Ph.D. & Founder of Elliott's Classes
Elliott Cortez, Ph.D. is the founder of Elliott's Classes, movement education classes that have been improving the physical, cognitive and emotional development of children in New York City since 1992. As a child psychologist and former gymnast, Elliott designed Elliott's Classes to optimize learning through movement science to enrich all aspects of a child's life. This unique approach has been coined, "The Elliott Method". According to Elliott, "I like to see the world through childrens' eyes and speak to them as if they are my equals." Elliott provides every child with individualized attention and believes addressing a child's special needs at an early stage is critical in enhancing their development.
Elliott found his passion for gymnastics at a young age and began competing professionally at the age of 7. Following his retirement from professional competition, he joined the world renowned Bela Karolyi Training Center in 1985 as a trainer certified by the United States Gymnastics Federation.
In 1987, Elliott earned his Ph.D. in child psychology from Texas A&M, after which he formed his own practice. As part of treatment, Elliott often advised patients to enroll in gymnastics to build social and behavioral skills. He put his technique into practice by developing a National Gymnastic Training Program for high risk children at the YMCA and elementary public schools in Houston, Texas. This program ultimately formed the basis for "The Elliott Method". Ultimately, these children showed improvement in their overall school performance and behavioral problems were minimized.
Following the success of this program, Elliott began leading classes at several children's gymnastics centers in New York City. The response to his programming was overwhelming and compelled him to open Elliott's Gymnastics Center. Today, Elliott's Classes has evolved into a center with a full range of children's programming with the goal of making a positive impact on as many children as possible.
Elliott's Classes have earned recognition from many early childhood specialists including physicians who recommend parents with at-risk children as young as 8 weeks to enroll in Elliott's Classes. Elliott's work has brought him significant recognition for early childcare services:
- Elliott's Classes Named Among "Best Gyms for Kids in NY" by CBS News in 2012
- 1999 New Yorker of the Week by NY1 in recognition for "working to do what is right and good for our children and our future"
- 1999 Hero of the Year award by Big Apple Parents Guide, recognized for "good deeds in helping others and improving the quality of life in NYC"
- Appearances in several "Sesame Street" videos including "Elmocize" and "Count on Sports"
- 1995 release of "Elliott's Gym for Kids" video, bringing exercise to children in their homes
Lead Gymnastics and Dance Instructor
Nicole was raised on our very own Upper West Side! Her gymnastics career began in mommy and me classes similar to Elliott’s Method before she moved on to Columbus Gym and then the recreational gymnastics team at the West Side Y. She proudly competed on the varsity gymnastics team for Horace Mann for six seasons, helping lead the Lady Lions to A.A.I.S. championships.
In middle and high school, Nicole pursued her love for children as a mother’s helper, babysitter, tutor, mentor, camp counselor, and swim instructor. During her French and premedical studies at Georgetown University, she worked with preschoolers as an Assistant Teacher for the Hoya Kids Learning Center. After college, Nicole developed expertise in Early Childhood Development and Parenting as a Teacher for the Early Child Development Center at the Center for Comprehensive Health Practice. She also returned to the Horace Mann gymnastics team as a Coach for three seasons.
As an instructor at Elliott’s, Nicole is thrilled to have the opportunity to combine her passions for children and gymnastics.
Lead Gymnastics Instructor
Beata Gomes was born and raised in Rzeszow, Poland. She received her honorable Master’s Degree from the Physical Education Pedagogy Academy of Rzeszow University, Poland.
Beata has over 20 years of teaching experience. Beata’s great affinity to mentor and teach children not only proved to be successful, but also earned great recognition in her career as an elementary school teacher in Poland. After moving to NYC she continued her passion of early child development teaching.
Beata’s favorite saying is:
“If a child cannot learn in the way we teach, we must teach in a way the child can learn”
Lead Gymnastics Instructor and Kids In Bloom Lead Teacher
Garrett was born and raised out west in Logan, Utah. He began gymnastics at the age of 4 and competed for 7 years before transitioning to power tumbling and trampoline, where he competed at a national level. Garrett first knew childhood development and education was his passion when he volunteered in an orphanage in Guatamala for two consecutive summers, and during high school where he taught mommy and me swimming classes for three years.
After high school, Garrett expanded his knowledge and fluency of the Spanish language when he lived in Mexico for two years doing missionary work, falling in love with the culture and prompting him to incoporate Spanish into his work with children. Upon returning to the United States, Garrett worked in a bilingual Head Start program designed for the children of migrant farm workers, and has worked with children ages 6 months to 5 years.
As a new resident of New York City, Garrett is excited to continue his enthusiasm for Spanish and childhood education with Elliott's Classes.
Kids In Bloom Director and Lead Teacher
Originally from New Orleans, Grace Fary holds a B.A. in International Relations and Spanish from Tulane University. There, she worked as a substitute teacher and a summer camp teacher for classes of 2-4 year olds. She spent her junior year in Santiago de Chile, studying in Chilean universities. After returning to Louisiana, she interned at a charter elementary school, acting as a liaison between the school and Spanish-speaking families.
She came to New York to pursue a Masters in Bilingual Education. Since beginning the program, Grace has student-taught at a Bilingual Elementary school and eventually became a lead teacher in a Universal Pre-Kindergarten class. She joined Elliott’s this summer, as she completed her Masters’ degree from the City College of New York. She aims to create a classroom environment that is inviting, enlightening, and always fun. She looks forward to a great year!
Kids in Bloom Assistant Teacher
Kimberley was born in Jamaica and raised in the Bronx, New York. During high school she developed a love for working with children when she was an avid volunteer at a neighborhood daycare. Being and working with children has been passed down to her from her mother, who has been a livelong caregiver.
Kimberley has worked for Elliott’s Classes in our Kids In Bloom pre-school alternative for over two years, and looks forward to continue to bring her ability to foster children’s imaginations and their love for learning through play.
Kids in Bloom Assistant Teacher
Alexandra is a New York City Native. She found her passion caring for others at a very young age as she helped her mother raise her older sister with Cerebral Palsy. In high school, Alexandra co-founded EATWISE: or (Educated and Aware Teens Who Inspire Smart Eating), a nutrition education program giving children and teens the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about what they eat while living an active lifestyle.
While earning a B.A. in Psychology at SUNY Albany, Alexandra developed expertise in childhood development, working as a Senior Program Aide at Northside Center for Child Development, a recreational and therapeutic after-school and summer camp program. She hosted creative, athletic, and recreational activities for children with emotional and behavioral needs. Most recently, Alexandra received her Master's Degree in Social Work. Outside of work, Alexandra organizes community programs and workshops for children and their families. She is very excited to be a part of Kids in Bloom!
Kids In Bloom Assistant Teacher
Abbi has lived in a few different cities but New York is where she calls home. Abbi graduated with a BA in History and Political Science and during her schooling completed several courses in Education studies. While she was in high school, Abbi spent time volunteering at a Head Start program in a class for 3-4 year olds. She has worked with kids from 5 to 18 years old, and has been tutoring students of all ages for over 5 years. Outside of Kids in Bloom, Abbi works part time as a writer and sports photographer. Abbi is beyond thrilled to be a part of Kids in Bloom and looks forward to fostering an environment filled with fun and creativity for all!