This year marks my third child that has been lucky enough to attend Judy’s Playgroup. I can’t imagine a more nurturing, loving, fun and creative introduction to school for a 2/3 year old. The child to teacher ratio is unbelievable and Judy truly is gifted when it comes to understanding and navigating all the emotions of a toddler. We have made wonderful friends with the other parents as well. All three of my children are slightly different in interests, confidence and personality and every one of them has loved their experience. We are so grateful to have discovered this warm community.
– Jocelyn & Charlie Gailliot
We noticed the minute we walked into Judy’s loft that it is a remarkable living and breathing space designed for and fine-tuned by two year olds. It is a space where the imaginations and wild spirits of toddlers have reigned supreme for 34 years. When we watched our daughter explore the space the first time, her eyes lit up at discovering this new world that seemed as though it was made just for her.
This special environment is just the backdrop for something even more remarkable that happens at Judy’s. In our daughter’s case, we noticed her picking up beautiful, generous, and confident habits from her playgroup – an empathetic gesture toward another child or adult, an out-of-the-blue emotional observation, an “I can do that on my own” reaction to things we had always helped her with. Often when my husband and I see our daughter doing something particularly kind toward another child – an unexpected willingness to share a favorite toy, for example – we turn to each other and say, “that’s all Judy.”
Our affection for Judy’s playgroup is matched only by our daughter’s. On playgroup mornings, our daughter always voices her excitement about a “Judy day.” When we arrive at Judy’s door, she stands up tall, knocks, and then races in with confidence, so eager to begin that she barely turns around to say goodbye. When we pick her up, she jumps into our arms excited to tell us all of the new things she did.
We will always to grateful to Judy for her guiding spirit and the discoveries she has helped our daughter make that we know will find a permanent place in her personality.
– Maggie Lynaugh and Brian Shaw
Judy’s Playgroup is a nurturing oasis within the hustle and bustle of Tribeca. As a parent, it’s difficult to know what exactly will be the right environment for your son or daughter as they turn 2 years old. That said, my husband and I feel incredibly fortunate and overwhelmingly blessed to have chosen Judy’s. It has been, simply, perfect.
Our daughter is a shy little girl. Yet, after just a few weeks of attending playgroup, would wake up and ask to go to Judy’s well before its morning start. Judy’s organic learning style has provided our daughter with important life lessons. Her self-confidence has blossomed, her passion for playing with friends has been illuminated, and her emotional and communication skills have been fostered with loving care.
We are so thankful to have Judy in our daughter’s life.
– Laura & Joe Hickman
I have had the privilege of having both my children attend Judy Stevens’ playgroup. The atmosphere is supportive, warm and inviting, allowing children to take risks, experiment and socialize in a variety of ways. I am always impressed with the range of activities that Judy prepares for her groups, from making apple galettes, to creating egg carton decorations, producing literacy-rich books, and constructing a child-size cardboard house. Judy’s penchant for the arts translates into rich projects during which children experiment with various textiles.
Judy instills independence, honors each child’s voice and supports her group through obstacles in the most consistent and gentle fashion. Judy’s years of experience with this age group is evident as she unfailingly has suggestions, comments and observations to help guid both students and families.
– Alix Morgan & Ashley Marable
Judy’s Playgroup has been the ideal first home-away-from-home for our son. Judy has dedicated her life and her home to the playgroup and her love, experience and creativity is pervasive as she nourishes our son’s independence and curiosity. The intimacy of the group allows for development on both a group and individual level. My son loves going to Judy’s and I love the blossoming boy that comes back. I consider my family so lucky to have discovered Judy and this wonderful place.
– Sarah & Jon Dorfman
When my son was one and I began looking at local preschools, what struck me was that the teachers were so focused and serious in the classrooms that none of them ever smiled. The fact that Ms. X was finishing her PhD in child development meant nothing to me. There was a serious absence of warmth there. And then a friend told me about Judy Stevens.
The time my son spent at Judy’s Playgroup was probably the most perfect time in his life. She realized immediately how independent he was, and sent me on my way after the first day. He spent the next ten months learning, creating, and most importantly, coming to understand how to really play with other children. He learned to cooperate, share and take turns, and how to eat lunch on his own, all before his third birthday. Judy’s focus on this age group gives them all the value of her experience, and a wealth of opportunities that it’s hard for a mom to give her kid. She has tremendous patience, but most importantly, she truly loves that age group. Terrible-twos is a concept that is completely foreign to Judy.
I will never forget the last day of the year, when we said goodbye to Judy: the kids played, happy as can be, and every mom cried, knowing that in all probability, they would never again be in a learning environment where they were so loved and appreciated. When my son was accepted to college last year, Judy was one of the first people I called. He is now a design major at an art school; the foundation for his love of art being laid in Judy’s. For 17 years I have been recommending Judy to every new mom I meet, and many have taken my advice. I know each and every one of them has been as grateful as I am for being able to give their child this wonderful experience.
– Fraya Berg