Photos courtesy of Primerrily
Two Westchester moms — and one from Florida — founded a pioneering new online community aimed at inspiring traditional values and patriotism in kids.
For cofounder Alli Pillinger Choi of Bedford, the roots of the new, online, discussion/teaching/shopping platform Primerrily stretch back to her earliest days. “Being the flag holder in my preschool class, during the morning Pledge [of Allegiance], was such a special memory,” shares Choi. “Well, fast-forward 30 years, to when my daughter was in preschool. I learned that not only did her New York City school not recite the Pledge, there were no American flags to be seen or celebrated in the classroom. Love of country did not seem to be a pedagogical priority.”
It was that experience and others like it that compelled Rachel Gerli of Mount Kisco, Britt Riner of Sarasota, FL, and Choi to begin an email chain that would later grow into Primerrily. “It took two more years — and two more babies among us — before we finally formalized Primerrily,” says Riner. “We had batted around ideas, exchanged emails, and kept in touch, but it wasn’t [formalized] until crazy 2020, when parents were turning to online resources more than ever to salvage and supplement their children’s learning during the pandemic.”
Riner adds that it was also public protests and news stories of rioting that made her realize the intrepid trio could could wait no longer. “It seemed that political correctness had taken the place of old-fashioned kindness and respect,” she recalls. “We wanted to bring that back while moving forward important conversations with our kids — and we wanted to be the first ones to have those with our kids, not their teachers or their soccer coaches, as much as we value them.”
So what exactly is Primerrily? “Primerrily makes the past fresh, the present fun, and future exciting for Americans,” explains Gerli. “It’s not about a static curriculum or a bunch of worksheets. It’s a dynamic do-it-as-you-go, use-what-fits-your-lifestyle variety of ideas: kid crafts for the weekends that teach character-building values, discussion guides to help parents talk big topics with little people at the dinner table, curated book recommendations for bedtime stories, and conversation sparks with other parents also trying to raise young patriots.”
The trio plans to expand Primerrily with a podcast, as well as an expanded store. Riner says families can get involved by subscribing to Primerrily’s newsletter or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also be found at www.primerrily.com, @Primerrily on Instagram, and Facebook.