When Lake Forest’s Loren Specht, owner of LoMastro Performing Arts Academy, had her son Leo–she longed for somewhere nearby where she could take him to play with other children and where she could connect with other adults.
“My husband I both come from small families, so we didn’t have that natural network to reach out to,” Loren remembers. “We actually would drive into the city to find a play space for him.”
When Leo turned three, Loren told her husband that she needed to build a place locally that had the elements of the children’s museums her family loved, but also a space where caregivers could visit while the children were having fun.
“Even though I was really busy with the dance studio, I couldn’t shake the idea that this space I had been dreaming about was something our community really needed,” she says.
Fast forward three years and the orthodontist that shared the neighboring space with LoMastro’s studio moved.
“I knew this was a sign that I was supposed to open this space,” she says. “One of my biggest concerns was being pulled in too many directions, but by having our dance studio and play space in the same building–it all came together. We could have a shared reception space so there would always be a familiar face at check in.”
Last summer, Loren revealed the space she had been working on for years–The Playroom at LoMastro.
The Playroom at LoMastro is an indoor playground and community gathering space offering: open play, enrichment classes, co-working, camps, and parties.
The Playroom is designed to encourage active and imaginative play, all made from the highest-quality materials that are environmentally friendly and safe for children. Much of the programming and the space itself is rooted in Montessori-Reggio Emilia learning philosophies.
“The Playroom is so beautiful,” Loren says of the space she’s built for children ages 1-8 years old. “Everything is clean and made of wood–there isn’t any plastic. We also have play structures geared separately for younger and older children.”
Enrolled families at LoMastro Performing Arts Academy receive special pricing for open play, so that siblings and parents have the option to play in The Playroom while another sibling is enjoying class. These families receive 50% off open play admission and there is a range of other membership opportunities. Loren is also offering new families a pass to play for free on your first visit. Be sure to claim your pass by clicking here.
Speaking from experience, sometimes you just need a fun place to engage your children while you’re off at a meeting or running errands. The Playroom now offers caregivers Drop-Off Playtime. Drop-Off Playtime is a play-based enrichment program (not daycare) with flexible scheduling for 1-3 hours at a time. It is open to children ages 3-8, younger children may be accepted on a case-by-case basis.
“Although this space is made for children, I truly hope it’s one that adults will enjoy, too,” Loren says. “I’m thinking the kids will be so happy and busy and supervised by a staff member, that their caregivers can take a breath and visit with others, too.”
Loren has so many ideas for this beautiful space that she ecncourages you to check out her website for updated information on upcoming classes and camps. To learn more, visit playroomlf.com.
The Playroom at LoMastro is located at 840 S. Waukegan Road in Lake Forest, 847.615.5400.