Genius Kids Cub Strives To Remove Gender Labels Genius Kids Club: Removing Gender Labels in Education On a Friday night, over pizza and juice boxes, while visiting my longtime friend Kelli and her son, we asked our children, ages 5 and 11, what they would like to do if they had their own “club”. Their answers proved to be inspiring and from that we literally launched a business. We felt destined to create something unique and extraordinary for our kids and knew that if our kids loved it, so would others. Armed with a degree from UCLA in education, years of teaching both preschool and elementary school and directing a preschool, Kelli started gathering the data and doing the research. With the mindset of everything coming from the heart, Kelli ultimately put together the exoskeleton of a much needed studio offering art and science for children, boys and girls of a cross section of ages. My degree from Marymount California University in Early Childhood Education and years of teaching preschool provided the foundation to create Genius Kids Club with Kelli. We absolutely knew that we wanted a space where all children could explore, test out theories, express their identity and figure things out for themselves. We had found the key to our new business and now it was time to unlock the door. The door to the studio was officially unlocked and opened for business on Monday, August 22 with open houses in the days preceding. Genius Kids Club was welcomed into the Studio City community with open arms; parents expressing their thanks at providing a “club” that every child was welcome to join. There are classes every day for ages 10 months to 10 years. Monday, Wednesday and Friday are art days with Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday featuring science. Sunday is a combination of both art & science. The true joy of having a business where the clientele are children means it’s chalk full questions and every day is filled with a plethora of teachable moments. Just when you think you know something, along comes a child to show you how to look at it differently. Be it the clients or one of our own, Kelli and I have learned that the collective of children’s thinking is changing and since opening the studio, the kids have made it clear that art and science are not mutually exclusive nor gender specific. While primarily there is a balance of boys and girls in each of the classes, it is still an ongoing campaign to encourage girls to participate in science. Science camps have experienced a larger enrollment of boys so everyone is experiencing the idea of a gender specific genre such as science. Genius Kids Club strives everyday to not have gender labels when is comes to art and science. Whether they are painting mugs as a gift for their parents or wanting to find out the chemical reaction between and a base and an acid, there are girls and boys sitting at our tables with their aprons and science goggles on, anxiously awaiting what’s next. www.geniuskidsla.com Bet you’re thinking “how do you do science with an 10 month old?” Science is simply the study of the world through observation and experiment. Looking, noticing and trying. That is exactly what we do with these precious babies and that is the way they are figuring out absolutely everything. The basis is to work with their 5 senses and how they use those senses to understand all that is around them. Now the 3 – 10 year olds, they are all about the mess, the bigger the better and and the motto is “Bring It On!” Be it a girl or a boy, making a mess and not getting trouble for it is AWESOME! Recently there was an experiment (an acid, a base and a little red food coloring) with some kids and unexpectedly, the experiment wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do, the container was opened at the precise moment that all its contents exited with intense velocity and suddenly the studio was covered with goo! The squeals of laughter, the questions that followed and on why that happened facilitated a discussion with the kids ultimately proving once again that they are listening and very curious and want to explore. Of course using a mop to clean up the ceiling was memorable for all there and an experience like no other. At Genius Kids Club, every kid has a place to explore, to discover and ask their questions. Kelli and I have created a space specifically for kids, where parents can confidently drop their little ones off and know that they will be having a discussion on the way home using words like chemistry, polymers, acid, bases, among other things. We sincerely LOVE what we’re doing everyday, and look forward to expanding and reaching out to more and more kids. We truly believe that there is a little genius in every child just waiting to show the world what they can do! Stephenie Hope Stephenie, co-owner of Genius Kids Club, has a degree in Early Childhood Education, has taught preschool in the Los Angeles area. After years of happily working television production and a stint in publicity, she found her way back to working with children and the immense joy when working with kids.