Stressed out New Yorkers attend adult pre-school

'Students' of the adult pre'school take part in making pasta jewellery. Picture: Ruaridh Connellan / Barcroft USA

'Students' of the adult pre'school take part in making pasta jewellery. Picture: Ruaridh Connellan / Barcroft USA

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STRESSED out adults are spending up to $1,000 (£700) to unwind at what is thought to be the world’s first pre-school for grown ups.

New Yorkers come from across the city to Michelle Joni’s Brooklyn apartment to finger paint, sing, snack and nap.

Then it’s nap time and everybody cuddles up together in a ball.

The new concept has attracted photographers, authors and even high-flying corporate lawyers who want to connect with their inner child.

Ms Joni said: “It is totally surreal. At the first class we had a nap time and all the grown ups laid down with their blankets and cuddled up in a ball.

“I just looked around and thought this is absolutely crazy – I cannot believe this is happening right now.

“We do all sorts of activities from show-and-tell to dress-up – we play with Play-Doh have snack and nap time.

“It really is a pre-school for adults and everybody loves it.”

The class takes place once a week during March after the grown ups have finished their humdrum nine to five jobs in the city.

The full class starts at $333 and goes up to $999 with the adults paying as much as they can afford.

Ms Joni added: “It’s amazing, we say, ‘It’s snack time’ and everyone is like, ‘Yay, snack time’.

“Then it’s nap time and everybody cuddles up together in a ball.

“They totally get into it – it’s really great getting in there and making things with Play-Doh and loving it.”

Amazingly the adults feel no embarrassment about regressing back to their childhood selves and some use it as a way to inject more fun into their lives.

Lawyer Amanda Devereux, 33 said: “I’m a litigator, I deal with securities litigation and complex commercial cases.

“This is definitely a contrast from my job but I would like to think I’m a lot like I was when I was a child. I still like to have fun and try new things.

“My family are really into the idea and my work colleagues are not surprised I’ve taken the class.

“My mother just sent me a sweater for class picture day with a note saying she used to pick out my clothes when I was four, so why not now?”

Along with high-flying lawyers, the class also attracts mothers who want a break from the routines of childrearing.

Sarah Fader, 35, an author and mother-of-two, said: “Being a mom and taking care of children is very taxing.

“I wanted to get back to that feeling of freedom and childlike fun and wonder that I used to have.

“My children are seven and four and doing this grown up pre-school reminds me of what it must be like as a child and helps me become a better parent.”

Ms Joni said she sees the class as a form of therapy – allowing adults to deal with their real world problems using the mind of their inner child.

She added: “My hope is that everyone who participates in the pre-school mastermind really comes out with a new sense of looking at the world with curiosity, with imagination and they are able to see things differently.

“Part of this is finding the secret to getting adults to get out of their normal routine and start playing more.”

Staying true to the preschool model, the pupils will have a class picture day, a slumber party and even a parents’ evening where they can show off their work.

“On parents day they will either have their parents or their friends here and they’ll get to show off in a big show-and-tell showcase,” she added.

However, the class has caught the attention of some unwanted niche communities and has generated a lot of criticism online.

But Ms Joni said they did not cater for strange requests saying: “We have had some adults inquiring about changing diapers and if this is all about adult baby play – but that is not what this is.

“There is nothing sexual about this class it’s just fun.”

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