This is how it all began...
I am Brazilian. I have lived in New York City for 15 years and have a ten-year old son who is Brazilian / American. Eternal soul child that I am, I have always believed that every child should be cared for with all the love in the world and the chance to dream.
When my son Lorenzo was born, I felt a great longing for home and an irrepressible need to give Lorenzo a sense of the childhood I had enjoyed back at my grandparents home...the aroma of homebaked cake, the sound of bossa nova, a garden from which secret passages and worlds appeared and disappeared, timeless afternoons spent over cordless phones, creating toothpick animals, games and more games, keeping up with the cousins, just simply day dreaming....
From this memory, the idea of Peki was born. It began as informal get-togethers with Brazilian friends. I organized these weekly at my home as free-form playdates for both moms and babies. Over time, as my son grew, I tweaked the playdates to include themes, guided activities, and much more while remaining loyal to the concept that playtime must be supervised but should be free. My Grandma Nita (and my mentor in so many thingas), who dedicated her life to teaching kindergarten, never ceased to emphasize the importance of free play. She would say "parents today don't give children the space to be children. There's no need to tell them how to play – a suggestion is all that's needed."
Over the years, I have had the joy of transmitting some of the charm and magic of the old day to my son and many of other little friend. And, I have discovered that through "play" we can bring children closer to their roots. Today, my son not only speaks Portuguese fluently; he has a total affinity for Brazilian culture. I must confess though, I never thought that Lorenzo would be the poster child for this endeavor. However, he is indeed a positive example of the multicultural citizenship that I speak of. Although it may not appear to be simple, I believe that with our meetings it is easier and – first and foremost – fun to convey our roots. It's surely worth it! I hope you enjoy Peki!
As always, with affection,
Vanessa Simone Pereira
Brazilian, Lawyer, Creator of Peki, mother of Lorenzo
Maria Paula Carriço
Brazilian, Investment Banker, mother of Oli
Native New Yorker, Studio Artist and Teacher, mother of
Ava Jane and Liam