In the former home of Sanford’s YMCA, a new facility seeks to give school-aged kids a place to unwind (and learn) through play.
Educational Playtime Too, located at 860 Spring Lane, makes full use of the ample spaces for recreation created by its former tenant. In the open-ended concept, kids can pursue games of H.O.R.S.E or the half-court basketball, practice their moves in the gym, or take advantage of stations for art and imaginative play.
The facility is the third of its kind for Tanika Harris, a former teacher who founded Educational Playtime in Greensboro 15 years ago. After expanding to a second location in that city, she jumped at the chance to open Educational Playtime Too in Sanford.
“The school-aged program gives us the opportunity to provide social-emotional learning,” she says. “We want to give kids what they need to have fun without the stressors that can be present in a classroom, or wherever they might be studying right now.”
Though the model is based on after-school enrichment, the facility will be open all day, from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., until schools return to full-time instruction. And, for kids who need extra time with schoolwork or a place for virtual learning, a classroom stocked with desks, books and lounge chairs exists for just that.
Educational Playtime Too is staffed by program director Chris McLaughlin, who holds a degree in elementary education from Sandhills Community College and has a long history of running youth programs, from the Country Club of North Carolina to the Armed Services YMCA. He currently volunteers as an Assistant Scoutmaster to a boy scout troop in Sanford.
One of Chris’ favorite additions to the space is a room with glow-in-the-dark options for gaming — from the big screen to blacklight corn hole.
“I knew coming in that the space needed a ton of options, that could adapt to how every kid likes to play,” he says. “This is a place that kids will look forward to coming to when their parents have to work.”
Enrollment is now open, at $125 per week per child. Teachers can take advantage of a discount, with enrollment set at $110 per child per week.
Learn more about Educational Playtime at educationalplaytimetoo.com, or contact the Sanford facility at firstname.lastname@example.org 919-292-2263.