Tobiah Roosevelt spent the last three weeks vacationing in her native Great Britain, experiencing the London Olympics up close and personal.
Come Monday morning, she had nearly 40 eager, pint size adults cascading through her children’s learning studio in Sherman Oaks.
What a change of pace.
Roosevelt, along with her business partner Mindy Mann, are the proprietors of Pint Size Kids, an early learning center for children ranging from newborns to 8 years old at 13323 Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks.
But when Roosevelt and Mann opened the early learning center in November of last year, they dared to combine two walks of life that children have failed at incorporating for generations: learning and fun.
“Obviously there are a lot of indoor play spaces, but not so many developmental ones,” Roosevelt said. “So we wanted something that fit our philosophy, which is learning through play. These are the formative years where kids are soaking everything up like sponges so we wanted something that would encourage them.”
As opposed to most indoor play centers, Pint Size Kids incorporates role-playing into its everyday play structure. Instead of slides, jungle gyms, or swing sets, Pint Size Kids is outfitted with a mock grocery store, hospital, general store, house and workshop, all in miniature form.
“That was our philosophy, to make a mini-town,” Roosevelt said. “It teaches children about the community and people that are in our community, and how to feel safe in their environment.”
Roosevelt, who was previously a preschool teacher and tutor, and Mann, who was a nanny, got the idea to begin Pint Size Kids when Roosevelt’s 7-year old son, Cameron, began going to school, leaving Roosevelt with the choice of going back to teaching or playing her hand at a new venture.
“Those are great for physical development,” Roosevelt said of traditional play equipment. “Pint Size isn’t designed for kids to come and just run around. It’s an interactive play space, that’s why we encourage parents to play with their children. It’s designed for your children to play with you or other kids and take on the roles of those in the community.”
According to Roosevelt, it was Mann that suggested the two invest in their own children’s learning studio where she and Roosevelt could teach preschool classes and hold children’s workshops.
Roosevelt quickly hopped on board, and she and Mann incorporate not only the children’s play aspect into the studio, but they also host art classes, Spanish lessons, music classes, birthday parties, preschool readiness classes, and yoga classes, as well as story time every weekday at 10 a.m.
In addition, inadvertently, they have found that playing in their studio has helped a number of children overcome some of their daily fears simply by confronting them.
“A lot of kids don’t like to go to the doctor,” Roosevelt said. “You come here and you can dress up as the doctor and play with the medical equipment, which can help take away a lot of the fear associated with that.”
Despite having been in business for under a year, the reaction from parents in the community, according to Roosevelt, has been remarkable.
And positive reviews can only mean one thing in the world of business: more than a pint size expansion.
“A lot of people ask when we’re coming to their city,” Roosevelt said. “We have people from all over that come here. So we’re definitely looking to expand, hopefully by next year.”