• Wed, Apr 23 - 9:00 am ET

NYC Private Baby School Charges 35K A Year So Dumb Babies Can Play With Rocks

Private School Daycare Explore And Discover There is a new private school for babies opening in Gramercy this fall and sending your baby to school there will only cost the bargain price of 33,492 dollars! Explore + Discover, an eight-classroom learning center for children from three months to two years old, will launch September 8 and will be the first of 26 similar learning centers that will open across the city over the next few years. 26 similar schools, because there are more than just a handful of parents who have enough money to send their babies to a school to teach them how to play. I’m glaring at all of you jerks for not coming up with this idea so we could all swim in dollars like Scrooge McDuck right now.The description from the DNAinfo website reads as follows:

The 5,000-square-foot Gramercy center, which will serve roughly 80 children, will include an outdoor space with a sandpit and water play area, along with outdoor instruments like a large xylophone. Inside, one of the highlights will be the oversized bathroom sinks, which will be designed to encourage children to interact with water.

 

A large xylophone! BIG sinks! But that is not all your college tuition comparable money gets you, because your baby also gets to play with rocks:

“Teachers will be constructing the curriculum with the children,” said Jacqueline Marks, director of the Gramercy location. “Let’s say the teachers notice that the child keeps going back to the same basket of rocks day after day. They’ll watch to see what they’re doing with them. Are they knocking them together or lining them up?

35K a year so your dumb baby can play with a basket of rocks!

I am starting my own learning center which will cost half this money and won’t include any rocks. I mean, the article also states that there will be three teachers per class and class size is only between eight to 12 kids so I guess your baby will get a lot of attention, but for 35K? I suppose if you pay this cost when your baby is still in diapers you will be totally ready when you pay the same tuition for them to attend college.

(Image: Explore+Discover)

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  • Shea

    And to think my Master’s degree only cost me $25,000.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      That’s fine and all but until I see how you play with rocks idk if you got a good deal or not

    • Shea

      You get what you pay for, I guess.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      (I didn’t mean to rock shame you)

    • Shea

      You’re a bully, Eve. A BULLY, I SAY. ::speed-dials therapist::

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      You can blame this on the fact my childhood enrichment did not have enough rock time in it OK? :::also speed dials therapist:::

    • Kay_Sue

      I bet you knocked them together instead of lining them up. *side eyes*

  • Kay_Sue

    To think, whenever I see my kid playing with rocks, I just remind him not to put them in his mouth again.

    • Kendra

      There’s a decoration that we got for our wedding in my hutch. It’s a vase with rocks in it, basically. I have to remind my daughter at least once a week that rocks are not candy. She tries to sneak in there to eat them.

    • Kay_Sue

      Rocks are, apparently, delicious. Who knew?

    • momjones

      Add a little slug slime to them and the meal is complete. Protein!

    • Kay_Sue

      And rocks have to be good fiber, right? There is no way anyone is digesting that… ;)

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      Birds eat them to aid in digestion (we used to have baby ducks) so oddly I knew this http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/taxa/verts/archosaurs/gastroliths.php

      Human babies are totally the same as baby ducks, right?

    • Kay_Sue

      I think so, especially given my purely anecdotal evidence regarding my children’s love of baths and swimming pools.

  • Megan Zander

    Everyone take a knee while I explain why this place sounds awful: it’s for 3 month to 2 year old sect. Anyone have a kid in that age range who doesn’t immediately eat any sand they encounter? Or rocks for that matter? Water tables and sinks = multiple clothing changes a day, so good luck teaching them anything when you’re trying to convince a toddler to put some damn pants on and outdoor musical instruments = metal = stitches. So this basically sounds like you can pay a butt ton of money for people to tell your kid “no” while prying things out of his mouth and chasing his naked bottoms. Hard pass.

    • Valerie

      Take a knee. OMG, I just died. Thanks coach!

    • Butt Trophy Recipient

      Sure, but when I say take a knee, you run away!

      >:(

    • Valerie

      Queen Lightning bows down to no man.

    • Butt Trophy Recipient

      Are you positive? I’m gonna keep my ion you.

    • Valerie

      Better keep your ion the sky or you’ll miss me.

    • Butt Trophy Recipient

      Will do Val! I hear you cloud and clear.

    • Valerie

      Cirrus-ly. I hope you do.

    • Bethany Ramos

      LOL – I second that. HILARIOUS.

    • Jessifer

      I had a friend who was so proud she made a play area with mixed dried beans so that her 1 1/2 year old could “explore and experience the different colours and textures” (sigh). I told her to be careful her kid doesn’t shove one up her nose like my sister did when she was a kid. Sure enough, one week later… she’s retrieving dried beans from her kid’s nose.

    • Williwaw

      Leave that dried beans bean up the nose long enough and it will sprout! (My sister did that.)

    • Butt Trophy Recipient

      I’m pretty sure the tuition is more of an exclusionary device than anything else

      (“No poor people!”)

    • kay

      My baby gets sensory play with cheerios. Because she’ll eat anything else I put out. BRB, making my own school to charge a zillion dollars for. Tagline “kids don’t eat rocks here!”

  • Valerie

    Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.
    ::deep breath::
    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

  • Kendra

    So, that’s my entire salary. #inthewrongfield

    • Valerie

      You mean you aren’t willing to dedicate all of your earnings to your toddler’s Sink Play classes?!? You are an unfit mother.

    • Kendra

      Are you kidding me? I’m already on the phone with them right now putting her on the waiting list. What else do I go to work for but to make sure my daughter gets THE best rock education? It’s not like we need a house or food anyway.

    • Momma425

      Um, yeah, same here.
      Well, I guess cheap ol’ kindercare for my kid, where she can play with giant plastic toys that don’t get stuck in her orifaces.

  • Lee

    What a crock. This just sounds like Montessori for rich babies.

  • Alicia Kiner

    Other than the ridiculously high “tuition” how is this different than any other daycare? At that age, most daycares focus on play activities including blocks (rocks), music, water, sand, and even jungle gyms and other equipment that is size appropriate. People, if you want to throw money away, there are kids starving in this country, though no fault of their own. Do something about that.

  • Ursi

    If you installed a big sink and a rock garden so the local babies could come play in it for free people would think you were derranged. But as long as it costs more than a living wage it’s totally legit.

    • Katie Shell

      That would be awesome though!

  • Julia Sonenshein

    Can I teach at your learning center? I am really good at rocks.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      BYOBS (big sink)

    • Valerie

      I am also good at rocks but my real area of speciality is pebbles. It’s an intricate process weeding out the educational pebbles from the ones that are merely small rocks but I am well-versed.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      Um, you can choke on pebbles. This is why you cannot be an instructor at Explore + Discover. To the left Val
      http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-b8BOErqfPdo/Uy8pxAHoOhI/AAAAAAAABuU/ThDnPlabcw4/s1600/totheleft.gif

    • Valerie

      I am so ashamed. Moving along now, you won’t hear from me again.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      *Throws Val’s job application into the BIG sink*

    • Valerie

      HOW DARE YOU

    • Julia Sonenshein

      WE GOT THIS.

    • Valerie

      WE SO DO.

    • momjones

      I can come up with a reading list. Wait…that’s not playing. Think of the children; the CHILDREN!

    • Julia Sonenshein

      If they aren’t writing essays on rocks by the end of the week they aren’t getting their money’s worth.

    • momjones

      Thesis: Playing with rocks is the first indication of being a genius.

    • Butt Trophy Recipient

      And I’m good at rolls!

      You and me will be an awesome combination Jules!

    • Julia Sonenshein

      You’re welcome, CHILDREN OF AMERICA.

    • JJ

      Well you need to have a masters degree in rock play for that. Have you exclusively studied rock play at Harvard? hmmmm ;)

    • Julia Sonenshein

      I was valedictorian of my Harvard class in rocks!

  • Jessica

    My daycare costs about half my salary and I live in a city with a MUCH lower cost of living than NYC. This sounds about par for the course to me. Daycare is expensive, yo.

  • Alex Lee

    My first choice would still be Blue School:

    http://www.blueschool.org/

    Founded by the members of Blue Man Group. It also provides private, independent, preschool education all the way up through 5th grade.

    And, yes, there are rocks here, too.

    “Today, Blue School serves as New York City’s only stated “lab school.”
    Educators from around the corner and around the country think with us
    about how to support and nurture tomorrow’s change-agents, artists,
    executives, writers and inventors.”

    Today’s rock-eaters are tomorrow’s Gwyneth Paltrows.

  • elle

    I’m sure I’ll get flamed but I’d send my son there…..it’s about what I currently pay in a cheaper city and my son doesn’t even go every day. He’d be getting way more one on one attention too and those facilities sound way cooler then his.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      man daycare is so expensive

    • elle

      Yep,sadly it is. He a actually starts preschool in the fall and his tuition is so much cheaper. I’m excited and also planning on pulling an Indecent Proposal with all our extra money….

    • CMJ

      PICTURES.

    • WriterLady

      Holy crap! $36K for one child…and he doesn’t even attend full-time? That is insane! And I thought $1500 a month for one kid was outrageous in Columbus, Ohio. (Disclaimer: I did not send my son there, but a fairly wealthy coworker did, and, to my knowledge, it was the most expensive daycare/preschool in the metropolitan area at the time–around 3 years ago.) I’m so relieved to pay just $700 a month for a quality preschool in a smaller town. I just don’t know how people manage to live in enormous cities–NYC, LA, Chicago–on anything but a CEO-level salary.

    • elle

      Yes it is insane and trust me, me and my husband about had a heart attack when they told us.

  • Edwin

    That’s real unfair

  • CMJ

    Does the thought of children playing in over-sized bathroom sinks make anyone cringe??!?!

    • JJ

      It seriously just sounds like there talking about getting a bath basically. The other day I took a bath so I must have been doing water play too and I didn’t even know it! I am a big girl now. Next time I will be bringing rocks into the tub with me for bath tub rock time.

    • AP

      The school will provide a lifeguard for the bathrooms, in case Sink Playtime gets a little rowdy.

    • Alanna Jorgensen

      To think I’m usually yelling upstairs to my daughter to just wash her hands and stop playing in the sink and there had BETTER NOT BE WATER ALL OVER THE BATHROOM AGAIN.

    • CMJ

      Classic.

  • Maria Guido

    Nope.

  • TwentiSomething Mom

    I feel like sending your kid to the bestest rock school may ease the guilt some parents feel about sending kids off to daycare. Like, I can’t stay home with you but I can make sure you get more sand/sink/rock time than I would ever be able to provide myself.

    • WriterLady

      I doubt there is any guilt. People this wealthy generally tend to have either mom staying at home or a live-in nanny/nannies—and often both. Mom can go to the gym or get a pedicure while the kids are cared for for a period of time. That’s fine if you have the money, but I don’t think there’s any guilt involved. Methinks this is just another way to impress or one-up the neighbors.

  • CW

    As mom to a child with autism, I have to say that there ARE some kids who do actually need to be taught how to play. One of my daughter’s goals both in her IEP at her special ed preschool and in her behavioral therapy treatment plan is being able to interact appropriately with a play partner. That said, typically developing kids do NOT need to be taught how to play.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      That makes sense and I totally appreciate that, but I saw noooooo mention of special needs babies on their dumb website

    • Rachel Sea

      I would like to think that there are tons of special needs families that can afford $35K for daycare. I don’t know any, but I like to imagine it. In the meantime I’ll just be putting together this sensory toy board with second hand whisks and hairbrushes.

  • mommystired

    I’m sorry but whenever I read about places like this, it makes me think of “The Early Human School” from Little Fockers. My kid goes to a church daycare/preschool and it’s like $30 a day. The sinks there seem a bit small, but they have a TON of rocks.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      man, you just rock bragged

    • mommystired

      Yeah, sorry. Can’t help it. I really feel that this is going to give her a HUGE advantage when she hits kindergarten. I mean, the other kids won’t have near the tactile response or spatial relationship skills she will have with rocks. They’ll just be like, playing with them.

    • Rachel Sea

      Is she lining the rocks up, or banging them together? Have the teachers written you a report on the arc her rock skills have taken?

  • tk88

    People in NYC are always looking for stupid things to spend money on. This is ridiculous.

  • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

    I need to share with you guys this Facebook comment posted on the article: Yes, beyond ridiculous money, but your article title ‘dumb babies’ aggravates me way more than the idea of sensory play for the elite. Let rich people spend their money on whatever they please. Of course no one needs to spend this kind of money, but that doesn’t stop rich people from buying ridiculously expensive cars, clothes or other items either. It doesn’t mean the concept isn’t valid and it doesn’t necessitate calling them ‘dumb babies’

    (I am NOT joking)

    • Kay_Sue

      *trots over to FB to start shit*

      Mwahahahahahhahahahahahahahaha

    • WriterLady

      Sounds like the irony is lost on this individual. Infants can be neither smart nor dumb…it was a play on words. *Some* rich people do dumb things, including throwing astronomical amounts of money at an ordinary daycare for infants who are not geniuses simply because mom and dad have 8 or 9 figures in their bank account. The concept is ridiculous, and the kids are a product of the idiocy bred by extreme wealth.

    • Jallun-Keatres

      Technically, dumb means unable to speak!

    • WriterLady

      It has two meanings. The meaning you presented, and also “lacking intelligence.” Check any dictionary, but I’d suggest Merriam-Webster. (I’m a word nerd, as it’s my profession.) :) I’m pretty sure the irony here is somewhere in between. It’s a “dumb” concept (meaning ‘stupid’), but I guess we could make the case that infants can’t speak, so all infants could technically be called ‘dumb.’

    • WriterLady

      I would also argue that the meaning “unable to speak” for the word ‘dumb’ is archaic, as most people would not use that terminology to describe someone who is mute. We’ve kind of moved past the offensive terms for people with cognitive or physical disorders, just like ‘retarded’ is no longer acceptable.

    • JJ

      Oh my lord people are ridiculously over sensitive now a days.
      Come on you hurt all those “dumb babies” feelings with that title. Somewhere right now a 12 month is crying because of your choice of words. How does it feel lol? Even though the kid can’t read or write,has very little to no memory of life and doesn’t understand most words it just knows you said “dumb babies”. Clearly you didn’t have enough rock time or water time as a baby at a prestigious rich baby school.

  • WriterLady

    Ehh, what else would you expect from the filthy rich? I doubt that the majority of these one-percenters are so concerned with the ideological notion that their babies need to attend an institution that costs more than most people’s college tuition in order to be successful later in life. No, it’s a race to outdo one another. I really couldn’t care less, as it doesn’t really affect the public in any way shape or form. But I guarantee that these kids will go from cradle to adulthood, sheltered beyond belief and constantly force-fed the notion that they are entitled to the best of the best in all facets of life. This is simply a case of keeping up with Joneses for the ultra-wealthy…the beginning course in a lifelong ‘program’ designed to separate those who fancy themselves as a new breed of aristocrats from the general public.

  • JJ

    Everyone I want to introduce you to JJ’s daycare. Please for the low price of $35,000 a year your kids can come to my backyard and play on only the most standard grass and soil and there is rocks too! Wowza. When your kids are dirty from play we have a fantastic backyard hose from Kent to hose them off and get them in touch with nature and play. If there really dirty they will to get interact with water in the shower in the bathroom what a privilege. And wait for it… on the really special days kids will get to interact and develop their minds in the sand pit aka the turtle shaped sand container kids can sit in. If your kid attends my school or that school in the article and pays this much then your either the biggest, naive sucker ever or your one of those parents who thinks your 11 month old is gifted because they can take there diaper off and bang rocks together. Man whoever created that school is a genius I must get in on this scam.

  • Emily A.

    I have frequently used the phrase, “dumb as a bucket of rocks,” but if that bucket can pull in $35k/year/kid, maybe it’s not so dumb after all.

  • Erica

    12 kids/3 teachers sounds like a pretty standard 4:1 daycare ratio, not something incredible (for example, in IL, the law is 4:1 through 14 months, and then 5:1 over that up to 2)

    • Erica

      (And if the groups are mixed, the ratio is based on the lowest age, so if they’re keeping babies and toddlers mixed into the same class, it would be 4:1)

  • val97

    This just makes me want to open my own dumb school for kids with parents with too much money.

  • Jallun-Keatres

    Good. Steaming. Garrett. Are you serious right now?

  • AP

    This isn’t an “education” daycare, it’s a resume daycare. So when Princess Muffy “applies” to the oh-so-selective private Gossip Girl-esque kindergartens, she can say she is a graduate of the prestigious “Explore + Discover Academy” and learned how to play the xylophone.

    Also, I have an acquaintance who’s an OT for snooty-pants private schools in the NY area, and apparently, all she does is help three-year-olds play with PlayDoh and color to “improve their fine motor skills.” Because three-year-olds generally need the help of someone with a Master’s degree to figure out how to smush PlayDoh and scribble.

    • Ursi

      I dunno, that sounds like a pretty genius way to make easy money. Maybe that masters degree helped her figure out how to land that sweet gig.

    • Williwaw

      I am going to name my next cat “Princess Muffy”.

  • Tauren Stiles

    Sounds like daycare to me and it costs the same where we live. I read an article recently (don’t remember where) that said annual daycare costs more than college tuition in half the states in the US. It’s a national problem.

    • WriterLady

      It is true that daycare rates are excessively high–and, yes, as much as college tuition in many places. A November 2013 article from CNN presented the following results about the highs and lows of full-time daycare: “Last year, average center-based child care costs rose by nearly 3% nationwide, according to a report from the nonprofit Child Care Aware of America. Full-time care for an infant ranged from a high of $16,430 a year in Massachusetts to [a low of] $4,863 in Mississippi. Meanwhile, center-based care for a four-year-old hit a high of $12,355 in Massachusetts and a low of $4,312 in Mississippi.” Now, $16,000 is certainly ridiculous, but this is the state with the highest rates (excluding the super-pretentious centers that wealthy parents choose to send their kids to, and possibly centers in certain areas of NYC and a couple of other major cities). Still, it’s a far cry from $36,000, which is double the rate in Massachusetts—the state with the highest cost of daycare. http://money.cnn.com/2013/11/04/pf/child-care-costs/

    • WriterLady

      And another report that corroborates this information. This is based on an official study with research conducted by academics. $36,000 appears to be a significant anomaly, but I will agree that even $12K-$14K or so is as much as tuition to your typical state university. http://usa.childcareaware.org/sites/default/files/cost_of_care_2013_103113_0.pdf

    • Tauren Stiles

      We live in Chicago. Our daycare charges $15/hr (per kid). 15x 50 hours x 52 weeks =$39,000. The cnn article used the rates from the bottom of the spectrum for each state. It is, in no way, representative of the median or the average cost for daycare in each state.

  • Geogirl

    Hey now, I’m all for kids playing with rocks. I spent many happy hours turning them into dust as a child and now I’m a budding geologist with a house full of rocks : )

    • Williwaw

      Me too, though I think that day care tuition is comparable to the cost of my grad school!

      Also, I might be crazy, but giving a toddler access to a bucket of projectiles doesn’t sound like the greatest idea. Mine throws everything he gets his hands on, so Nerf is really much much better than rock.

  • Katie Shell

    People that spend time with children are undervalued and underpaid. Play is undervalued. This is what kids that age should be doing. Sounds like a crazy expensive waldorf school. Obviously this is overpriced, but it’s not as a ridiculous a concept as some are making it out to be.

  • SarahJesness

    If places can charge this much to watch babies, man, I gotta get in on this business!

    Anyway, why not just buy a membership to a children’s museum or a damn zoo? Many have interactive stands and such that children would enjoy, some would even be liked by adults. Getting to hold a stuffed lion’s head (don’t worry, it died of old age) is a good way to grasp how big they really are!

  • MarianD

    With the exception of that frankly spectacular ratio, this just sounds like any halfway decent early childhood centre in New Zealand. But ECE in New Zealand is affordable.

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