communication with parents, big time. When parents are well informed, secure, and have a plan, the child certainly benefits.
What is the most memorable feedback a client has given you?
“Curiosity is the only skill set that will not be irrelevant in 5 years. This is exactly what Blocks, Trucks + Art ignites.”
Pay it forward and name your top colleagues in the same field?
There are two very special colleagues, who I can call my dear friends: Nisa Frank and Erin Gordon. They are powerful, vocal educators, with values that I admire. They are also the two people I call upon when I need professional advice/insight, and I am forever grateful to have them to lean on. Both are Lower School Division Heads in independent schools, and I’m super proud of them.
Best advice someone has given you? Or, what is your mantra/words to live by?
Interestingly, very recently I read an article about Martha Stewart, in a very cool food magazine called Cherrybomb. In it, she says that the secret to being successful is thinking outside the box, while at the same time filling a void. I was so moved by that comment due to the relevancy it has to my life at this moment. Buying this 18-wheeler, and transforming into a mobile workshop for kids was such a bold move, and so wildly outside the box. And as for voids, I believe wholeheartedly that not all schools can meet the needs of all learners. I’ve taken the most poignant strategies and practices from teaching in schools to build and shape our program. It’s not typical, by any means, but it’s intentional and powerful. We are not just an art truck. We are a philosophy; we have a specific rationale for why we do what we do. And, of course, KEEP ON TRUCKIN’ is our family mantra! We teach our boy to never give up, and that’s the message we pass along to all the children who come through our truck and program.
As moms, the day can escape us, what is your best time saving trick?
Getting in a workout, being a working mom, is always a challenge for me. Finding a yoga spot close to work and sneaking in a 45 min yoga class at noon is the best time saving trick yet!