Raise Playspace in Scarborough. Amanda Rothbart

Raise Playspace’s goal is to establish a nurturing setting that fosters the growth of both parents and children during their early years. They hope to achieve this by encouraging child-led play, providing enrichment classes, as well as facilitating support groups for parents. The aim is to create a space that encourages bonding, learning, and enjoyment but also empowers families.

Raise Playspace was created by Amanda Rothbart about one year ago. It is an airy 2,500-square-foot playspace. It has a curated toy selection and a custom playhouse. They offer tummy time, toddler yoga, music with friends and climbing structures and more. It has an open concept to allow the child to roam freely while still being within sight of the parents.

Rothbart opened Raise Playspace in September of 2022 after five years as a stay-at-home mom and 11 years in education. “I knew first-hand how important the early years of parenthood and childhood were and felt there was a lack of support for that specific time,” Rothbart said. She wanted to fill that gap by supporting new parents and their young children She said that it can be really isolating to be home alone with the kids, especially during COVID. “I noticed more of the community understanding this challenge,” Rothbart said. She said the felt there were three missing things in the Greater Portland area, “drop-in style play to meet the ever-changing needs of your kid’s schedules, opportunities for parents to connect with their children and similar families, and ease of access to local enrichment and education programs.”

Rothbart was in education for over a decade before taking a break to raise her two children. Some of her favorite aspects of being a teacher was the relationship with the students and being a part of the school community,” Rothbart said. Now she creates those same feelings with children from newborns to 5 years old. Early childhood is a pivotal part of development, she said, with rapid physical, mental and social growth. “I know that having an adult conversation, change of scenery and getting some energy out can change you whole day as a parent,” Rothbart said.

In the first year Raise Playspace had over 2,000 customers, both local families and vacationers. “It has been fulfilling to see families growing in our community! It is such a joy to watch babies become toddlers and new parents become regulars and bring siblings into the mix,” Rothbard said.

Raise Playspace is in the old Scarborough police station. Rothbart said she likes being a part of a reimagined building. The toys are carefully chosen to make play purposeful. Within the first year, she said they have participated in numerous community events such as Birth Roots’ Pollinator Parade and the Congress Square Kids Block Party. They held a holiday toy drive for Maine Needs and they are holding their first sustainable costume swap this October.

Every Monday they offer a free New Parent Meetup that is hosted by local professionals including sleep consultants, lactations consultants, pediatric occupational therapists, physical therapists and perinatal therapists. They offer playgroups, music, sensory classes, toddler yoga, parent education classes, support groups and more. People can rent out the Playspace for private playdates, birthday parties and events.

Raise Playspace is located at 6 Westwood Ave., Unit 201 in Scarborough. Hours are Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to noon.

Raise Playspace open concept for play in Scarborough,ME Amanda Rothbart

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