What could be more important to me than my child's healthy
and happy development?
We help parents and teachers give children a smarter beginning.
“Let’s ‘cuddy,’ mommy, and read me a story.”
I’m Susan Sirigatti and TotSpark began in my mind years ago when I was a young mother and teacher. My son Carson and I loved to read and “cuddy” together. That was the way he said, “cuddle.” “Let’s cuddy, mommy, and read me a story.” I still cherish those special moments when we used to read together.
Why Cuddling Counts -- A Lot!
It's hard to believe, but I never imagined my young child would inspire a business years in the future, but he did. That business is TotSpark and it's about early learning and how to help young children become as smart as possible.
Once a teacher, always a teacher
I was a teacher, so reading aloud to children came pretty naturally to me, and Carson loved it. It was fun time for both of us. I would totally get into it and start using different voices for the various characters. We had a really good time.
When years later I retired, I maintained my interest in education and as grandchildren came into the picture, I became more and more interested in early childhood education, in the littlest learners. So I studied and read about it. Then I used what I learned with the young children in our extended family and in our friends’ families.
Engagement and interest
I was most interested in how little ones learn, in how to spark their curiosity and interest, and in making sure they found learning fun. I found that they learned more when I engaged them in conversations about what was being read, by asking them what they thought, and by encouraging them to ask lots of questions. At the same time, I tried to increase their knowledge and their understanding of basic concepts in order to give them the tools and self-confidence to think imaginatively – you know, outside the box. That’s what creativity and genius are about.
Make it easy, make it fun
When I started writing stories for our early learning sets, I had many lengthy discussions with Steve, my husband and co-founder of TotSpark, about methods for parents and teachers to use with very young children to make them smarter. Steve had experience teaching kids when he was younger and going for his Ph.D., and then later at the university level.
I wanted to develop the TotSpark learning tools for effective, easy and enjoyable use. I wanted them to be fun and based on play. That meant that we would do all the work and preparation for the parent and teacher and that we would base our products on the most important cognitive and psychological research in the field of early childhood education.
The result after several years of research and work was TotSpark. Our learning and play tools were created and developed with children’s healthy learning, development and self-confidence as our primary goals.
I know that you and your child will love using TotSpark.
The Guiding Principles
- From the beginning, our idea has been to create, develop and produce the best method and playful learning tools for parents and teachers to help young children grow, develop, learn and think in the most healthy way.
- We believe that children need strong, supportive relationships with the adults close to them in order to thrive. That's why we've made sure that TotSpark offers every opportunity to foster shared, give and take communication between child and adult.
Our Family Team
Susan is a former New York City School Principal who has Master's degrees in Education and in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania.
Earlier in her career she was an English, reading and EFL teacher and then school administrator.
For many years, Susan lived in Florence, Italy, where she became fluent in Italian and taught English at the University of Florence.
Her expertise is in English language arts and literacy and in bilingual education.
Stephen Stearn, Ph.D.
Steve is a scientist who has a Ph.D. in chemistry. He taught at Fordham University and at the City University of New York and was a consultant on technology based business development.
He worked in the pharmaceutical and biomedical industries and
was a consultant to New York State’s Centers For Advanced Technology at Cornell University and at The State Universities at Buffalo and Stony Brook.
While attending graduate school, Steve taught chemistry to young children and teens as well as to college students. This sparked his interest in the basis of conceptual learning and in the best ways to nurture children’s motivation and intellectual curiosity.
Carson's business acumen and skills have made him a valuable resource to TotSpark and as such, he has been deeply involved in all aspects of the development of the company from concept to launch including strategic planning, marketing, graphics, website design and building, and the conceptualization, design and realization of our products. He also created one of our characters, wrote the story for it, and created the initial illustrations.
Carson's international education in NY, Italy, and Hong Kong has provided him with a strong understanding of the global marketplace. Besides English, his native language, he is fluent in Italian.