The Ultimate Plugged-In Parents' Resource Guide

From the best of A (art classes) to Z (zit control), we've got your kids covered.



The Ultimate Plugged-In Parents’

Resource Guide

 

If you have kids, you know that parenting isn't a full-time job; it's an 18-year (and longer!) adventure. To make your journey a little less scary, we've compiled the ultimate directory of parenting resources—from art classes for toddlers to zapping teens' zits—that every Westchester grown-up should know. Cut it out and keep it handy—you won’t want this to get lost in the Bermuda Triangle of permission slips, homework, and school bake-sale notices known as your kitchen counter.

 

By Laurie Yarnell

Illustrations by Caitlin Kuhwald

 

The upside: our county offers countless family-friendly resources. The downside: it’s difficult to choose the best of the bunch. Don’t know where to go, what to do, or whom to call? Relax. We’ve interviewed the most experienced experts, chatted with the choosiest childcare professionals, and peeked into the Palm Pilots of some of the county’s pickiest parents. (And yes, we used some of our good old-fashioned, finely-tuned yenta skills, too.) The result? A guide to help you be a better, or at least less frazzled, parent.

 

A is for Artsy Adventures

 

You know their masterpieces are just as good (better?) than, say, that all-black untitled “art” that hangs in MoMA (it’s not far from the all-white one). So if you’d like to encourage your young artists’ creative talents (but prefer they express themselves on surfaces other than your new silk wallcovering), outsource their artistic education and adventures to:

 

CLAY ART CENTER OF WESTCHESTER

40 Beech St., Port Chester

(914) 937-2047

www.clayartcenter.org

Hands-on pottery and ceramics classes for ages 6-12 and teens.

 

THE RYE ARTS CENTER

51 Milton Rd., Rye (914) 967-0700; www.ryeartscenter.org

A treasure trove of creative classes and workshops including cartooning, digital photography, sculpture, painting and drawing, etc., in a cozy old house.

 

WESTCHESTER ART WORKSHOP

Westchester County Center

196 Central Ave., White Plains (914) 606-7500

27 N. Division St., Peekskill (914) 606-7300

www.sunywcc.edu/extension_sites/west_art_workshop/west_art_workshop.htm

Classes in ceramics, cartooning, animation, mixed media, etc., for kids 6-15, taught by professional artists in fully equipped studios.

 

B is for Brain-Boosting Books, Toys, and Games

 

If little Philomena is not quite hooked on phonics, and Alex is still anxious about adding and subtracting (or if you’re just tired of tripping over weapon-toting action figures, bratty little Bratz, and Barbie’s stilettos), extract them from the Xbox and head over here to get a jump on the Ivy League track (can we spell “pressure?”):

 

SCHOLASTIC STORE

45 Central Park Ave., Scarsdale

(914) 725-7201; www.scholastic.com

This 5,000-plus-square-foot, must-be-seen-to-be-believed “retail-

entertainment destination” also offers a full schedule of free author readings, character visits, and story-times.

 

EDUCATIONAL WAREHOUSE

60 S. Broadway, White Plains

(914) 682-ABCD; www.educationalwarehouse.com

Lots of educational games, books, tapes, CDs, and DVDs, plus school and crafts supplies for teachers and students.

 

GALAPAGOS BOOKS

22A Main St., Hastings-on-Hudson (914) 478-2501 

A cozy shop with an excellent selection of multi-cultural literature (everything from board books to novels) in Spanish, Italian, Japanese, French, and German. Plus, story-times and author visits.

 

C is for (Ultra) Cool Clothing

 

Attention all personal shoppers/funding sources (i.e., moms) with ultra-fussy fashionista teen and ’tween clients: here’s where to fill that maddening gap between Gap Kids and haute couture:

 

BOO GIRLS

157 Katonah Ave., Katonah (914) 232-8082

Newly enlarged, and chock full of must-have brands like Juicy and Solo.

 

KNOYZZ

13 Rye Ridge Plz., Rye Brook

(914) 690-1606

41 S. Moger Ave., Mount Kisco

(914) 242-0300

Trendy-type moms can do some damage here, too (if their clients/offspring will permit them).

 

LF

5 Boniface Cir., Scarsdale (914) 725-4655

Same “trendy mom” description as above.

 

NEW YORK DOLLS

32 Main St., Mount Kisco

(914) 244-3655

Fun, high-end fashions by ABS, Betsey Johnson, Annette Lepore, Yaya, and more.

 

D is for Dance

 

Is there a future Laker girl, Alvin Ailey star, or Dancing with the Stars contestant pirouetting around your playroom? Parents of both serious classical dance students and kids who just want to get down and boogie recommend:

 

CENTRAL PARK DANCE

450 Central Park Ave., Scarsdale (914) 723-2940

Classes in everything from aerobics to ballet to tap. Check out its on-site

boutique of hard-to-hunt down

dance, exercise, gymnastics, and

skating attire.

 

CITY CENTER DANCE

236 East Post Rd., White Plains

(914) 328-1881

www.citycenterdance.com

Directed by Dina Giordano, a Purchase College grad, performer, and assistant coach of the Westchester Wildfire Dance Team, this studio is known for its jazz, hip-hop, and tap instruction.

 

DANCE CAVISE

273 Halstead Ave.

Harrison

(914) 381-5222

206 Oakridge Commons

South Salem

(914) 533-6501

www.dancecavise.com

Founded 17 years ago by professional dancer Joe Antony Cavise, it offers professional instruction in all movement disciplines.

 

E is for Etiquette

 

Some of us would be thrilled to have our little heathens, ahem, youngsters, master asking for something without shrieking, banging, or falling on the floor kicking wildly (“Can’t you say please, please?”). Others are looking to instruct their future CEOs and socialites on the finer points of dining on, say, escargots and making polite dinner-party chit-chat. Either way, you are cordially invited to let these experts teach your kids to mind their manners:

 

MANNERS FOR CHILDREN,

THE ETIQUETTE ADVANTAGE

New Rochelle (914) 738-2398

Five-week courses ($53+), Saturday etiquette luncheons ($95 for three hours), and private lessons ($100 for two hours) offered at various locations.

 

MELISSA LEONARD

Harrison

(914) 844-1068 www.establishyourselfny.com

Trained at the Protocol School of Washington, Leonard offers group classes (a three-hour session for up to six students: approximately $150+ per person) and private sessions (three two-and-one-half hour sessions for one or two kids: $400-$1,000 per child).

 

F is for Fencing

 

En garde! What could Zorro, the Three Musketeers, and your young athlete have in common? Try fencing (“physical chess”), one of the hottest sports around, at one of the top training facilities in the tri-state area:

 

FENCING ACADEMY OF WESTCHESTER (FAW)

40 Saw Mill River Rd. Hawthorne

(914) 345-5005

www.fencewestchester.com

Students fence in local, national, and international competitions, on Ivy League teams—or just for fun.

 

G is for Great Gifts To Grow On

 

Whoa, baby! Looking for the perfect present to welcome a new wee one into the world or bring a smile to the face of a big sibling? This charming boutique is one of our favorite sources for exquisite gifts for newborns through toddler. Particularly noteworthy: a super selection of personalized items—everything from bibs to blankets—and made-to-order book and accessory gift baskets. 

 

CLASSIC BABY

1903 Palmer Ave., Larchmont

(914) 833-8650; www.classicbabyshop.com

Grandma alert—the place to find something extra-special for those extra-special grand-

children of yours.

 

 

H is for Horseback Riding

 

Raising a rider? If he’s outgrown the carnival pony ride circuit, get him up and into the saddle at one of these stables offering excellent instruction for junior equestrians:

 

FOX HILL FARMS

204 Old Sleepy Hollow Rd., Pleasantville

(914) 769-9813; www.foxhillfarms.com

Private instruction (one-half hour for $50; $100 for one hour) and group classes ($65 for one hour with up to six kids) conducted in outdoor and indoor rings.

 

FORGET-ME-NOT FARM

42 June Rd., North Salem

(914) 276-3972

Private lessons (one-half hour for $60) and group classes ($60 for one hour, maximum four children) offered.

 

 

I is for Instant Info

 

Newly launched by the United Way: one free call to “211” from a landline will connect you to a real live human being trained to make informed referrals to all health and human services in the county and surrounding regions, including mental health support groups, intervention services, local schools, food and shelter assistance ser-vices, rent assistance, and other social services. Program this into your speed dial:

 

“211”

The Hudson Valley Regional Call Center

366 Central Park Ave, White Plains

From 7 am to 7 pm daily.

 

 

J is for Junior Chess Champs

 

Want your little prodigy to master strategies for checkmate, not Grand Theft Auto? This 15-year-old children's chess club is open to students in grades 1 to 6 from beginners to nationally ranked competitors. Check out:

 

NATIONAL SCHOLASTIC CHESS

FOUNDATION

Westchester Chess Center

Girls Scout House

10 Wayside La., Scarsdale

(914) 683-5322; www.nscfchess.org

Meets Saturday mornings and offers chess

problem-solving, fun games, competitive play, and lectures. Registration: $100 per child.

 

 

K is for Keyboarding

 

No kid can survive without knowing his way around a keyboard (and IM-ing skills don’t count). TheLnews: typing isn’t taught in school anymore. The J news: thanks to popular parent demand, it is here:

 

Imagine Tomorrow Classes

At Keyboard Kids

44 Purchase St., Rye

(914) 921-2024

At Kids Tech Interactive Learning Center

Mount Tom Rd., New Rochelle

158 Summerfield St., Scarsdale

(914) 472-7210; www.imaginetomorrow.com

$295 for eight one-hour small group classes.

 

 

L is for Language Study

 

Say Buongiorno, Bonjour, Buenos Dias, or Guten Tag, to making learning a second language fun. Parents who’d rather hear “I’m bored” or “I need more money” in a different language (one they preferably can’t possibly understand) will want to check out:

 

THE LANGUAGE EXCHANGE

83 N. Greeley Ave., Chappaqua

(914) 238-2614

www.foreignlanguageexchange.com

Private and group classes in more than 18 languages taught by native-speaking professional teachers.

 

LA PIAZZA DI CAROLINA

“L’Angolo dei Bambini” (The Children’s Corner)

116 Alta Vista Dr., Crestwood

(914) 793-2629

www.Lapiazzadicarolina.com

Students learn Italian through stories, playing games, singing songs, and making art. Weekly one-hour classes for kids through 5th grade: $425 per semester.

 

THE LITTLE LANGUAGE LEAGUE

22 Purdy Ave., Rye

(914) 921-9075

www.languageleague.com

Using the fundamentals of Montessori philosophy, students 6 months to age 10 (up to age 3 with parent or caregiver) are taught French, Spanish, Italian, and German through art, music, and

theater.

 

 

M is for Music Making

 

Your kids love Haydn, not hip-hop, and are moved by Brahms, not Britney: music to nearly every mother’s and father’s ears. Parents of musicians-in-the-making,

take note:

 

AMADEUS CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC

201 King St., Chappaqua

(914) 238-0388

382 Cantitoe St., Bedford

(914) 234-7280

Wainwright House, 260 Stuyvesant Ave., Rye

(914) 967-0987

www.amadeusconstervatory.com

 

HOFF-BARTHELSON MUSIC SCHOOL

25 School La., Scarsdale

(914) 723-1169; www.hbms.org

 

MUSIC CONSERVATORY OF

WESTCHESTER

216 Central Ave., White Plains

(914) 761-3900; www.musicconservatory.org

 

And if the thought of yet another round of “The Wheels on the Bus” makes you want to throw yourself under one, you and your little ones will love:

MUSIC FOR AARDVARKS

AND OTHER MAMMALS

157 Larchmont Ave., Larchmont

(914) 834-3383; www.aardvarksrocks.com

An ultra-hip kids music class alternative for ages 4 months to Pre-K featuring original rock, blues, and folk-influenced music and movement.

 

N is for Nutritious Noshing

 

Here’s some sobering food for thought: 16 percent of kids ages 7 to 19 are overweight. Want yours to develop healthier eating habits? These registered dietitians and certified dietitian nutritionists, also moms, can help:

 

LISA ELLIS, MS, RD, CDN

1301 Mamaroneck Ave., Mamaroneck

(914) 761-4520

 

TRACIE DALESSANDRO, MS, RD, CSN

2 Peapond La., Briarcliff Manor

(914) 588-1270

 

 

O is for Organization

 

Is your child, family, or household drowning in a sea of permission slips, homework assignments, and team practice schedules? Not to worry. Program this number into your PDA (if you can find it under all that clutter):

 

OH, SO ORGANIZED!

Croton-on-Hudson

(914) 271-5673; www.ohsoorganized.com

The title on owner Linda Samuels’s business card says it all: “Organizing Maniac.”

 

 

P is for Parties

 

Gymnastics, pottery painting, and bowling bashes are just so last century. But even the most jaded juni

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