Community Spotlight

Provider Spotlight: New York Society of Play

Sawyer partners with hundreds of educators who are stars in their communities. From inspiring class content to engaging teaching style, these educators are known for their enriching activities that empower both children and parents alike.

We got the opportunity to chat with, New York Society of Play, an online and in-person organization that, through play, hones social and problem-solving skills as well as mathematical and textual literacy for children of all ages.

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! I’d love to hear a bit more about you and why you started your business.

As a child, I was fascinated by the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons, trading card games, and Live Action Role Play. I had difficulty finding adults in my life who could relate or see those interests as valid. I feel like the scarcity of adults who shared my interests caused me to lose out on the many social and developmental benefits that come from having a mentor. I am pleased to see the New York Society of Play provide children with peers and mentors where they might otherwise be hard to find.

Can you describe an inspiring moment you’ve had as an educator?

Whenever I am struck with the inspiration to draft a new game for my students, I am given a second wind in every aspect of my life as an educator. Seeing the children interact with my games mentally and socially is extremely gratifying for me, and a large part of why I’ve dedicated myself to the profession.

What’s the most rewarding thing about teaching children?

I would definitely cite the many instances of watching my students as they grow and change through their young lives. By the time they are ready for college, you can look back on all the ways they changed and grew over the years.

What’s one time a child surprised you and made your day?

Getting a hand-drawn holiday card (usually with Pokemon on it) never gets old.

On a similar note, what’s the funniest thing a child has done in your class? 

Dungeons & Dragons is a game of public speaking and theatrics. Some of the ideas that come out of these kids are hilarious.

Why is after school enrichment so important for children?

After school enrichment allows for a more natural setting in which to socialize with friends without taking away from academics. After school enrichment is also important in that it allows children to discover their passions, develop, and improve on skills and pastimes they might not have the opportunity to engage in otherwise.

Photo of after school enrichment

How do you think children can discover their passions when they’re not in school or your programs?

The Internet is such a powerful learning tool for this generation. YouTube has such a wealth of knowledge there for anyone willing to take advantage of it! 

What's one trick you learned from another educator that you still practice?

Implementing a “shout-out circle” at the end of the day to applaud admirable behavior from peers as well as reflecting on any lessons learned that day. It is a great way to teach young children how to reflect, as well as lift each other up!

What is your favorite Sawyer feature?

I greatly appreciate the color coded calendar view on the main page because it helps us prevent double booking staff and it gives us a glance at how many workshops we are running in different locations. We color code all of our activities based on location (for live programs) and instructor (for online programs). It really speeds up the process of scheduling new classes since all the information is laid out in front of us.

Have you discovered new customers on the Sawyer marketplace?

We definitely have! We began running workshops in January 2020, so when lockdown hit, we had a very small customer base to draw upon for support. Thanks to the marketplace though, we had many new students discover our online programs, some of whom are still with us to this day! It really rescued us in a difficult situation.

How do you balance your time between running your business (from an operational perspective) and teaching/connecting with parents and students?

Making sure to leave time for yourself is so important! In a profession where you want to put your all into providing a good environment for mentors and students alike, it’s essential to remember to charge your own batteries!

How has Sawyer helped your business? 

Besides the obvious (Sawyer helps us reach customers and provides an easy registration interface), we’ve received guidance on how to best manage and promote our business. I attend almost every online Sawyer seminar and take notes. I’ve also reached out personally to some of the administrators on the team for business advice. I want to give a personal shout out to Dana Browne who I have spoken to a number of times, and who runs many of the seminars. She is truly an expert in the field, and she has provided clear and helpful advice for many of my questions.

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