Our Mission


REady, set, play! is committed to utilizing group play to help children reach their full potential as they become independent thinkers, learners, and problem solvers.



Ready, Set, Play! is a behavior-based program specializing in social skills development for children. We provide children the support they need to instill confidence and minimize apprehension while participating in a small group setting.  Our specialized instruction andsmall-class ratios teach children the skills they need to participate in open-ended group play and structured activities.  All of the lessons are thematic-based and modeled after their mainstream equivalents.

Ready, Set, Play! utilizes a program called I LEARN THROUGH PLAY  CURRICULUM™ developed by Shirley Aninias.

The I LEARN THROUGH PLAY™ curriculum is designed to teach play skills in a group setting by providing:

  • Visuals tools that support the foundation of play and social skills
  • Repetition, reinforcement and consistency to acquire the skills
  • Frequent opportunities to practice specific skills
  • Multiple opportunities to generalize skills

In our experience traditional behavioral programs do not concentrate on teaching and developing group play skills. As a result, when children are presented with an opportunity to engage in group activities they exhibit difficulties participating appropriately. This is often due to a lack of exposure to structured group play. Our experience shows that with an educational plan tailored to the child’s needs they can learn the skills necessary to participate in group play without reservation. Group play is a highly effective way for children to learn and master social skills.

Shirley Aninias, M.A. TSHH (Founder)

Shirley received her Master’s Degree in Special Education with a specialization in behavioral disorders from Teacher’s College at Columbia University. Her undergraduate degree was in Communications Disorders from Kean University.   Her career began in the New York City public school system teaching learning disabled elementary students. She later accepted a position as a Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) and worked with developmentally delayed children aged 0-5 years at YAI/NYL Lifestart, a New York City based not for profit organization.


Shirley went on to become a lead SEIT whose responsibilities consisted of designing individualized home and school curriculum and leading educational teams for early intervention and preschool cases. She worked intensively with speech pathologists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists to design effective programs for each of her students. In addition to being a lead SEIT, she also provided 1:1 support for students attending mainstream preschools. Shirley then took on a supervisory role at YAI/NYL Lifestart as an ABA field specialist. As a specialist, Shirley supervised home and school based cases for early intervention and preschool students for the Lifestart Program. Shirley's passion for teaching, and a desire to share her innovative

I LEARN-THROUGH-PLAY™ approach to social skills development, led to the creation of Ready, Set, Play! in 2007. Ready, Set, Play! is a social skills program for children in NYC.  Shirley continues to consult with families, provide private home/school-based therapy for children, and develop new and innovating teaching methods for Ready, Set, Play!’s  I LEARN-THROUGH-PLAY™ approach. In 2010, Shirley accepted a position at Queens College as an adjunct professor teaching graduate students in the Educational and Community Program in Special Education. Shirley has also been invited to speak at several NYC preschools to be the guest speaker at their professional development day. In the fall of 2016, the program she pioneered will be expanding into a social intensive program called Think, Learn, Play!