Happy 6th Birthday, Sara Marie!
When I arrived at the Montclair Learning Center, Executive Director Christiane Agkpo was gloved and putting together birthday party bags in a plastic bin. They were ready for delivery. "The parents choose what themed birthday they would like and I deliver a party bag filled with supplies to the birthday child and to each of the guests. There's an activity, a game and some candy in each. I have other party ideas that can be done remotely as well that we'll play with other household items." Sara Marie chose a sparkly Unicorn theme that included all the ingredients on how to make a glittery Unicorn slime kit.
"It's very easy. Let me show you!" Christiane opened one of the bags and whipped together a batch of slime in a matter of minutes. "It's fun and interactive. The kids really enjoy it."
MLC provides a variety of STEM-related educational programs throughout the year for students in grades K to 8, to include a pacesetting STEM+ Summer Camp, a new STEM educational playcenter, as well as a range of special STEM-theme birthday party options in addition to access to the latest STEM-related toys, games, and books.
"The Montclair Learning Center has been closed since March with uncertainty as to when we will open again for in-person programs, so we developed virtual programs in the meantime (classes, camp, parties)," says Christiane. "I am grateful for good health for myself and family. This period was an opportunity to bond and grow as a family."
We then spoke about the summer. On thier website, there is now an option for Small In-Person Summer Camps, in addition to several virtual camp options, a new trend following all the COVID-19 regulations. 'We specialize in computer science, learning games, math, science, and technology. Based on this focus, we have evolved into a leading-edge STEM learning center."
Since opening in 2004, the Montclair Learning Center has enriched the community with educational excellence and with learning that is "engaging, interesting, and fun."
Christiane holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Polytechnique Montreal and an MBA from Columbia University. "I am an engineer and tinkerer and make fun science experiments with my four kids at home all the time. When the opportunity came about to make STEAM fun for kids of all ages I jumped on it. I am excited to go to work every day and I am having fun teaching STEAM in a fun and engaging way. There is nothing like seeing the sparks in children’s eyes when they completed a project," she told me while building a structure she uses as a learning tool.
With many of the STEAM programs conducted virtually, Christiane has found a supportive community amongst other Montclair business owners and "all the signs that we are in it together even tough we are socially distant."
The Montclair Learning Center can be found at 360 Bloomfield Ave in Montclair or virtually at www.mlcplus.com, on Instagram @montclairlearningcenter or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mlcplus
For more on our Small Business COVID Documentary Series, please visit www.villagestudiophotos.com/blog