2004-10-08 / Community

Locals Hold Grand Opening Of ‘Sensory Spa’ For Kids

The owners of the Sensory Spa, Kate Hoban Mitterway and Julie Hoban Finn.
The owners of the Sensory Spa, Kate Hoban Mitterway and Julie Hoban Finn. After what a spokesperson calls “much research and creativity,” sisters and Belle Harbor residents Kate Hoban Mitterway and Julie Hoban Finn have combined their professional experience in the arts and sciences with a “devotion to the development of children,” to create Sensory Spa For Kids , a state of the art facility that offers children a wide variety of opportunities to socialize, improve critical developmental skills and enhance their innate creativity by stimulating the senses.

Julie Hoban Finn, a New York City Department of Education teacher with a Masters of Fine Arts degree, says that she has “an extraordinary love for the arts and enjoys bringing out the creative side in children.”

Face painting at the opening of the Sensory Spa.


Kids play in one of the many venues in the Sensory Spa facility.


The owners of the Sensory Spa, Kate Hoban Mitterway and Julie Hoban Finn.
Face painting at the opening of the Sensory Spa. Kids play in one of the many venues in the Sensory Spa facility. The owners of the Sensory Spa, Kate Hoban Mitterway and Julie Hoban Finn. Kate Hoban Mitterway, a New York State licensed occupational therapist with a Masters of Science degree and a specialty in pediatrics, “enjoys helping children maximize their functional abilities and increase self-esteem.”

Kids play in one of the many venues in the Sensory Spa facility.
Kids play in one of the many venues in the Sensory Spa facility. “Having grown up here in Belle Harbor, and now with young children of our own, we sought to create a safe, fun, and creative place for kids, thus fulfilling a critical need in the Rockaways,” stated Julie Hoban Finn. An open house was held Saturday, October 2nd and Sunday October 3rd, where festivities included clowns and face painting. “Our open house was a great success. We had the opportunity to meet many parents and children in the community and showcase all that Sensory Spa For Kids has to offer,” added Ms. Finn.

Unlike any other facility in the area, Sensory Spa For Kids reportedly combines a fully equipped occupational therapy facility with a unique play, music and arts enrichment program for children ages six months to 12 years.

Located at 114-12 Beach Channel Drive, Rockaway Park, NY, former site of Harbor Health and Fitness, Sensory Spa For Kids’ classes begin October 7th . Programs include:

Sensing Together (Mommy and Me): Ages 6-12 months, 12-18 mos, 18-24 mos, and 6 mos-4 yrs sibling combo, 45 minutes. Songs, music, movement, and tactile activities specifically tailored to each age group introduce little ones to self-discovery and interaction.

Gross Motor Gymnasium: 2-3 years, 3-4 yrs, 5-7 yrs, 8-12 yrs, 45 minutes. State of the art equipment includes an air bouncer, ballpit, suspended swings, musical balance beam, barrels to climb over and go through, life-size legos, slide, playhouse, foam steam-rollers, merry-go-round and more! Led by an instructor, children navigate a specially designed age-appropriate obstacle course to improve motor planning skills and improve overall strength, coordination and endurance.

Toddler Play Group: 2-3 years, 2 hours. Drop off your toddler for two fun-filled hours with their peers with activities led by an instructor ranging from free play in the Gross Motor Gymnasium to music and dance, arts and crafts.

Art Sensation: Ages 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, 1 hour. Classical music and a variety of art media stimulate the creative process on a purely sensory level with a focus on individual expression. All works will be displayed at “Gallery Night.”

Poetry Workshop: Ages 6-12, 1 hour. Attendees will learn fundamental techniques to create verse, the art of improvisation by role-playing the many examples of figurative language, and performance. Poetry comes to life as children share their creations in front of a live audience.

Free Play: All ages, times and days vary. Kids can blow off steam using state of the art equipment in the Gross Motor Gymnasium and socialize in a safe, sensory-rich environment. Parental supervision required.

Yoga: Ages 5-7, 8-10, 11-13. Through classic Yoga postures and synchronized breathing and relaxation techniques, children learn to focus, which improves receptivity to various sensory stimuli, as well as strength, flexibility and overall attention span.

Specialized Birthday Parties : Princess Dream - complete with from page 30

dress-up, make-up and fashion show; Picasso - attendees create a special birthday mural for the guest of honor as well as their own creation from a variety of art media; and Free Play . All parties include use of the Gross Motor Gymnasium, party games, dancing, pizza, beverage and ice-cream cake. Invitations supplied. Custom parties are also available.

Occupational Therapy Services: Sensory SpaFor Kids provides a full range of occupational therapy services for the child in need. Evaluations are also available.

“Our activities are designed around the principles of Sensory Integration -one’s ability to take in, organize, and respond appropriately to sensory information from one’s body and the environment,” explains Kate Hoban Mitterway. “Though traditionally applied to children with special needs, these techniques provide enormous benefits to typically developing children as well. By stimulating the various sensory systems, Tactile (touch), Visual (sight), Auditory (hearing), Olfactory (smell), Gustatory (taste), Vestibular (movement, posture, balance) and Proprioceptive (spacial awareness), these activities help children to focus better and follow directions, improve balance and coordination, making them happy and secure in their own bodies all while having fun,” added Ms. Mitterway.

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