Sawyer partners with hundreds of educators who are stars in their communities. From inspiring class content to engaging teaching style, these educators are known for their enriching activities that empower both children and parents alike.
We got the opportunity to chat with Stellar Soccer, a provider on Sawyer who offers soccer classes and camps to children in the New York City area.
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.
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.
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.
What is your favorite Sawyer feature?
What’s not to like? As the person who’s in charge of all of our online registration, I am very satisfied with most of its features. Personally, I love the calendar and how I can sync it with my personal calendar. So easy to view classes and details.
What's one trick you learned from another educator that you still practice?
During our inception in 2019, the school that helped launch our program was going through some new transitions by implementing outside vendors/educators to come teach classes for children. One of those was a yoga instructor who demonstrated patience and compassion for all children. One of the techniques we borrowed from her is the use of a breathing ball. We find it very relaxing as it refocuses our young athletes right before dismissal. For some it may be an insignificant practice but it has been an integral part of our class curriculum.
Have you discovered new customers on the Sawyer marketplace?
As a matter of fact, we have! We have also reconnected with many participants who have not been in our program for a long time. We fully support the Sawyer marketplace feature.
How do you balance your time between running your business (from an operational perspective) and teaching/connecting with parents and students?
Everything we’ve been looking for, such as information input, downloadable reports, and the easy registration process saves us time and money. Before Sawyer, I was inputting participant information detail by detail on a spreadsheet. With Sawyer I can put more of that time into other operational necessities and offer feedback to parents in regards to their child’s performance.
How has Sawyer helped your business?
I find myself relying on Sawyer for all of our operational needs. Sawyer has saved me time with pretty much everything. In presenting our end-of-the-season survey, we asked parents what they thought of Sawyer and I am happy to report that we received a satisfactory response with nearly everyone expressing an easy enrollment process. We definitely will continue to use Sawyer for many years to come.