Our top Childrens Arts Programs in #YYC
As a Mother of 3 opening a DIY Studio, I was always brainstorming about the potential programs, workshops and events that Pinnovate would offer one day. A huge part of it’s creation came from gaps in our community which I had personally found in my own experience as a parent.I had to opportunity to try many things up until I was 16 as my parents easily found programs which existed for us to casually be active and have fun!
Personally, I struggled a few years ago when my then 10 year old decided to stop competitive swimming. She had burned out, yes at the age of 10, when she had moved up a level and was now swimming 4-6 days a week. She wanted to try new things, which we 100% supported, but finding beginner level activities at that age surprisingly became a challenge. My kids, like most, love everything! They love sports, art, they love to dance and sing, but in this day and age I found it challenging to find what I call “balanced options” for activities which were 1-2 days a week. I wanted to give them options to compete, have fun, learn, but not be forced to choose one thing they loved. Swimming had sneakily grown into a full time commitment as do many activities for our children these days, limiting their participation in new things as they become “beginners” at 10-12 years old and are slotted with much younger children. The hunt was on through the journey of Pinnovate, us group of moms found a few gems we wanted to share.
Pulse Dance Studios. I googled and came across this amazing studio and am I ever thankful I did! It offers street and breakdancing which is unparalleled in this city. What makes this dance studio unique is the young talented teachers which local business owner Tara has brought together. A cool group of former street dancers who are truly passionate about hip hop and amazing role models! Another feature which I personally LOVE is the fact that older non-dancers have a place. This is something I have personally struggled with. Most local studios begin at a young age, and foster a collective group through the years. It is a challenge for tweens to join at an older age if they aren’t part of the circle of dance which exists. Pulse offers a variety of classes — Once a week, for older children to learn, feel safe and not have to invest their livelihoods in. If they love it they can always join their Beast Machine program which is an intensive program also welcoming to children of all ages and skill levels.
The Show Company. My child, post swim career, decided that she wanted to try singing and dancing. With no background in either of these, I found it quite hard to find a program where she would be challenged but not miles behind the pack of experienced performers. Luckily I discovered the Show Company a local program owned by choreographers and professional singers. This school offers a “Young Canadians” feel with less commitment as it only runs 2 days a week for the Jr. Program (ages 8-13)! Voice training, dancing and most importantly being part of 2 yearly theatre shows (which are very well put together), offer the opportunity for children to have fun, learn and experience being part of a team.
Littles Arts University. Of course its on our favourites list! Seeing the massive gaps in Childrens art programming in our area, Pinnovate created an 8 week sessional program which runs 3 times a year. This program teaches about art history figures while children learn painting and drawing techniques. Catering to a variety of skill levels in our classes has not been a challenge as much of the work is independent. Offering art classes for 3 age groups, 1 day a week, allows parents flexibility while give children a taste for drawing and painting without overwhelming their schedules. Our recently added Teen LAU intensive has been an incredible experience and came from the need for a more challenging level for our LAU sessional students. This passion project is a collaboration with local artists assisting Pinnovate in mentorship based full year program with a variety of mediums.
Cornerstone Music. Now although music schools are not a new or unique idea, Cornerstone cafe offers something that no where else does. Locally owned and operating since 1989, this a fully operating cafe with music lessons for all types of instruments! Cornerstone has created a hip and fun environment which is welcoming to children of all ages and teaches everything from electric guitar, ukulele, wood, and brass instruments! They also have open mic nights on weekends and a song writing coop. We love it because it because again, it fills a void which exists and fosters a creative environment for musical learning with a completely unique design.
Last but least our absolute favourite thing about all of these programs … wait for it … no hidden fees! No fund raising, costume costs, or extra add-ons in any of these programs! They are all locally owned and operated and we thank all of them for filling a much needed void in Children’s art programming in Calgary!