One of my daughter’s favorite things about school is art. And while I try to create fun art activities for her at home, I was excited to find out about art classes at Wholesome Campus. We were thrilled to be offered the opportunity to check out their facility and try a class for ourselves.
Wholesome Campus in Chantilly offers a wide variety of classes for kids (and adults) of all ages. Course offerings are organized into different institutes and academies and are designed to give students an opportunity to sample and pursue their passions in a wide array of activities. While classes in each of the areas sounded interesting, we checked out one of the offerings from the art institute – Storytime Art.
Storytime Art Class
Storytime Art is offered weekday mornings at 10 am. It’s a drop-in class, which means that the class sizes varies on a daily basis. On the morning we were there, the dreary weather was keeping folks at home, and we had the class to ourselves. The class sizes varies day to day – Fridays are usually the smallest and Wednesdays are the busiest – but weather and community activities also can impact how many students show up. My daughter was thrilled to have the art room all to herself and quickly took off her coat and settled in for the class.
Each class features a story and coordinating art project. The story for today was about a princess, and before we could start reading, we had to get into our princess attire. Miss Sarah provided my four year old everything she needed to dress up like a princess, and then she was ready to listen to the story. After we listened to the story, it was time to move to the art tables to create our very own princess castles. After talking about what makes watercolor paper different (the texture), Miss Sarah helped my daughter draw out her castle with crayons, encouraging her to add special touches to each section, like different shaped windows and a spot for the castle magician.
After the castle was complete, it was time to use water colors to paint it. Even though I use water colors with my daughter on a regular basis, I learned that there are two ways to paint with water colors, and Miss Sarah taught us how to do each and the different color you get from each technique. She also showed us how the wax in the crayons reacts to the water colors – my daughter was really interested in this, and even added some extra crayon to her castle to add to the effect.
My overall impression of the class? It was fantastic. The teacher was both knowledgeable about art and able to cater the lesson to the abilities and interests of my 4 year old. She went out of her way to connect with her and ask her questions as she helped my daughter create her castle. Because my daughter loves art, this is not the first art class we’ve taken. But it is the first that completely engaged her for the entire 45 minutes.
It’s a stark contrast to the class we took through a well known provider of art classes for young children. And at $10 a class ($35 for 4 if you pay for a month at a time), it’s a lot more reasonably priced than similar classes in the area. My daughter’s review? She talked all the way home about how she got to dress up like a princess and make a REAL princess castle. She also can’t stop asking when we’re going to go back. Even though Wholesome Campus isn’t that close to our house, I am sure we will be back.
Wholesome Campus offers a wide variety of classes for kids of all ages. The classroom for cooking classes caught our eye, as my daughter and eye I like to bake together and I was impressed by the amount of equipment – students are actually doing all the cooking in the class. We also were intrigued by the space for the jumprope classes – I didn’t know that competitive jumprope was so popular, and the owner told me that not only do they offer classes, they sponsor a jumprope team. Classes for parents are also offered, both as part of the Infant/Toddler Academy and for just adults (taught concurrently with programs for kids – you can learn to cook while your child creates his or her own masterpiece in the classroom next door!).
The Wholesome Campus space is brightly lit and well thought out. There is a small parent lounge next to each classroom (so you can see your child), and a larger lounge out front with tv screens that show what is happening in each classroom. I loved the idea that I could have a cup of coffee and see what my daughter was doing while giving her the independence to take the class on her own. I also liked how clean everything was – with kids running around, that can be quite a challenge.
Classes are organized by institutes/academies. Classes are unique and range from “Repurpose an Old Tshirt” for tweens in the Sewing Academy to a “Pack Your Own Lunch” class in the Culinary Institute. The current class offerings are all listed online and are offered in the Art Institute, Culinary Institute, Dance Academy, Infant/Toddler Academy, Sewing Academy, Jumprope Academy, and Martial Arts Academy. Classes within each institute/academy are designed for different age groups, including “Mommy & Me” classes for the youngest students.
Wholesome Campus also offers Summer Camp, which gives kids an opportunity to sample activities in each of the different institutes and academies. I got a chance to see some of the massive projects that campers built this summer, and it made me wish that I was young enough to go to camp. Birthday parties are also offered, and range from basic parties with pre-set themes to more elaborate parties customized to your birthday child. More about parties and camps is available on their website.
Photos by Mara Surridge.