PR Newswire:

Thirteen years ago, mother of two Laura Kelly stood in the doorway of a kindergarten class and watched as a group of three-, four- and five-year-olds baked bread and hand-sewed little animals. Kelly was prospecting schools for her own children, and to a mother who was nervous about choosing the right one, “this felt like love.” Completely entranced by the idea that kids would sit quietly and joyfully working on these kinds of projects, Kelly reminisces, “It just felt warm, loving and safe.” At that moment, she knew this is what all kids should be doing. “When I saw the pride in their faces and how patiently they worked on their projects, I knew I wanted this for my kids.”

Kelly was determined to bring the warm, caring environment she saw that day in the classroom to her new business, which she named The Handwork Studio. After two years of teaching classes at her kitchen table, she took a chance and opened a storefront in Narberth, PA in 2003 and in 2005 incorporated summer camp into the curriculum, all while balancing motherhood and her own family life with her budding business. Almost ten years after opening her first location, Kelly has expanded the Handwork Studio to 21 camp locations across the country, making certain each of these locations has been built around her original vision of a warm, safe and educational environment for children. “To me what we do has always been about the psyche of the child,” explains Kelly, “and teaching crafts is really just a medium to do that. I wanted the kids to come to a place that felt safe for them to explore their creativity, a place where they would feel proud of their work, where they could make mistakes and have fun and over time and with practice would get better and learn more and more skills as they got older.”