LittleSPORT is a creative learning and play center designed for children from 6 months through 6 years. We specialize in classes, parties and PLAY! Our mission: Develop healthy, joyful, respectful children through sports and play.

We look forward to seeing your family in our center! Have fun with your LittleONEs while staying active and healthy at LittleSPORT!
Come PLAY!

The Little SPORT concept of promoting Life Education through Sports and Play was pioneered by founder Jennifer Baker Leonard.  Inspired by her three young sons and her lifetime love of sports, Jennifer founded LittleSPORT with the mission of devleoping healthy, joyful, respectful children… one PLAY at a time!

This is Jen’s story…

Often while giving a tour or teaching a class people have been surprised when they find out I’m the founder– I usually laugh and say, “I just wanted to build a place where I could work, never leave my children and they can make a mess and I don’t have to clean!” Well, there’s a little more to it –In a nutshell, here’s my story…

Back in 2003, when my youngest was a few months old, I began to realize there was a strong chance my 8 year marriage (16 year relationship) would be ending, I would be on my own and would need to support my boys (21 month twins & baby) and myself. I felt strongly that I didn’t give birth to three children to leave them and set on a mission to find a way to do both…and so began the idea of LittleSPORT.

Originally I started with the idea of a video, along the lines of Baby Einstein, but a sport version. Then one day my now ex-husband said to me – your video idea is nice and all, but why don’t you do it for real? After a few days, one night I sat up and said – “that’s it!” The next day I contacted a friend who had begun a business in North Jersey and set up a meeting. After getting a copy of his business plan, in February of ’03 I went to work developing my own. What started as a mission statement became a 17 page business plan. This definitely did not happen over night! Luckily my best friend and teammate from college, Polina, did not think I was crazy (unlike most others when I mentioned the idea). She would stay up with me night after night from about 11- 1am (despite her own job) and we would go back and forth on the computer editing. (This began about 10 months of working until 3 or 4 in the morning – be with the kids during the day, put them to bed at 8, clean and decompress until 9 then work through the night – until things came together.)

Around summertime of ’03 we hit a wall because we realized that even with all the greatest ideas, without any money nothing was going to happen. After much research and then miraculously finding a law firm that believed in us enough to put together a private placement without a retainer (they agreed to be paid upon us breaking escrow) we were on our way. Now with a 95 page private placement in hand I set out to raise a good deal of money andbasically to find people who believed in the vision and who would agree to invest in a “highly speculative investment,” a term I soon became all too familiar with! (In the smallest nutshell, I was selling 25% of the company (still just a vision) to raise the capital needed). This was the next major obstacle- and my least favorite part of piecing together this whole “puzzle” – as I often refer to the companies development process. Keep in mind my degree was in communications, not business, I was raising three boys and finally, most of the people that could afford what I was asking for had no current point of reference for the baby world.

In January of ‘04 luck hit and we learned we had an investor that would put us over the edge, we would break escrow and could start using the funds to hire the architects and secure a lease. While continuing to raise money, things started moving. After hiring a business coach, I learned some much needed info on business development- like developing an employee handbook, writing employee contracts, setting up hiring interviews, etc. I got really lucky with some great people – Joanie for one, who took my computer system (a system I researched for abut 6 months in hopes that we could put our “baby world” into the 21st century) and she totally made it work for us.Then there was Ali, who started coming to my house when I was working off the side of my chair in the family room – it’s truly amazing she didn’t run out screaming! She became our Head Coach for the next 5 years and I couldn’t have asked for better.

In May of ’04 we settled on a contractor and we broke ground. At the same time we were also working on our 29th version of our logo, trying to finalize our animal characters, picking out colors for the place, deciding on our floor types and researching how other facilities chose class times. Maybe this is where my schizophrenia started to set in! :) Luckily I have great family and friends to recruit for help– mostly my parents, sisters, brother-in-law and Kathy and Jim Maher! After countless hours with them helping to build and paint, we finally opened our doors in September.

Years later, a lot has happened! Along with a crash course in business management, I’ve learned it’s a lot different working uninterrupted in the middle of the night and working during the day with little guys who want and deserve my attention. None the less, we are fully establishing ourselves as a creative playcenter for children 6 and under, where we specialize in classes, parties and play! Our class enrollment has steadily increased and we have gone from hosting 5 birthday parties our first October to over 2,000 when we last counted. Our Arena memberships are consistently on the rise and more and more people are coming to us to purchase gifts. In working to give back, we have raised over $8,000 to help different charities, donated to more than 300 and have run annual Blood Drives since 2005 with the American Red Cross.

For me, the main thing is that I truly believe in what we do. I feel that if we keep with the main rule – our Golden Rule work philosophy, where we do things by considering what we want for our own children and friends – we should do well. With our classes, it is our goal that not only do the children have fun, but every child that leaves our program knows how to “give 7” and understands the meaning of teamwork. With our Arena play, we work to offer an environment that both the children and parents can enjoy together. With our parties, we work to take the stress off parents and provide a great experience for all who attend. Finally, being thankful for the opportunity to work without leaving my children, I plan to continue to use LittleSPORT as a vehicle to help others in need.

We are extraordinarily grateful for all of you who have become part of the “LittleSPORT Family,” whether you enroll in one of our awesome Sport or Enrichment classes, are an Arena member, you use our specialty programs – Birthday Bashes, Drop ‘n Play, PJ Play, clinics or think to use us for your gift purchases. Also, thank you for your referrals to friends; it is extremely helpful in our growth process. We have set some ambitious goals that we plan to accomplish –and we are confident they are doable with the help of people who continue to believe in us. Not only will this allow us to continue to make LittleSPORT better, but I will have a little more time to enjoy juggling my fun family life! Yes, my angels were truly on the lookout for me and in March of ’06 I married Sean, a man who, without a doubt, is my true companion. We were extremely blessed to welcome a fourth son, Brody, on January 10, 2008 and our daughter, Reagan, on May 14th, 2009!

As always, life is good!

Thanks for taking the time to read my story!

Have a great one!

Jen Baker Leonard