While New York City offers a plethora of options when it comes to keeping kids busy during the day or after-school, it can be hard to find the right thing at the right time. Which is why a collective parental “hooray!” can be heard ringing out whenever a new space with more choices opens its doors. The Upper East Side recently scored big with the debut of ECNS, Etc., a new spot for enrichment classes for little and big kids alike. With classes ranging from soccer to parkour, the newest space to hit the East side scene will keep your kids busy, happy and away from their tech-y gadgets.

Fresh choices at a Familiar Spot
Those on the Upper East Side know the Epiphany Community Nursery School— commonly referred to as “ECNS” — as it’s one of the longest-standing nursery schools in the city. Forty-plus years strong, it’s now offering enrichment programs for kids at the pre-nursery-school level, up to age eight. Anyone can enroll in the classes (i.e., you don’t have to be a student at the school to take them.)

Dubbed “ECNS Etc.,” the program’s founder Wendy Levey describes its philosophy by saying, “It comes from an educational point of view. We believe that children learn orally, visually, and or kinesthetically, so everything we do reinforces that idea that all children learn differently.” Read on for some of the highlights and benefits of ECNS, Etc.

One-stop Shopping for Parents and Caregivers
Tired of running around the city delivering different kids to different programs? Now you don’t have to, because ECNS, Etc. offers classes to kids ranging in age from 0-8 years. “One sibling can take one class and an older or younger sibling can take a different class. This makes it easier and safer for parents and caregivers,” remarks Levey on her decision to run programs for a wide range of ages.

Music, Sports & More
While you might have a favorite sports space, art studio or music enrichment program, ECNS, Etc. offers traditional options (Soccer Shots for your little Mia Hamm and Rockin’ with Andy! music classes for your mini Bruno Mars) as well as those you might not have heard of, and are certainly worth a try for kids looking for a new adventure. Parkour, a combo martial arts/gymnastics experience, is great exercise, or Hip Hop could be just the option your child craves if traditional sports is not their cup of tea.

For kiddies (or parents) that crave a little OHM in their lives, there’s Yogi Beans. At Yogi Beans babies and mothers or caregivers can do a stretching, peaceful class together, while older children can take classes on their own if they wish. all classes are designed to help manage stress and encourage heart, body, mind, and social awareness.

Engaging the Mind & the Need to Build
Is your child interested in chess? They can learn that here, too. At ECNS, Etc., experts guide kids so they’ll be playing with peers in no time.

If your child would rather build with LEGO bricks than check mate, the LEGO Brick Artistry class might be the perfect option, and it’s taught by a major LEGO master. LEGO Brick Artist Cody Wells has been featured in films, on TV and at parties throughout the city, and he works with kids to discover their imagination’s capabilities by using LEGOS in new and expansive ways.

This class encourages creativity while utilizing small motor coordination, eye-hand coordination and planning ability. While these programs have just started up, Levey is already getting great feedback. One current student has commented: “Parkour and LEGOS classes are the best classes ever!”

You Can Celebrate Here, Too
Birthday parties, especially for the littlest set can be quite overwhelming. How many of us have gathered everyone they know (and many unfamiliar faces, too) to celebrate their babies’ 1st birthday, and seen their child totally melt down from all the commotion?

One solution may be to host it on familiar ground. With basic party options and add-ons which can include catering for adults from Agata and Valentina, you can make a party at whatever level you’re comfortable with, from the Basic Party which starts at $995 for 15 children, to a two-hour soiree for 20 kids starting at $1950. Highlights include: any of the activities offered (art, music, LEGO fun, parkour, science, and more) and one of the unique add-ons is use of the rooftop playground. (For more info on hosting a party at ECNS, Etc., click here.)

Known Commodity
Basically, what it comes down to is that its staff understands that every kid is different. ECNS, Etc. prides itself on its experienced staff. They’ve seen it all and know how to handle it all. And while ECNS. Etc. is made up of after-school programs, it’s clear the philosophies of the long-standing nursery school for which its named are the backbone of the thoughts behind this new program. Levey concludes, “We are always working at making the children we have with us better learners, kind people and active socially-responsible citizens. All we do is ‘kids’ and that’s what we care about. They are the future leaders of the world, after all!”

ECNS, Etc.
510 East 74th St.
Upper East Side
Online: ecnsnyc.org

Have you tried a class at ECNS, Etc.? Tell us about your experience in the comments! 

—Kim Sunshine

photos: ECNS