Q&A with Camila Gazal and Flavia Naslausky, Founders of Zaniac
What is Zaniac?
Zaniac is like school at its best – an active, inspiring place that is filled with friends and friends to be, where real math and technology learning is fun. We are the go-to after-school activity for parents who want their children to develop a passion for exploring and innovating.
When did you open and how has our community reacted to your programs?
Zaniac was launched in December 2013. We will soon be completing our first year in Greenwich! The community has been tremendously generous in embracing Zaniac and Greenwich and has shown its passion for STEM. Over 430 students have taken a STEM course at Zaniac Greenwich this year. We have students from over 40 different schools in and around the area. Various schools have also recommended their rising high school juniors as instructors helping cement the peer based learning concept we are so proud of.
What are the benefits of teaching children strong math skills?
The benefits are numerous. It provides children a tremendous amount of confidence. With confidence, children become excited about math and want to learn more and welcome challenges. It also prepares children for the future where STEM is everywhere. STEM shapes our every day experiences and STEM will provide an enormous amount of jobs in their future. Math is the basis of STEM.
What life/study skills do kids learn from building robotics and playing Minecraft?
In Minecraft, children are introduced to physical and life sciences, resource management, and architecture while developing critical reasoning skills. Recently, Microsoft bought Minecraft. Stay tuned for greater development of this game as an incredible learning tool. Robotics also develops critical thinking skills to approach problem solving and students gain experience in construction, mission planning, and executions.
Who are your ideal clients? What age range is appropriate?
Anyone that loves STEM or just wants to give STEM a chance! We have created a safe environment for learning and exploring that is welcoming to every child. We cater to children in K-8th grade.
How do the kids react to your classes?
While every program taught at Zaniac is curriculum-based, learning feels like play. In this environment, children let themselves go, and take risks with their ideas. It is an amazing thing to watch. One day a father came to pick up his son who was taking Zane Math. When the father saw his son in the classroom solving the problem (on the window panel), he said to us, “Tell me how you got a kid to come to math class on a Saturday and smile like that?”.
What do you offer for camps and holidays?
We offer camps all year round (summer, fall, winter and spring). Our camps are 3-hours long (mornings and afternoons) whereby we offer one of our programs or sometimes, maybe two. We are also open on most school holidays where we run mini camps with the same 3-hour sessions (mornings and afternoons).
What are your most popular programs?
Zane Math is our most popular program in terms of children signed up. Then comes Minecraft. Computer Programming is close behind. 3-D has also been big. Zaniac introduces at least one new program every quarter. Stay tuned this winter for the launch of our new programs!