OUR TEAM AND OUR MISSION
Brooklyn Wild, LLC is a mission-driven company in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. We function as a low-profit LLC and measure success through our positive impact on our students, families, employees and community above considerations for our bottom line. Our mission is providing the space, time and permission for outdoor, child-led play to as many children as possible. We operate all outdoor classes using the principles of forest schools and adventure playgrounds, with a staff
trained in playwork--a professional approach out of the UK that supports children’s play without judgment. We believe in and advocate for all children’s rights to play freely and access the outdoors.
Scroll down to meet our playworkers.
Founder and Playworker
Stacy is a Sunset Park resident and mom to two boys, ages fourteen and five. She has seen firsthand the positive effects of outdoor, active free play on her sons’ focus, happiness, creativity and gross motor skills. When her older son entered pre-K, she knew he needed a program with hands-on projects and lots of movement, but she didn’t realize he needed those things because his brain was wired differently. Through her advocacy for him within the school system, and through learning from his therapists and teachers, Stacy began to prioritize outdoor play, which helped him regulate his emotions and develop balance and gross motor skills—the essential foundations for sitting still in class! But during the school year—with work and class schedules and short recess times—outside play was difficult to achieve. With traditional after school classes, her son was often indoors, in an adult-led environment for up to ten hours a day. When her younger son was headed to pre-K, she wanted something different. So she created Brooklyn Wild’s after school classes. She has been trained as a playworker by Play:Ground NYC and solicited help from a broad team to create the play model for Brooklyn Wild. Her advisers include local parents, local elementary school teachers, Rebecca Faulkner of Play:Ground NYC, Sarah Carlson of Brooklyn Nature Days and Morgan Leichter-Saxby, a leading play researcher who has worked in the field of play for more than ten years, in both the US and the UK.
Stacy has a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology and is an active member of the Education and Parks committees in Community Board 7. In addition to more than fifteen years of experience editing books, managing teams and creating branded projects with Harlequin/Harper Collins, Stacy has been the consumer of more than a dozen different types of after school classes, camps and child care options for her sons. She is also certified in First Aid and CPR.
Maia is an environmental educator who comes to Brooklyn Wild with seven years of outdoor education teaching. She has worked as a forest play facilitator at the Queens Botanical Garden and incorporates conversational Spanish into her classes. She began teaching art in studios and includes creative projects in her current teaching practice of place based environmental sustainability education. Maia fell in love with teaching kids outside during her service as an Americorps member at a community garden, and has continued to work with young people in outdoor exploration since. Maia was an avid rock and flower collector as a child and her love for nature has persisted throughout adult life. She values the skills, benefits and appreciation of nature that is derived from working outdoors and hopes to provide further spaces to connect her urban neighbors with their environment.
James is a Long Island native, where he grew up constantly playing either at the beach or in the woods with his friends. He recalls times when he would duel his friends with foam swords pretending to be his favorite video game characters. He is a recent college graduate from SUNY Cortland, and was previously employed as a Hunter Hawk Health Monitor at Hunter College Campus Schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, championing students’ physical and mental health throughout the difficult adjustment to hybrid learning. James is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling & Wellness at New York University, and hopes to one day be the adult figure he wished he had growing up for the next generation of LGBTQ+ youth. James believes play, and the social development created during play, is critical to one's identity and appreciation for the beauty of nature.
Sergio comes to Brooklyn Wild with several years of experience as a playworker. He began as a Nature Trek play leader at the Bronx Zoo, which led him to more advanced training and practice with Play:Ground NYC. In addition to his work with Brooklyn Wild, he is is also a playworker at The Yard, the adventure playground on Governor's Island. He is CPR and First Aid certified and is currently pursuing a degree in biochemistry from CUNY Brooklyn College. He remembers playing freely with tools around his parents’ home and believes children need more opportunities to play independently.
Karen is invested in supporting spaces where children can play freely together and practice collective care and self determination. She’s currently a playworker with Play:GroundNYC and has spent the last two years de-schooling and facilitating at a democratic school and Agile Learning Center in NYC, where she’s been excited to wander through the city with children, learning through unplanned encounters with people, junk, plants and animals. She’s come to self-directed education after many years of teaching and researching at different sorts of learning institutions from preschool to graduate school, and through a desire to experiment with more life-affirming choices. Other sources of joy include gardening, writing and being an aunt.