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Play and learning are crucial for a child's development.  When the environment inspires rich play that teaches 21st century skills, independence, and leadership, a child is set up for success. We founded grOH! Playrooms to be a partner for families and grownups who want to give their children every opportunity to create, explore, think critically, and play: the ingredients to become thriving 21st century humans.

Anne Gillyard, Co-Founder

CEO, Creative Director

Playrooms should be fun, stylish, and a crucial part of a child’s academic and developmental growth. This is the philosophy that Anne Gillyard, the CEO and Creative Director of grOH! Playrooms, shares with her clients. Her work and expertise has been featured in BuzzFeed, Washingtonian, and HuffPost; shared by brands like Crate & Barrel Kids; and led to partnerships with big-name children’s brands like Nugget and Wiwiurka. 

 

Before becoming an innovative playroom designer, Anne earned a master’s degree in early childhood development and curriculum. She spent a decade teaching and training other educational professionals across the country, focusing on STEM learning, problem-based learning, Montessori-style classroom environments, social emotional skills, and 21st century learning. She also developed a national curriculum for play-based learning that continues to be taught in 45 states. During this time, she identified a disconnect between how children play at home and the critical thinking skills needed for success in school and as members of society. She saw the answer was in transforming the home play environment. 

 

Fueled by her passion for play and learning, Anne co-founded grOH! Playrooms in 2018. Anne and her co-founder, Jodi, developed a framework that includes eight types of play needed for playrooms. Their signature kid- and parent-approved system supports a child’s academic learning, emotional growth, and development of 21st century skills. As the CEO and Creative Director, Anne ensures that working with grOH! is an incredibly personalized and customized partnership. Families who work with Anne know they aren’t just working with another interior designer, but they’re also getting an educational expert and a parenting guru dedicated to their children’s ongoing success.

When she’s not designing playrooms, Anne is enjoying time in her own playspace with her two children, Grant (4) and Audrey (2), and hanging out with her husband and partner in all things, Chris. She loves cooking big meals and traveling to exciting places, which all serve as inspiration for the new features and elements her imagination dreams-up.

Anne Gillyard {Co-founder}

CEO, Creative Director\

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Jodi Arellano, Co-Founder

CFO & Client Experience Officer

Play should be easy on parents, and everyone should love the play spaces in their home.  Making this a reality for families has become a true passion for Jodi.

 

Jodi Arellano is a lifelong learner and career educator.  Her career spans three states, four schools, and over 1000 students in 13 years across a variety of teaching and leadership positions.  In those roles, ranging from Early Childhood education to Advanced Placement Psychology, Jodi partnered closely with families to support students’ academic and social development.  In particular, Jodi’s dedication to students with special needs and their families led to regular district-wide recognition of her advocacy and expertise. During her years in elementary schools, she served as a school and district-wide specialist in early literacy and math and later, as a founding teacher of a college preparatory high school, she renewed her passion for developmental psychology while teaching AP Psychology.  Her final five years working in schools were spent refining her craft, developing and implementing highly effective curriculum to support students as they prepare for college and career in the 21st century.  In her classrooms and teacher coaching, Jodi has always emphasized crafting learning opportunities that foster creativity, critical thinking, communication skills, and reasoning.  Furthermore, she recognized the impact of the classroom layout and systems on student learning for preschoolers through teenagers.  When her colleagues couldn’t figure out where to place the furniture in their room or how to set up organizational systems to support student independence, they went to Jodi.  She always seemed to have the answer. 

 

When Jodi began her own family, she started to connect her expansive educational background with the design of her own children’s play spaces.  As her family grew, so did her passion about balanced play and playrooms.  She regularly found herself discussing play and play spaces with friends and other teachers and served as an informal consultant, giving advice on the best toys and how to problem solve all of the things that drove her friends bananas about their kids’ play spaces.  It soon became abundantly clear that she and her friends weren’t the only ones talking about this, spending way too much time that they don’t have trying to figure out the answer. There had to be an easier way.

 

Eventually, in 2018, Jodi began the grOH! journey with Anne.  The opportunity to combine their passions for education, play, organization, and interior design was too much to pass up.  Not to mention the desire to foster her obsession with high quality toys and children's products.  

 

Jodi lives in the neighborhood of Shepherd Park, Washington, DC with her husband of 10 years (Dan), and three kids (Sebastian 8, Rafael 4, and Lucia 8 months). When not designing and organizing, she's at her happiest trying out new toys, challenging her boys to a game of Just Dance, reliving her rock climbing days from Las Vegas, or potentially winning the occasional "friendly" neighborhood mahjong game. 

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Jodi Arellano {Co-founder}

CFO, Client Experience Officer