Schools notebook // Early childhood center opens

New early childhood center opens

Musikgarten, an early childhood music program that teaches infants up to preschoolers of age 5, opens Feb. 1 at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepard near 50th & France.

The school is intended to tune the children’s musical talents through daily singing and movement activities, which focus on attuning the ear, refining the voice and developing a rhythmic body.

“Musikgarten is the only program based on a keen understanding of how children learn, in both a general sense and, specifically, how they learn music,” said Emily Ireland, owner of Musikgarten schools. Emily has been teaching early childhood music classes for nearly10 years and received her master’s degree in music education from the University of St. Thomas.

The classes include Family Music for All Ages incorporating newborns up to the age of 5, which introduces classic nursery rhymes in an adaptable mix-age program. It is a cultural tradition that features an exploration of movement, singing, playing instruments and listening. Family Music for Babies is another class that focuses on the parent/child bonding experience and also incorporates singing, dancing, bouncing, rocking, finger plays and echoing. Family Music for Toddlers runs along the same lines as the others, offering the children a chance to play instruments and a focus on listening to the rhythm of different kinds music.

Also available is a class called Cycle of Seasons, which focuses on children 3 to 5 and embraces the musical sense of the four distinct seasons we have in Minnesota. The class Music Makers has a few levels that centers on leaning the piano. All classes at the school are designed for parent/child interaction, although some classes are intended to have the child participate independently. Parents are still welcom to stay and watch their child. Group piano lessons are also available for $18 an hour.

Classes are offered once per week for 15 weeks. The school also hosts free preview classes for those inquiring about the class environment.

Tuition at Musikgarten varies between each class, but the cost ranges anywhere from $145 to $325. The prices also include fees for materials like books, instruments and CDs. Spring classes start Jan. 30 and enrollment is offered online.  

For more information about schedules or registering, visit or call 651-485-0153.


Students to sail for a semester

Wyatt Richard, a young sailor from Southwest, has recently found himself on the brink of a remarkable opportunity.

Fueled by his love of sailing, Richard applied to a sailing program he found while reading his subscription to “Wooden Boat Magazine.” Established by the Ocean Classroom Foundation, the program accepts 22 students, after a grueling application process, for the chance to sail through the Caribbean and up the coast to Nova Scotia. Students on board the Harvey Gamage, a 130-foot sailing boat, go through a rigorous program that involves learning to crew the ship and studying the ocean.

Richard was accepted, but is still working to earn enough money to pay tuition.

“Wyatt has been selling wreaths door-to-door, fixing up an old sailboat to sell and even wrote letters to relatives across the country,” said Erin Thompson, Richard’s mother.

Thompson also saw a chance to put her best foot forward — literally, to help her son. As a professional in the art of dance, as well as a dance educator, she organized a benefit concert and asked her fellow professionals to perform at the Barton Open School in Minneapolis.

On Dec. 11, acclaimed dancers and local musicians will put on a show to help pay Richardson’s tuition. There will also be a small silent auction, which includes donations from local restaurants.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children and $40 for family packages.

Last year, Wyatt and his friend, Soren Walljasper, who was also accepted to the semester-long program, found beauty in an old sailboat that had become a permanent fixture in their neighbor’s back yard. Buying the cabin boat for a dollar, the two refurbished it and eventually set sail on Lake Calhoun.

Their boat, named the Lady Slipper, only fueled their love of sailing. Both have become a part of the Lake Calhoun Sailing School and have raced on Minneapolis lakes and as far away as Lake Michigan.