Mommy and Me classes in the Edmond and Oklahoma City area are some of what our readers ask for most. I field a lot of questions that hit my inbox or via our social channels about where to go with babies and toddlers.
We hear you, moms of kids under 5 who want to get out of the house or just change up your routine. It’s a life stage where a break from the laundry, the bottles waiting to be washed and your own four walls can be something to look forward to each week. Finding something that enriches your child’s life, besides just an outing, is always the unspoken part of those requests too.
The list I point readers to is here but knowing what classes are a great fit is such an individual choice, I rarely recommend any in particular. Unless my children have attended and loved their experience, I can’t speak to what the classes are like.
When they love it, though, I’m all about letting other parents know what’s worth their time and money.
My youngest son, Gabriel, will be 3 in January. We noticed recently that he’s started dancing every time music is on in the house, which it is pretty much daily here. Rhythm and motion come naturally to him, as they seem to for so many his age. When Ginger Waldrip of Ginger’s Music asked if we’d like to try a preview class at Music with Ginger, I didn’t hesitate. I’ve seen her listing on our reader-nominated awards, Family Favorites, which recognize the best in local services, for several years now.
I had heard of Ginger’s Music from the Metropolitan Library System and I’m sure we’ve attended some public events where she hosted a few times. Ginger graduated from OSU and has been teaching music for more than 30 years, first in the public school system and then as a female business owner. I Googled some reviews before we went and found really positive reviews. After attending, I can see why.
Here are five reasons beyond just music education to give Ginger’s Music a try:
The ability to follow directions: The ability to follow directions isn’t always easy to teach. Children have a way of tuning us out as parents. When I talk to preschool and elementary teachers at parent conferences, there’s usually some evaluation related to the ability to follow along with the group and complete a simple set of instructions. That was the first element of the music class I noticed: Ginger sets up the expectation to follow along with ways of pulling kids into the activities.
Kinesthetic movement: One of the child development assessments I remember most from college was children being tested on the ability to skip, just to see if they can coordinate that movement. I hadn’t thought about that since my oldest was a toddler almost a decade ago. Gabriel didn’t know how to skip but he learned quickly. The children danced with scarves, crawled, ran and played through movement. Exercise doesn’t always have to feel strenuous to be beneficial and the benefits of moving more are touted throughout research that points to better learning and focus abilities. It simply doesn’t occur to me throughout the day to stop and stretch or skip with Gabriel but the classes have that movement as an integral part of learning about music.
Kid-friendly instruction: Not every professional who works with children has a way of being that is actually kid-friendly. Professionals who have that true vocation are few and far between. Ginger remained unphased as some toddlers did toddler-like things during the class. I would have lost my patience a few minutes in; she didn’t. The approach was consistent, with invitations to participate and instruction that stayed on track.
Schedule and progress: I don’t have time to attend something during the day since I work. Evening classes are available. There are also classes during the daytime if that works better for your family. Not having to search for a new teacher and get used to a different studio as the child grows would also be positives, since classes start at four months but progress through elementary school with keyboard instruction and musical theory. Having class just once a week is about right for little children too, since more than that can feel overwhelming for families. I don’t personally know anyone who wants to repeat the overscheduled tendencies we grew up with as 90s kids, shuttled from place to place between 3:30 and 7 p.m. while we ate Little Debbie cakes in the minivan. I’m not doing the classes or the junk food, honestly. My sons choose one activity at a time, usually per semester, and that’s our limit.
Price: Discretionary cash can keep families at home. Fees are Ginger’s Music, though, cover 15 weeks of instruction, a full semester. The amount she charges is what I would expect to pay per month so I was pleasantly surprised to see that what I’ve paid for other after-school activities goes further.
If you have questions for Ginger, ask her in our Ages & Stages Facebook group for parents of babies and preschoolers. She’ll give you a direct answer without any pressure to commit. I totally recommend trying a free preview class.