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Kids' Clothing Store Teaches Tots to Roll Over and Speak French

By Janet Upadhye | January 23, 2014 11:23am
 The language classes at Hank & JoJo are for children 9-months-old and up.
Hank & JoJo
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FORT GREENE — Mama. Dada. Comment allez-vous?

A celebrity-studded Fort Greene children's clothing store is expanding its repertoire to teach French and other foreign languages to children  — along with movement, dance and theater classes — according to its owner.

Owner Andriana Spence — who launched her company Hank & JoJo in 2008 and has been in her current location at 212 DeKalb Ave. since 2012 — has clothed the children of Gwen Stefani, Tori Spelling and more.

"Most of our classes sell out," Spence said. "We aim to offer the basics that every parent is looking for [for] their child (art, movement, music) but also work with local parents and teachers to create new and exciting classes. We trial them and see what the response is in the neighborhood, then run it if the response is good."

One of the shop's most popular classes — "Move, Groove, and Grow" for babies — teaches babies who haven't learned to crawl yet how to roll over by working on "tummy time." The class also helps build strength, flexibility and alignment, she said.

Teacher Nora Stephens — a professional dancer and prenatal yoga teacher — uses dance and slow movements to help babies build movement while lying on their backs. Then babies advance to  movement on their stomachs — and finally, they'll eventually be able to roll over.

The class also supports "digestion, sleep, focus and to increase the bond between baby and caregiver," according to Stephens, and costs $25 per class for a four-week series.

Other classes include "Brooklyn Arts and Crafts," "Adventure Dance Fusion," "Musical Theater with Audra Roy," "French for Little Ones" and more.

Spence's children's clothing and accessory shop gained attention for her popular designs — including retro tube socks for kids — which were featured on NBC's "The Today Show."