At Sawyer we have the privilege of working with hundreds of inspiring educators around the country. Whether they teach virtual classes or in-person activities, the curricula always foster enriching atmospheres for children of all ages to discover their love of learning. We got the opportunity to chat with Stellar Soccer, which offers soccer classes and camps for children in New York City.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with us! I’d love to hear a bit more about you and why you started your business.

The idea began while teaching 2-year olds in ACT Programs at the Cathedral St. John the Divine in NYC, the same school where I've been teaching for over 15 years. The then director of the school, Jen Gowers, suggested creating a soccer class as an extracurricular activity for the school. The project began with just 8 kids. We now serve over 300 families in the NYC area.

Can you describe an inspiring moment you’ve had as an educator?  

Stellar Soccer is a play based program where children learn about the beautiful sport through a non-competitive and stress-free environment. Many of the children who come to our program have no experience or have stayed away from soccer because it can be  intimidating or frightening. When our coaches become educators and inspire those who need a push to succeed is very inspiring.

Photo of soccer activities for kids

What’s the most rewarding thing about teaching children?  

Without a doubt, moments when a child returns to our program with a smile and looks forward to more games is one of the most rewarding moments.

What’s one time a child surprised you and made your day?

All the time when children come back the next day and bring a drawing of themselves and a coach playing soccer. The experience of a fun day is forever etched in their minds that they feel the need to relive it on paper and color.

On a similar note, what’s the funniest thing a child has done in your class?

One of our 2-year-olds came back the next day after a fun day of soccer and began dribbling the ball in a different way than the first day. It turned out that the child was imitating one of our coaches.

Photo of kids activities in NYC

Why is after school/extracurricular enrichment so important for children?  

Many children are in school for 6-8 hours a day and most of the time they are under teacher directed activities. After school programs around the country are meant not to follow that same structure of morning routine but more of a loose structured schedule where children can express themselves in ways that they probably don't have a chance to do during the day.

How do you think children can discover their passions when they’re not in school or your programs?

Allow children to explore their interest with little to no adult involvement. Depending on age, children’s interests will blossom on their own when they don’t feel they have to adjust to an adult's needs or wants. More so than ever, parent involvement can hinder this exploration and limit the child’s discovery of the new. Allow children to explore what they may or may not have an interest in. Only they know when to turn the page of a book.

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