Wise Wonder Enrichment’s founder, Rina Collins, was recently accepted into the Female Founder Collective, an initiative created by Rebecca Minkoff. The FFC is a network of businesses led by women, supporting women. We are thrilled for Miss Rina as she enters this community and decided this was the perfect opportunity to check in with her to learn a bit more about Wise Wonder, the FFC, and more.
1) Why did you start Wise Wonder Enrichment?
Wise Wonder was started simply because there was room for a place where parents and children felt like their needs were being met academically and personally. I taught elementary school and preschool for many years before opening BN. When I started as a preschool director in NYC, it was then when I realized I was able to utilize my expertise as a reading specialist to develop an engaging and effective curriculum. As I started to feel that the administrative side to education was no longer my passion, I returned to teaching by tutoring privately in parents homes. That is when I was able to curate this magical enrichment program.
2) What is your favorite part about working in early childhood education?
My favorite part about ECE is when you get to teach something brand new to a child, something they have never seen or heard of before. They listen so carefully, taking in every little thing I say – and when they ‘get it’ it is the most rewarding thing in the world. It is such a genuine act of teaching + learning.
3) What has changed in the landscape of early literacy and how has that affected Wise Wonder’s curriculum and mission?
When I first started BN, I really focused on the academic. I wanted to make sure that the kids “got it,” that they were able to understand and master specific skill sets. However, now being opened for 8 years, we have changed our method but not our curriculum. We learned that our children were thriving when we set them up for success and in an environment that was soothing, nurturing, and natural! Early childhood has become very play-based – and don’t get me wrong, play-based learning is 100% necessary – but a sense of structure within teaching does go a long way. There are many philosophies and types of education methods out there but reading will always be a core content area. Reading is fun, and we want children of all ages to see that from the very start of their educational journeys.
4) Tell us more about the Female Founder Collective and why you were excited to become a member.
It was an honor to be accepted into the Female Founder Collective. I created Wise Wonder in 2011 and introduced the program to the Upper West Side community in 2012. At that time, I didn’t have many places to turn when it came to learning how to run a small business. I googled my way to opening BN. The FFC is a great place for me and for Wise Wonder to get business support from women and moms! Now that I am a mom of two, this network is a wonderful place to turn to for guidance and inspiration!
5) What’s in store for the future of Wise Wonder Enrichment?
I started Wise Wonder as a way to reignite my passion for teaching and reading. I never knew how successful and popular this program and curriculum I created would become. My husband, Andy Collins, saw the benefits and potential BN had. With his background in Business Development and Operations, he came on board and we decided to expand oir program! We opened our second location in Tribeca together from the ground up and found success in a second NYC community. We definitely plan to open up more locations and are very excited for Wise Wonder’s future!
There are big things around the corner for Wise Wonder Enrichment, and we can’t wait to share more.