Stir Crazy guest blogger Megan Baldwin of onetwinmom.blogspot.com loves Wee Arts and shared her review!
With so many music classes in the Triangle area, it can be hard to pick just one. But your search can begin and end at Wee Arts, a small business owned by Chapel Hill mom Michelle Schooff. Her program offers Caregiver and Me classes for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers (you can pick to purchase a semester’s worth for a slight discount, or pay the drop-in rate) as well as drop-off camps for children beginning at age 3.
I’ve attended multiple classes with my two-year-old twins, who can’t get enough of the experience and love going back each time. Each class begins in a similar way: the children are all invited to bang on drums while Michelle strums her guitar and sings the “Hello” song, greeting each child by name. The rest of the session is focused on casual learning through a wonderful assortment of both original and familiar songs and movement activities, typically loosely linked to a season-related theme: snowmen, flakes, and reindeer in December; bunnies, butterflies, and birds in April.
Michelle encourages children to learn about their body parts, singing original songs that help them to identify their nose, shoulders, bellies, and knees. She typically also incorporates an activity focused on counting, bringing out a glove adorned with animals or flowers and singing about how many there are based on the number of fingers she’s holding up. Often, she’ll hand out hand-crafted items to the children, like butterflies hanging from a stick, or a paper plate that doubles as a “steering wheel,” and allow them to play along as she sings happily about the object. In helping children to learn how to follow basic commands, she asks them to “copy me” and gently instructs them to jump up and down, spin around, roll around on the ground, or walk in a circle. Occasionally, she uses a brightly colored parachute as a prop, pretending (for example) that the ripples on the surface are ocean waves, letting children run around and under it.
She also introduces her students to multiple musical instruments, getting down on her knees to let the children take turns plucking the strings of her guitar, violin, or ukulele. She has shakers, sticks, bells, and xylophones that she hands out to the kids each class, allowing them to take a turn making their own music.
But even beyond all of the personal touches that make her class stand apart from (and hold its own against) any national program with local affiliates, Michelle has a unique ability to hold the attention of multiple children varying in age, and the patience, skill, and grace to lead a class despite any distractions. As an instructor, Michelle is gentle with her students, carefully reading the room to see what’s working and what isn’t. If the kids are rambunctious, for example, she leans in, playing hearty songs on the guitar and encouraging everyone to spin and dance. Michelle is loved by the families who attend her classes, with former students signing up again and again; there is a sense of friendliness and community among the parents and caregivers.
Wee Arts is running a short, Spring 2 Semester beginning Thursday, May 5: sign up here to attend either on Mondays at or Thursdays at (exact dates available through link; the session is already full!). For new-to-the-program families who have twins or siblings who want to attend together, you’ll pay only for the first child, while the second can attend for free! There is a $10 registration fee.
For more information, find Wee Arts on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/
About our Stir Crazy blogger: “Megan Baldwin is a lawyer turned stay-at-home mom to twin girls in Durham, North Carolina. Follow their adventures at onetwinmom.blogspot.com.”