The early years of parenting have never been easy, and the pandemic only added more challenges for parents everywhere. COVID-19 also magnified the need for meaningful support from others and ways to connect. Parenting can feel isolating which is why Union Square Play started as an in-person children’s play space where families went to as a “home away from home.” However, in March of 2020, when the pandemic hit, USP took things virtual and created mom crews for moms to meet online and still continue to support each other from a distance.
Union Square Play experienced firsthand how hard it was to no longer have a physical place to go to in New York City where parents and children could meet. They heard the calls of parents everywhere, who were desperate for a sense of community during these uncertain times. Jennie Monness, one of the co-founders of Union Square Play, says, “That’s why we created the Union Square Play app — to connect parents, so that they can help one another, be there for one another, and remind each other that parenting can be not only manageable but also fun, especially when it’s communal.”
Union Square Play is launching a new Union Square Play app that will provide:
• Content from topic experts.
• Community events and meetups.
• Insights and learnings from Union Square Play’s intimate mom groups.
• DIY activities from the popular play packs.
• Back-to-school classes on parenting.
• Classes with Dionne Kamara, a New York-based movement teacher for parents with infants and toddlers.
• A place for moms to connect.
The USP app originally started out as a place for participants of the virtual mom groups to connect in between zoom sessions and for play pack customers to find each other and share meaningful play ideas at home. It has quickly expanded to a thriving community of parents seeking advice, sharing perspectives, and finding others with children 3 and under.
Monness says, “The reason that people say ‘it takes a village’ so much in reference to bringing up children, is because parenthood truly requires community. Community in a traditional sense can imply in-personhood. But in this day and age, it stretches far beyond that.”
Union Square Play aims to make the early years of parenting a little bit easier, a lot more fun, and very communal through private, expert-led mom groups, activity-filled play packs, and the growing community of parents on the USP App.
The Union Square Play app is available for both iOS and Android. For more details about the app, please visit https://bit.ly/3jRCIcx
Jennie Monness began her career in early childhood 12 years ago, after receiving her master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her first job was teaching English to 18 to 24-month-old native Mandarin-speaking children, helping to prepare them for entrance to the most prestigious schools in NYC. She then became the educational director of several early childhood centers for eight years, creating programs that used research-based best practices. Additionally, she taught as an adjunct professor for Touro College undergraduate students obtaining their degree in Early Childhood Education.
About two years ago, Monness decided to take a decade’s worth of knowledge in early childhood education, and share her learnings with new parents to educate and empower them through her blog Mo’ Mommies. She teaches classes, speaks at events, and uses social media to provide timely information about her own parenting and toy recommendations that new parents deeply need and desire. Her aim has been for moms to connect, support, and empower one another. She has co-founded a play space, Union Square Play, to bring these ideas to life through developmental, sensory, music and creative classes in addition to a thoughtful open play space. Her methods center around open-ended play materials and objects, so that babies can be engaged, rather than entertained, creating their own “curriculum” and learning in the most natural, innate way.
Due to COVID-19, she has launched USP Online to focus energy where parents need it most and now leads various virtual mom groups weekly. Additionally, she has created the content and curriculum in what was recently launched as the Union Square Play Packs, meant to support parents of children one to three years old with at-home sensory learning kits. Parents can choose to utilize them in smaller learning “pods”, as the boxes are meant to take the place of in person social experiences that young children are lacking right now, but also to complement those experiences once early learning centers like Union Square Play do reopen.
For more information on Union Square Play, please visit https://unionsquareplay.com/
Follow Union Square Play on Instagram @UnionSquarePlay
For more information on Mo’ Mommies, please visit https://momommies.com/
Follow Mo Mommies on Instagram @MoMommies
“Like” Mo Mommies on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MoMommiesNoProblems/
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