Taken Summer 2010 and Summer 2012
See below for 2010 experience. We took Little Fine Artists for a second time in 2012 because we didn't think it could get any worse than the first class. I had my doubts when the teacher on the first day said that she thought she was teaching some other dance class and was scrambling around to see what she could do for the art portion. So I figured one semi-unplanned class would be fine, but after trying this class twice, I think an art kit like the 120 Piece Deluxe Young Artists Art Set would have been just as good.
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The problem is that the next class was basically the same thing: think of an item and draw it. Really? My kids are three and five, and they're not stupid and they don't lack imagination, but they can't just draw and color whatever at a teacher's prompting. If they could, I'd just sit at home and tell them to draw their favorite animal and not drive to Bay View to have an artsy person tell them to do it.
After two weeks of blah art and somewhat OK dancing and stories, we got a substitute teacher for the next two weeks, and that's when it got even worse. The art was still the same: think of something, draw, color, cut out, and think, "Why are we here?" And all the parents end up doing most of the drawing. Then the dance got dumber. No planning. No results. And an extra 10 minutes of work time at the end of each class for lack of planning. Sad.
The problem for the art, dance, and stories is that there are absolutely no skills being used or even defined. Telling a bunch of kids to just draw on their own or act like a giraffe can be funny, but I wasn't there just to laugh at my kids. So we're not taking the Little Fine Artists class again because it seems like it's just an excuse to hire an artist or dancer to do something rather than teach kids the skill that would help them enjoy art or dance.
2010 Review -- When I described this class to my wife and daughter, they were both excited about what our youngster could get out of it. Art, dance, music, and more. However, after a couple of classes, my wife described to me what they actually did in the class. Last-minute projects seemingly put together the morning of the program, and time left over to sit around and do nothing. I was disappointed, but I know that my wife is demanding when it comes to educational value for our children, so I figured I'd check it out myself.
Yep, exactly what my wife said. We started over five minutes late. The teacher had just bought some of the materials, and the others she gathered from her yard that morning. Parents had to help set up the activity. Sure it was a nice little art project, but that was it. No music, no dancing, no cooking, nothing else. The teacher was preoccupied with one student who was a bit slower than the rest, and maybe things happened at a good pace for him, but everyone else lost out on what should have been a much more enriching class.