aren McLaughlin is the Founder and Director of Little Learning. She established Little Learning over a decade ago in response to her love for children and passionate belief that every child deserves to have the foundation necessary for long-term academic and social success. She is a member of the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) and its New York State and New York City affiliates, as well as the IRA (International Reading Association). In addition to being a specialist in early childhood development and literacy, Karen is also a PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) certified equestrian instructor. Through equine therapy, she teaches coping skills to children and youth with physical, emotional, and cognitive issues. She resides in New York City.
“My goal was to work with children during this important time of development and establish the most effective way to approach literacy starting in early childhood. Drawing on many years of literacy based research with a cognitive psychological focus, I began to apply this knowledge to a precisely formed curriculum which addressed not just literacy, but every developmental milestone from ages 2 to 7 (outlined by the Center on the Developing Child – Harvard University).
I created a tiered curriculum that challenged children to master age-appropriate skills in small-group learning environments in a way that came naturally to them before graduating to the next level. A solid curriculum creates a foundation from which to develop individualized lesson plans. This respects the fact that every child develops in his own way in his own time. Today, I am confident that the success of the program is due to children feeling heard, understood, and empowered to explore learning in their own way. This is made possible by a student teacher ratio of 5 to 1. Every child who graduates from Little Learning has a solid understanding of the basics of literacy and a sense of self-confidence around their ability to learn. I am continually approached by K-3 teachers of Little Learning graduates who affirm this fact time and time again. Graduates of Little Learning are better prepared for the important task of moving beyond being an emergent reader to reading with fluency upon entering these grades.”
Dedicated to providing a learning environment where children feel loved, appreciated, comfortable and safe, our New York location features three floors of an old townhouse, designed like that of a home. The space was created to engage all the senses, inviting children to experience learning in a way that is most comfortable to them during this time when learning styles are just emerging. The subtle colors serve as an idyllic background for the beautiful art showcased throughout the space and the child sized furniture creates an atmosphere that fosters self-esteem and independence.