About Us

About L3 Academy

A seriously fun learning center and birthday party venue focused on STEM, L3 Academy was founded on the principal that a lifelong curiosity and love of learning must be fostered in order for a child to succeed. L3 Academy believes in building a solid foundation, experiential learning, and that work as well as time is needed to achieve excellence. An award-winning learning center, L3 Academy was named as Best Learning Center for three consecutive years in Suburban Essex's Readers' Choice Awards and the Besties Award from Mommy Poppins NJ for Best Young STEM Learners Program in 2017.

L3 is focused on providing fun, educational programs that go beyond the common enrichment or continuing education programs for ages 4 to 14. While enrichment and continuing education programs offer exposure to a variety of subjects, we hope that our programs provide a more in-depth opportunity for our students to diligently learn, while having hands-on fun. For example, if you’re interested in robotics, our learning program starts at the age of 4 with gears and moves all the way up to competitive and non-competitive robotics programs.

What is STEM?

STEM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and is often used today whenever education is discussed. You’ll find that the federal, state and local governments, educators, teachers and school districts are hyper-focused on this area today. Why? Just look around you - both locally, regionally, nationally and globally. In today’s global economy and STEM-based careers, our children’s generation will need highly specialized skills. By creating a fun, instructive atmosphere for STEM learning at an early age will open minds and curtail any preconceptions of STEM being boring or too difficult.

Our Approach?

Taking a slightly non-traditional approach, our belief is that age doesn’t always dictate ability; drive and interest trump talent; and mistakes are often always the best learning experience. Our goal is to transform a child’s curiosity into self-drive by providing the skills to continue onto the next level of competency. We believe in deliberate practice, the action of expanding your abilities through ongoing practice to expand your abilities, is an organizational psychology term that applies to creating a competency and then, eventually, expertise. Similar to Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 hours is the magic number of greatness” – though misinterpreted due to its simplicity – practice and the drive to learn through practice will result in competency. In some cases, 10,000 hours and a precocious talent – such as with Bill Gates or the Beatles – have empowered people to achieve success.

L3 Academy offers a seriously fun environment for kids to try out something new, do something they love or even continue onto competition. Whether it's skill-building, exposure or a "hobby", we want the kids to take pride in having pride in doing it themselves, learn, and perhaps pick-up a new passion.

Our instructors range from certified teachers to computer engineers to instructors with competency in select areas such as coding or robotics, or a love of STEM. What do they have in common? (1) a passion for STEM (2) real-world experience (3) competency in subject area (4) an innate ability to take complex ideas and simplify them for children of all ages (5) experience with instructing children.

Mission Statement

L3 Academy inspires to be a seriously fun learning center that encourages insatiable curiosity and fosters a lifelong love of learning in children. Our core purpose is to deliver unique hands-on skill building STEM programs to children with a focus on learning with emphasis on learning functional skills, critical thinking and problem solving

Core Values

  • Active engagement.We strive to create an environment where students are actively engaged in ideas and discoveries by teaching comprehension.
  • Curiosity.Our commitment is to foster curiosity in children that will begin their journey toward a love of lifelong learning.
  • Courteous persistence of knowledge. We insist on a standard of excellence by encouraging a pursuit of knowledge and skills, creation of solutions to problems and most of all grace at all times. Students should take pride in recovering from failures. Students inspire to overcome obstacles, meet the challenge(s) and create solution(s).
  • Honesty.We believe honesty is the best policy. Honesty in work ethics, goals, and how we relate to one another.

Core Competencies at L3 Academy

  • Passion and knowledge of STEM area(s)
  • Actively engaged and engaging adult instructors with real-world experience and/or a love of STEM topics
  • Experiential and differentiated learning
  • Competitive teams are offered.

Through these core values and competencies, L3 Academy strives to create a center of excellence for children interested in STEM topics.

Value proposition of L3 Academy

  • We’re passionate about STEM
  • We provide individualized attention in a small group setting
  • A safe place for children to experience “failure” and understand how to learn from it
  • A tiered progression for many of the STEM programs, where students can and should progress in an area
  • We provide support our communities from fundraisers to educational programs

Who Are We?

L3 Academy was founded by Yin Chang and Kim McGuire, two moms whose children wanted more than what school and other after school programs had to offer. Both Yin and Kim founded and served on the Board of Directors of Glen Ridge First, a non-profit supporting and promoting STEM for school aged children in Northern NJ. However, they soon realized the limitations of a non-profit; therefore L3 Academy was born.

About the Co-Founders

Kim McGuire Learning Kim’s love for math and science started in elementary school and her passion for pursuing these interests continues today. She’s been lucky enough to have a daughter who shares the same passion and always asks for “more math, mom!”. In fact, her daughter loved math so much that she traded in Brownies for a shot at math camp. As a result, Kim’s been on a mission to seek out small group, individualized instruction for her daughter so she can move as quickly or leisurely as she’d like in a subject.

Yin Chang Since getting her first computer (the VIC-20) and then taking it apart, Yin has been obsessed with technology. Having attended a competitive NY high school focused on technology and engineering, she was astonished that students today don’t all walk around with a T-square, calculate the tension of steel versus copper wires and have a foundry in high school. Today, she’s blessed with two sons who love math, reading and robotics. Having learned through play all her life, Yin wanted to pass along that appetite for curiosity and inspire young minds to love learning.