Jersey City is getting its first Zaniac campus.
Located at 125 First Street (on the corner of Provost), Zaniac will offer after-school programs and summer camps for students in grades K-8. The campus, which is hosting its grand opening this Sunday, focuses exclusively on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) enrichment. That includes everything from game design to app creation. Jersey City resident and owner Sonali Pai gives us a rundown of what Zaniac has to offer and its mission.
What is Zaniac and how is it different than other after-school programs?
Sonali Pai: Zaniac is the go-to STEAM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Arts, and Math) enrichment program for kids grade K-8. By engaging kids in creative, conceptual problem solving, Zaniac allows students to grasp math and logic concepts in a way that feels like play. Zaniac offers programs ranging from Lego Robotics to 3D printing, helping bridge the gap between theory and practical learning.
I started Zaniac’s Jersey City campus when I realized there was a need to enhance the way STEAM was taught in schools today. I was inspired by Zaniac’s founder Paul Zane and the success [Zaniac had] in Utah and Connecticut and wanted to bring the mission of empowering young minds to Jersey City.
What kind of technology will students and teachers be equipped with at the Jersey City campus?
SP: Our campus is equipped with 15 iMacs, 5 laptops, and 4 classrooms that are outfitted with Mac Minis. Additionally, we have a 3D printer which takes children from the process of ideating to creating, as well as electrical engineering tools LittleBits and Lego Robotics EV3 Platform. Our focus is to have a colorful inspirational space that allows children to be excited each time they walk in.
What are some classes that the JC campus will offer? Can parents enroll students at any time?
SP: Enrollment is already open for our summer camps, which start June 19 and run up to September 1st. After the summer we’ll offer after-school and weekend classes as supplements to a child’s normal school program, as well as provide a space for birthday parties. Currently, we have a variety of classes that range from computer programming to Lego Robotics. These classes will be available throughout the year and will be offered when school is closed as Day Camps.
What are the price ranges for classes?
SP: Since we are starting off with summer camps, the pricing is $349/week for half day or $559 for full day/per week. Once school starts, our prices will range from $229-$379 depending on the class for a 90 minute class for 6 sessions.
Why did you choose to open a Zaniac in downtown Jersey City?
SP: I’ve been a Jersey City resident for almost 8 years and have loved watching how this city is going through a “renaissance.” As a mother of two small children, I saw that parents in Jersey City are always looking for safe, creative spaces for children to be inspired and learn. I knew then that Jersey City would be a great home for Zaniac. We have already been warmly welcomed into the community and can’t wait to grow alongside the residents here.