Two local mothers and educators are launching a new business that will bring art, yoga and literature classes to children.
"One of our values is wonder and creating a sense of wonder," Denise Collins said. "That sense of wonder that children have is something we want to expand on."
Collins and business partner Melanie Ferguson begin teaching classes next week. Their business is called Balance, which is an important part of yoga, art and life, they said.
Both have backgrounds in education and are passionate about children and fostering a strong community through their business, they said.
Ferguson has a master’s degree in special education, teacher certification K-12 in special education and a bachelor’s degree in American literature. She is also a certified children's yoga teacher through Go Grounded in Atlanta and is currently completing Yoga Alliance's 200-hour teacher training with Jessica Jollie at Yoga Landing.
The first session of classes starts Nov. 4.
Anyone interested can sign up through the website.
Collins has a master’s degree in counselor education and a bachelor’s degree in art history. She recently served four years as an atelierista—which is an art studio teacher—at Highland Plaza United Methodist Preschool, where she worked with children through the Reggio Emilia approach to learning.
The Reggio Emilia approach is about focusing on and following the interests of children and learning with them, Collins said. It's about empowering children and teaching them to ask questions, she said. Click here to read more about that approach.
For now, Collins and Ferguson are working out of St. Marks United Methodist Church in North Chattanooga.
They are offering classes for children ages 3 to 12. They team is offering yoga, art and combination classes that include art, yoga and reading.
While the women are teaching out of the church and looking for a permanent space for their business, they are offering a 10 percent discount on classes, which range in price from $75 to $140 before the discount. For the art classes, the cost includes materials.
One of the classes will help children ages 3 to 5 "investigate and experiment" with materials such as watercolors, oil pastels, wire and clay to create art, according to the website.
Another for children ages 8 to 12 will focus on the elements and principles of design and introduce children to art techniques.
The yoga classes will promote flexibility, motor skills and creativity through the practice.
The book club classes will use storytelling, and children will bring the stories to life through art and yoga, according to the website.
Once they settle in a permanent space, they will offer snacks and retail sales, they said.
And they want their space to be one where families can feel at home. They want it to be a place of inspiration and learning, they said.
"It's not just the art and yoga but also having a community place for families and children," Ferguson said.
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