At the upcoming International Kinus Hashluchos, the annual convention of Chabad rebbetzins, a chic redo to the Mommy & Me groups will be featured to be reprised around the world.
It’s the Babyccino classes with the whimsical park graphics which is calling mod moms to unite.
Menucha Belkin, the Chabad mother behind this brainchild, said Babyccino was created to fill a real void in the lives of her fellow neighborhood moms – a communal place and a physical space that benefits both mom and child at the same time.
In 2008, she started a blog called Freidafroo at thefroo.com and posted about “where motherhood and childhood intersect,” sharing lots of cute early-childhood enrichment activities as well as curated toys and modern motherhood essentials.
2 years later she started teaching Mommy and Me classes in Los Angeles, drawing on the current spotlight on parenthood, with moms scouring their cities for more child-enrichment classes.
“We were all somehow perpetually looking for a hybrid – think Starbucks meets Gymboree,” she says. “In life, when you are looking for something yourself, it’s likely that everyone else is looking for it too.”
Once the Los Angeles class was filled to the brim, emails and inquiries came from around the world looking to create their own branch. Belkin decided to spread the joy and drew up a fully comprehensive Babyccino curriculum package complete with lesson plans for each week as well as mobile shopping lists.
Here’s how its done, as she will be explaining at the Kinus: Create a “pop up” classroom (can be a shul, living room, or backyard), go mod or go home (details do matter, and keep the moms coming back), keep it cool (a relaxed, no pressure zone for moms to chill amongst each other), but mostly cute (thematic weekly activity centers engage the mothers as well as the toddlers), and highly educational (you won’t find Hebrew davening with holistic scents painting elsewhere).
Babyccino classes can now be found in over 50 cities nationwide and several different countries. “The growth has been incredible,” Belkin tells COLlive.com. “I never imaged I’d be at this point a year after launching.”
The philosophy behind the Babyccino program is a serious pull for Chabad centers everywhere, even those without a preschool.
Shluchos says that the engaging class draws a fresh young crowd. It helps with building and deepening the creative and expressive relationship between mother and baby, and getting mothers out of the house and into a beautifully fun and Jewish environment.
“There’s just something so gratifying about this work,” Belkin adds. “It’s such a blessing to be in an educational position, and to be able to give so much creatively to the next generation of Jewish children – you all want in on this.”
Participants of Menucha Belkin’s Mommy and Me workshop at this year’s Kinus Hashluchos will also be scoring 20% off their first curriculum purchase of Babyccino.
For more, visit thefroo.com