Fishtown’s PlayArts is adding a coworking space to help busy parents

The $35 daily fee covers both WiFi and childcare.

Fishtown's PlayArts

Fishtown's PlayArts

PlayArts / Facebook

Think of it like “Take Your Kids to Work Day,” but with more perks.

Krista Yutzy-Burkey, owner of Fishtown children’s center PlayArts at 1241 N. Front St., recently started a new experiment: opening up her space to busy adults.

Last month, PlayArts began offering coworking. For $35 a day, parents can bring over their kids, drop the little ones with experienced childcare providers, and then walk a few doors down to open classroom in the same building to get work done. Also included in the price are regular coworking perks like coffee, tea and WiFi.

Though she’s not sure yet how successful the idea will be, Yutzy-Burkey said, she knows there’s a substantial need.

“A lot of parents work from home these days,” she said, noting that she herself is the mother of a 6 year old named Milo. “It helps to have a space where you can go and have some uninterrupted time, even where you can check in with your child, but more on your terms.”

Parent-centric coworking centers have opened in Philly in the past, but right now, PlayArts is likely the only one offering childcare on site, joining a handful of spaces across the U.S.

The concept has legs: On Tuesday, Yutzy-Burkey got her first parent registration.

The space itself is in its very early stages. The classroom is available three days a week — Monday through Wednesday, from noon to 4 p.m. (For those of you non-parents, that’s right around nap time, so it’s the time of day when PlayArts has the most usable space and extra hands available to help out.)

Yutzy-Burkey plans to cap attendance at between three and five parents at a time, to keep the childcare-to-kid ratio small.

To staff the new service, she’s enlisted two employees who don’t usually work during that time, and asked them to stay on call. If enough people register, they’ll be prompted to come into work.

Right now, the coworking program is in beta, Yutzy-Burkey said. She plans to run it through at least the end of April, and perhaps into early May, and then evaluate how things went.

The biggest question now is whether she can make coworking play nice with the PlayArts’ other programming.

“We also offer a lot of other services,” she said. “Success for us is figuring out a way to make it work so that it is helpful to the parents in the way they need it, and so it also doesn’t alienate any of our existing clients or members or hinder any of our existing services.”

So far, Yutzy-Burkey is optimistic: “The response that we’ve gotten already proves that there is a need for it.”




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