It all started with a blog.
In 2013, best friends Lauren and Claire decided to start a blog featuring information and activities to support healthy development for children. Together, their experience in developmental and physical health lead Lauren and Claire to believe they could provide valuable information to families all around the country.
When Lauren, a physical therapist, and Claire, an occupational therapist, began to see success stemming from their blog and online business, they knew they wanted to give back to the community. Working for the Bedford, Ohio school district for many years allowed them to see the need for an environment in which kids could receive both a developmental boost as well as recreational activity experiences for little to no cost.
In short, they wanted a way to make their blog come to life and be able to provide activities and opportunities to all families in Northeast Ohio, regardless of ability or income level. In October 2017, The Treehouse was born.
The Treehouse was designed to mimic a playgroup, where families can drop off their kids for play experiences with a variety of personalities and abilities. Led by pediatric therapists, small groups (six children maximum for toddlers, eight children maximum for older groups) meet once a week for free and are guided through developmental-friendly games and activities.
Currently offering programming for children ages 6 months to 10 years, The Treehouse is a one-of-a-kind facility providing kids with exposure to some of the most important skills they will need for success in their lives. “We feel really lucky to be able to use our professional background in such a unique and valuable way”, explains Lauren and Claire.
To enroll in a playgroup, families can go online to thetreehousebedford.org and click on the link that says “Sign Up”. From there, they can find the playgroup that is the best fit for the age of their child and select a group to sign up for. They’ll be able to fill out all of the intake paperwork online, where The Treehouse staff can get a better idea about the personalities of each child and any specialized, individual needs or medical concerns. All playgroups are free to attend one time per week with additional sessions available for purchase.
Both raising families in the Cleveland area, Lauren and Claire consider Northeast Ohio a unique and positive place. “We have a special place in our hearts for Bedford and the surrounding communities because we know that there are so many families there who are trying to do the right things for their families but may not have access, for a variety of reasons, to the services and programs they need to promote healthy development for their kids”, they explain, “There is a lot of need here and because of that, the members of this community have been so supportive and grateful.”
When asked about plans for the future, Lauren and Claire are hopeful for growth and hope to continue to add more playgroup offerings to accommodate to their ever-expanding wait list. Relying solely on grant applications, sponsorships, and donors, the expansion of The Treehouse is largely dependent on additional funding.
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