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Beyond ABC

“Welcoming a baby into the world is one of the most spectacular and daunting experiences,” says Angelina Tracey, founder of educational company Beyond ABC; “I remember as a new mother learning about sleeping, feeding, tummy time, motor reflexes, and, of course, reading to them, but I did not know exactly where to begin on how to engage early brain development.”

It can be overwhelming for new parents to sift through all of the latest information on child development; it requires being a self-learner and actively seeking out where to find resources and then discerning which are the most reliable ones. As a Reading Specialist, Reading Teacher, and Curriculum Developer, Tracey was interested in her children’s education early on.

She discovered the PlayWisely program after taking her firstborn Isabelle to a class while living in Dallas. Tracey instantly saw improvement with not only Isabelle’s attention and recognition, but also their bond and connection to each other.

As a parent, Tracey felt empowered by what she was learning herself, from the ‘why’ behind her daughter’s development to the takeaways from class that translated to the home. As an educator, she was intrigued to know more, and she went through the PlayWisely training so she could teach other families the benefits of purposeful play. She began her business while moving around the country, offering virtual and in-person workshops in Texas, California, and Illinois. Now Tracey has set up shop in Green Bay, where Beyond ABC has found a home inside the Weiler Academy’s new building. The brand new learning space features gymnastic blocks, cushions, balance beams, and activities, along with a neutral, picturesque color scheme that is calming and welcoming to little ones and their grown ups. Dividers separate a sitting area from the physical activity stations, so students can focus on the card set portion that begins each class. As class sessions go by, Tracey is greeted by children begging to begin the cards as soon as they come through the door. The PlayWisely cards are visual cues that Tracey quickly flips through in front of each child, which engages them in a way that many parents are surprised to see. She calls them “brain food” for babies, and it is clear that they are eating up the fast-flipping cards. From ages zero to three, children’s brains produce more than a million neural connections each second, so these fast-paced card sets catch and hold their attention during this pivotal time frame in their brain development. One series of cards is called “Find It” and is an entertaining way for babies to exercise visual attention, navigation skills, and blocking out background noise as they search for an object amongst a busy backdrop. The “brain-based” learning approach of these card sets maximizes the efficiency, effectiveness, and fun of learning. Tracey adapts the card sets and each week’s lessons to the individual needs of each child, no matter where they are at developmentally. “It’s not about creating baby geniuses,” Tracey explains. Instead, “it’s about optimizing their learning potential.” Research has found playing is the first and best way to enhance early brain development, so each week’s class includes a physical portion where students work on fine or gross motor skills. The crowd-favorite is strength week, where tots exert maximum effort pushing or pulling heavy objects, building confidence in their body and surroundings.

Many of the activities can be repeated at home or a park, and Tracey arms parents with the knowledge to connect physical activity to the why and how to continue challenging their child. “It’s awesome to see how my son has taken what he learned inside of the classroom and utilized and implemented it outside in the real world and in our home,” says Sadey Broeker. “It’s very clear that Angelina is doing what she loves and is so passionate about.” Tracey empowers parents to take initiative in their child’s early learning. From one-time infant development workshops to preschool readiness classes and mindfulness and yoga for kids. Beyond ABC’s programs offer purposeful play to engage children’s brains in a way that will set the foundation for future growth. Summer registration is now live, and upcoming pop-ups like book clubs and story time events will be announced on their website and social media. In the meantime, anyone can gain access to Tracey’s educational expertise via Isabelle’s List, a newsletter with reading challenges, parenting tips, and heirloom-quality book recommendations for developing minds.


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