Luke has years of experience entertaining and educating children of all ages, from 3 year olds to teenagers. He’s worked as a “manny,” drama teacher, birthday party entertainer, and chess tutor! When teaching chess to children, he likes to make the game fun and engaging, while increasing strategy skills and preparing children for tournaments. As a chess tutor, he believes that encouragement and patience are vital teacher traits to ensure a child’s education and growth. Learn more about Luke in our interview below.
Hi Luke! Where are you from and what brought you to NYC?
I grew up in Pennsylvania, a state with enough rocks and trees to make anyone want to move to New York City. Thirteen days after graduating high school I moved to Manhattan, and I’ve loved it here ever since! I came here for the artistic scenes, and thankfully the various types of art here are ample enough to rival the rocks and trees of Pennsylvania, so I expect to live here for many years to come!
What is your experience with kids? Can you share a story?
I’ve been working with kids for over a decade! In New York, I’ve performed in dozens children’s theater productions, where I got to entertain and interact with kids of all ages. I was also an entertainer for children’s parties for a few years, which gave me a great deal of experience with engaging large amounts of kids at one time. Nannying, however, is definitely rewarding in its own way, as I enjoy having one on one conversations with a kid about his or her life and thoughts. I recently had a child, whom I teach chess and frequently nanny, show me his book on space, and we got to have a lengthy discussion about space and the different planets. I really enjoy that.
When you’re booked for a Curated Care session, what is your process in terms of preparation/items you bring?
My preparation for a Curated Care session will differ depending on the individual child or children and what I’ve learned based on my discussions with the parent. Discovering a child’s personality through the parent before the session is crucial, and helps inform my decision on what items to bring, as I like to bring items and come prepared to do activities that are geared towards a particular child’s interests. Arts and crafts are usually popular, and I also enjoy bringing balloons, but one thing I most enjoy doing with children is building Legos, because I believe Legos are the perfect combination of fun, focus, and creativity for kids of all ages.
Families also book you for private lessons in chess. Tell us about those sessions and how they differ from other Curated Care sessions.
Chess is the greatest board game of all time, and has been a large part of my life since I was a child, which makes me incredibly happy to introduce it into other children’s lives. However, there is an enormous difference between playing chess for fun during a session, and conducting an hour long chess lesson. While chess lessons are ideally fun and engaging, the primary focus is to increase a particular child’s skill level, and therefore there is a greater level of focus and discipline required throughout the session. During my regular Curated Care sessions, the goal is for a child to have fun and be engaged, but for a one-hour private lesson in chess, the goal is for the child to be a better chess player at the end of the session. Many parents like to combine chess lessons with nannying, where we start with a 60-minute chess lesson and then transition to a regular childcare session filled with fun games and activities.
You’ve recently started offering online chess lessons. Can you tell us what that’s like?
Honestly – it’s a challenge! But it’s also exciting and wonderful to see students’ faces light up when they have an opportunity to play chess online. They love the game. It’s harder to teach as much content online in the same amount of time as it would in person, because it takes longer to explain and visualize strategies online, but so far all my students have been terrific with focusing and learning and continuing to develop their skills! I typically work with kids anywhere between the ages of 4 and 8, from all levels of experience.
What do you think is the benefit in hiring a Kid Expert vs a traditional babysitter?
When hiring a traditional babysitter, your child’s experience will be solely dependent on the particular qualities and skills of the babysitter. However, with a Kid Expert from Curated Care, you’re guaranteed to have someone whose priority is to keep your child engaged and entertained during the entire session, rather than just provided for while you’re away. This means no TVs or screens, but rather fun activities that help your child to grow and develop.
What are you most looking forward to in the future?
I look forward to when one of my chess students competes in a chess tournament! Most of my students are a little young for serious competition, but I hope that every student of mine continues to play chess, and perhaps some will play competitively.