Sunday, October 13, 2013

My Sweet Arts

Thanks to blogger Tabitha for this great report on My Sweet Arts classes.  I've been wanting to check them out for a while so I'm so glad to have her report!

What it is: My SweetArts is a program for little ones and their "people" that combines music, movement, crafts, and sensory experiences.  Classes are held at University Mall in Chapel Hill.  The program is the brainchild of two local moms, Rosario and Michele.  Michele handles the music side of class, while Rosario takes care of the crafty part.  I first met Michele and Rosario shortly after the birth of my second child while on an "I need to get out of the house by myself excursion."  They were both so friendly and excited about their new classes that I tucked My SweetArts into my memory to pull out when I felt my daughter was ready for a class of her own.  I tried an "a la carte" class from the Little Elves Workshop with my older son and daughter last December, but decided to wait until this fall to take the full semester plunge.  My son is in full day kindergarten now, so My SweetArts is something my 16 month old and I do together.  It is our special mommy-daughter time and I couldn't be more pleased with our experience.

We are in the Sweet Berries class for children between the ages of 14 and 24 months, so note that my experience will focus on this particular age group.  Keep in mind, however, there are classes for children as young as 4 months all the way up to 6 years, which I am sure are just as wonderful, so definitely check out the information on those. I've also noted that they are flexible about age in the non-drop off classes, so if your schedule doesn't allow for your child's exact age class, I'm sure they would be willing to find room for you elsewhere.

The class always follows the same format, and since young children thrive on routine, this is a big plus.  The class begins with a welcome song on a large mat.  After that Michele leads us through several songs and rhymes that fit a theme.  She mixes the classics with some of her original music thrown in.  Her songs are definitely catchy and I love that the music is always live (read no CDs).  The music portion incorporates lots of movement and expression and a variety of different instruments and props are given to the children to explore each week. 
After the music portion finishes we move on to the arts and crafts portion of the class.  I appreciate that this area is blocked off and not visible during music time, so the children can really be in the music moment.  Each week there are several crafts that fit a theme and a variety of sensory experiences.  There is no pressure to do any crafts, although they are so much fun and well thought out I don't know why you wouldn't want to.  There are always sensory experiences and a little play place set up if getting messy isn't your child's thing one week.  In fact my daughter spent all her time scooping and pouring colored rice at the sensory table this week and that was just fine with me.
The children know that class is over when they hear the tingle of the chimes from the other side of the barrier.  It's like a siren call for my daughter and she dutifully walks to the other side to get her shoes all whilst being mesmerized by the bubble machine.  These ladies have got the schedule down to a T.  If you are in the market for a developmentally appropriate class for your little one, I would look no further than My SweetArts.

What we liked: I really like that this class caters to all areas of a child's development at once.  Instead of having to enroll in 3 different types of classes, you get 3 for the price of 1.  Michele and Rosario always have a plan and if something isn't working they will change it.  Any good teacher knows you have to be willing to adapt to the situation and I've seen them do this time and again.  As I mentioned before, I love that all the music during the music portion is live.  Michele even plays the guitar.  There is a place for CDs, but it's great for the children to see (and hear) that people can create their own music.  I also love that my daughter has a chance to get messy and explore, but that I don't have to worry about her painting my kitchen (yes, this has happened).

What we would change: Honestly, my only complaint is that it is often a little cold in the room, but then I'm always cold.  Also the classes are a little pricey, but are on par with other classes in the area.

Website and other important information:
Website: (as of this writing the website is down, but feel free to use email to get other information and pricing; the link for the Halloween Spooktacular is good if you'd like to enroll)

Location: University Mall, Chapel Hill

Email: (to ask about dropping into a class)

*The below information are dates and info regarding classes now through December.
Sweet Mix (18 mo - 3+ yr) - MON @ 9:20 AM
Sweet Peas (4-14 mo) - MON @ 10:45 AM
Sweet Mix (18 mo - 3+ yr) - FRI @ 9:20 AM
Sweet Berries (14 - 24 mo)  - FRI @ 10:45 AM
Sweet Kids Music/Art (3-6 yr) Drop off - FRI @ 3:30 PM
Sweet Family Dance Party (all ages) - WED @ 10 AM
Sweet Dance (3-6 yr) Drop off - WED @ 4 PM

Special Halloween Spooktacular Event
Music, Movement, Crafts, and bonus portrait photo of your little ones in costume. 
October 26 (choose 9:20 AM or 10:45 AM)

Little Elves Workshop - Save the Date!
December 7, 9, 14, 16


 (making music with egg shakers)

 (dancing with rainbow ribbons)

 (sticky paper craft and horse paper craft)

 (painting with ducks)

 (falling leaves movement song)

(exploring colored noodles in the sensory table)

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