STEM It Up!: Kids Learn & Play at Zaniac’s First NYC Location

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Everyone has gotten the memo: Kids learn through play. Math and science enrichment spot Zaniac takes this idea to heart, offering many educational courses that look a lot like the classes your kid takes “just for fun.” The first NYC location just opened on the Upper East Side, and we put on our thinking caps to get the lowdown on this new spot.

The First “Zaniac”
Zaniac was founded in Park City, Utah in 2012 by economist, best-selling author, White House advisor and software developer of educational curriculum Paul Zane Pilzer. It began as a center where kids could come and learn Pilzer’s own “Zane Math” system, an approach to teaching math using paper and pencil while also incorporating technology for assessment, customized curriculum, and daily online parent-teacher feedback. Based on parents’ desire for classes that encouraged a love of science and technology and self-directed inquiry, offerings soon expanded beyond math classes to subjects like LEGO robotics, computer programming and Minecraft.

Zaniac Upper East Side

photo: via Zaniac Upper East Side Facebook page

Zaniac Comes to the East Coast
Local businesswomen (and moms) Camilla Gazal and Flavia Naslausky brought the franchise to the East coast, opening centers in Greenwich and Westport, Connecticut, and last fall the pair debuted NYC’s first Zaniac on the Upper East side.

The Basics
Zaniac math and science curriculum is designed to help kids in grades K-8 improve (or skip ahead) in their learning.  Most classes meet for 90 minutes once a week for six weeks total, and have a maximum of five students per instructor. Kids’ skill-level and progress are tracked both at the beginning of a class (to determine a student’s needs and customize a curriculum) and throughout the course through assessments, so you, the parents can see the results of the program. Zane math is the core offering, but what really caught our eye are the science and technology classes, which work to help kids learn, gain advanced skills and build confidence in these areas — all while playing and having fun.


photo: via Zanic Upper East Side Facebook page

Not Just Fun & Games
If you’ve ever wondered if all the Minecraft really has any educational payoff, Zaniac may be for you. In addition to engaging kids through science play, Zaniac makes sure parents are completely satisfied with their experience. Parents can track track kids’ milestones, assessments and achievements, which are scanned and uploaded online to view at any time.

For extra help, Zaniac offers a homework center, where (for an additional fee) children can get help from a trained instructor, use computers, and play educational games. The homework center is available for students who are enrolled in a six-week course, and would like additional time to work with an instructor on their school homework in any subject (regardless of what Zaniac course they are enrolled in). Another plus? Looking for long-term private tutoring in a subject? Zaniac offers that too.

zaniac upper east side birthday

photo: via Zaniac Upper East Side Facebook page

Camps & Parties
There’s more than one way to do Zaniac. The educational center also holds camps on school holidays and vacations, as well as summer break. Single day sessions allow students to attend for half days (morning or afternoon sessions) or full days and with select programming based on the center’s standard, full-length curriculum.

If your kids’ crew is more excited by science than soccer, consider a STEM-focused party at Zaniac, where they’ll host a bash for kids in grades K through 8. Children play together to learn STEM skills through games like programming a robot, building a video game, or creating a biome, and birthday packages include beverages, paper goods, food, and a STEM-themed cake! Offered Saturdays from 4:30-6:30 p.m. or Sundays from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., parties run $1,100 for up to 20 kids.

261 E 78th St., 3rd Fl.
Upper East Side

Has your child attended a class or camp at Zaniac? Tell us about their experience in the comments below!

—Ilyssa Smith