Turning Learning into a New York City Family Adventure
An Interview with Author Shelley Goldberg
It’s not every day you get to sit down with someone like Shelley Goldberg, veteran Family and Parenting reporter, and author of the upcoming book Shelley’s Learning Adventures in NYC. After months of work, the book is set to release this November, and Ms. Goldberg was gracious enough to have a chat with us about some of our favorite things here at Lightswitch Learning — exploring, inspiring, and of course, learning.
Lightswitch: Shelley’s Learning Adventures in NYC is clearly a labor of love! One of our favorite things about the book is that it’s so much about fostering awareness, exploration, and curiosity. These are such great skills and mindsets to teach to our kids! Was this something that was on your mind while you were writing the book? Tell us about what inspired you.
Shelley: Well, when I set out to write the book, I knew first-hand the magic that could happen on these adventures. The vision of the book was to give parents a way to fill the role of an educator, and partner with teachers. Also, I was inspired by the many conversations I’ve had with famous New Yorkers who told me that their inspiration for their career and life’s work came from a field trip or family outing. The idea that a simple trip changed their lives and gave them a sense of their purpose in life — I thought that was so powerful, I wanted to share that wisdom with parents if I could.
Lightswitch: You mentioned the magic and inspiration that can come from outings and trips, and how they have encouraged young people to investigate hobbies, interests, and maybe even future careers. We’ve heard that you have a personal connection to them, as well, and that your family’s own learning adventures sparked some successful careers for your children. We’d love to hear that story!
Shelley: It started when I first took my older son on a trip to Grand Central Terminal. As we explored, I noticed how mesmerized he was. His mouth and eyes were wide open, and he just stared at the majestic staircases, celestial ceiling, and architecture. He continued to notice and be fascinated by architecture, and today he works in real estate. He also coordinates TV and movie shoots by finding the right architectural space for filming — so you can see how our early learning adventures had a profound effect on his life’s work, passions, and purpose.
Lightswitch: One of the strong suits of the book is that it provides a simple, accessible way for kids to learn about and appreciate the city they live in — kind of like your son discovering Grand Central. Do you find that kids growing up in New York City don’t realize the rich history and culture around them, just because it’s so familiar?
Shelley: Yes, it’s absolutely true that we often walk by venues and buildings in our neighborhoods and have no idea of the richness that lies inside. If you think of it one way, the learning adventures in my book are like unwrapping a mysterious present! But the adventures also take readers outside their immediate neighborhood and lead families on a powerful educational experience.
Lightswitch: The book covers 75 locations or experiences across New York City, which is a really impressive list! We know it will be hard to choose, but do you have any favorite stops or excursions that are featured?
Shelley: Oh my… I love them all! But I did purposely choose destinations that appeal to various learning styles — so there’s something for everyone in there. For me, I love the Bronx Zoo Treetop Adventure, where you can zipline across the Bronx River. The Historic Aircraft Restoration Project is another favorite. You can sit in planes from almost every era of aviation history and meet really cool pilots and veterans. Lastly, there’s nothing like the hop-on hop-off ferry for some spectacular views and a fun way to get around.
Lightswitch: If you could leave readers with one thing, what do you hope they will gain from experiencing Shelley’s Learning Adventures in NYC?
Shelley: It would definitely be the idea that all it takes is one instant, one experience, one simple learning adventure to truly impact your child’s future.