Prospect Explorers Playgroup

A (Reverse) History of Crayon Power

  • 2020 – Crayon Power staff receive certification training in Natural Play Therapy
  • 2019-2020 – Crayon Power welcomes new Lead Teacher, Danielle Mussafi, and launches their Playschool (daycare) from Monday-Friday to friends ages 2-5.
  • 2019 – Crayon Power moves into Kristen’s home and becomes licensed as a New York State certified Group Family Daycare. The Prospect Explorers programs and Explorative Learning Labs program both finish in June and are discontinued to make space for new offerings.
  • 2018 – Crayon Power Teachers travel to Reggio Emilia, Italy to join in the International Study Group and be immersed in the Reggio Emilia approach.
  • 2017-2019 – Crayon Power integrates Prospect Explorers curriculum to offer forest school and art-based preschool program into their curriculum. The Explorative Learning Labs program operates on Tuesdays for homeschooling/unschooled children between the ages of 5 -13.
  • 2016 – Explorative Learning Labs curriculum is added to Crayon Power’s programs and is offered to homeschooled children ages 7-13.
  • 2016 – Crayon Power shares space with Prospect Explorers Playgroup, a Forest School incorporating Reggio Emilia curriculum, in a Brooklyn gallery.
  • 2015 – Kristen offers small group learning to children with special needs through Care Management Organizations and receives her certification in auditory therapy. 
  • 2014 – Kristen studies and volunteers in a Reggio Emilia/Waldorf Inspired, play-based, un-schooling community in the Catskills of New York.
  • 2013 – Crayon Power expands to offer coops for toddlers and Natural Play Therapy coaching to parents with toddlers.
  • 2012-2014 – Crayon Power begins offering coops for children with special needs and consultation services to kid-oriented organizations in the New York Metropolitan area.
  • 2012 – Kristen founds Crayon Power as an Alternative-learning Child Coach and becomes a Natural Play Therapy provider.
  • 2010–2011 – Kristen offers private coaching to families and children with special needs; becomes certified in Learning Without Tears.
  • 2008 – Kristen receives her dual Master’s degree in multimodal learning and museum education.


and the very beginning…


  • 1993 – Kristen’s 9th-grade drama teacher makes her cue person for their public alternative learning school’s Hamlet production, helping Kristen overcome her reading challenges and empowering her to begin higher-level learning. (Read the full story below!)

The Origins of Crayon Power

When I was in the ninth grade, I would spend hours and hours up in my room reading books such as The Boxcar Children and Little House on the Prairie. My love of stories was never a problem and my dad (who didn’t know a lot about child development in the traditional sense) was grateful that I “enjoyed” reading and would put so much attention toward the subject. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the ENTIRE reality of the situation…

The truth was this – by today’s standards, The Boxcar Children is suitable for an advanced third grade reader and the Little House on the Prairie books range between fourth and fifth grade reading levels. As I mentioned before, I was in the ninth grade, which means that if I had so chosen to read those books at that stage in my life, it should have taken me about 30 minutes to get through the entire book. Instead, I spent hours and hours of circling words I couldn’t figure out and trying to match them up in the dictionary. Retaining information through reading was an embarrassing challenge for me.

Luckily, my drama teacher saw beyond my struggles and detected deeper issues.

Get this: she made me the cue person and stage manager of the fall production of Hamlet! People must have thought she was nuts! I now understand how *brilliant* this was. You see, she put me in a position that was empowering, utilized my strength (which was my ability to remember what I heard in class), and paired it with my weakness: reading. Additionally, seeing the other children act out the story while I was motivated to keep up with the lines of the script made it easier to grasp the plot and storyline. As Stage Manager, I gained the confidence to take on responsibility for something that was bigger than me and my “reading problem.” This teacher saw my interest in theater, connected with me, and used my interests to help me overcome my learning difficulties.

Her strategy worked great!

Today I use a similar system – Natural Play Therapy (NPT) – to help kids identify their alternative learning styles, their interests, and discover the best environments for them to learn. My goal is to ensure that kids don’t fall through the cracks of the school system (like I almost did!) and guarantee that they will have the life their dreams!