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Testimonials

"The whole experience was magical. Serena is excellent at facilitating a supportive and creative environment for the kids to learn and explore in nature and build social/emotional skills. I saw very visible growth in my 7-year-old son."

Just wanted to give a shout out to Sideways School! It is a wonderful nature based social emotional play class, taught by an amazing teacher Serena. She is so supportive of children. Each week we get photos and recaps of the play the kids engage in and I love seeing them develop games, solve conflicts, and learn how to emotionally regulate with her support. I especially love how non-judgmental she is of the games children play and how she gives them the space to design and lead their own games and adventures. 
     I originally enrolled my daughter as I wanted her to have some experience of drop off classes before she starts kindergarten this fall, but the experience has been so magical that we will continue through the summer and beyond. My daughter has become more confident, has strategies to soothe herself, and is getting better at respecting boundaries. I really want to prioritize opportunities for sustained, spontaneous play in nature where kids are responsible for their own ideas, play and solving their own conflicts. Especially as her world becomes more academic in kindergarten. 

"We have seen amazing strides in R.'s emotional regulation in the last few weeks and I credit a great deal of that to you and the support you give the kids. This has been a month of huge growth for him in many ways, and I know that the consistency and thoughtfulness you put into the mornings with them has so much to do with it."

"I love hearing about the classes where they had to come up with ideas and then negotiate/compromise to ultimately build something together. I am thankful they've had
a chance to work on these skills with you!"

"Thank you for returning the happiest, muddiest little girl to me yesterday! I am thrilled with E.'s enthusiasm for her classmates, the outdoors, and your weekly sessions."

"Serena is one of the kindest, most loving people on planet Earth! She understands children and how they learn differently, and visualizes a fun and exciting approach to education." 

 
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Why "Sideways School"?

“Sideways School” is a play on “Wayside School,” the setting of Sideways Stories from Wayside School, by Louis Sachar, one of my children's favorite books from elementary school. In Sachar’s words:

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Wayside School was accidentally built sideways.

It was supposed to be only one story high, with thirty classrooms all in a row. Instead it is thirty stories high, with one classroom on each story.

 

The builder said he was very sorry.

The children at Wayside like having a sideways school. They have an extra-large playground.

At Sideways School, Prospect Park is both our classroom and our extra-large playground! And our off-kilter, joyful learning is just as magical as it is at Wayside—maybe more!