Sawyer partners with hundreds of educators who are stars in their communities. From inspiring class content to engaging teaching style, these educators are known for their enriching activities that empower both children and parents alike.
We got the opportunity to chat with Sweet Ridge Studios, which offers art education for children and teens in the Denver area.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us! I’d love to hear a bit more about you and why you started your business.
I started Sweet Ridge Studios to share the healing and transformative power of art with everyone! Art lifts us up and helps us find our home, we heal by making and evolve in creating. Our programming provides safe places to be who we truly are at a soul level while creating in communion with others. We’re in our 8th year and it has been a marvelous and joyful adventure to date!
Can you describe an inspiring moment you’ve had as an educator?
During the summer, in the first year of the pandemic, we held art camps, but in much smaller numbers and with much more space between us all! At the end of camp I found this note on one of my student’s chairs: “Dear Mrs. Melinda, You are amazing! Even when everything is all wonky your class is so fun (smiley face) Thanks, Acadia” It was exactly the reassurance I needed that we were still following our guiding light and bringing people together to heal with art.
What’s the most rewarding thing about teaching children?
The “Aha!” moment is what I live for in educating children. When you are teaching a new concept, technique, or process and the connection from not knowing to now knowing is made and a child's eyes light up, their imagination kicks into high gear and they skip off to create, is absolute delight!
What’s one time a child surprised you and made your day?
A summer art camp student told me, after I had made a comment about her gorgeous artwork, that I should have my own art show on TV where I explain to everyone what is strong and beautiful about a piece of artwork!
On a similar note, what’s the funniest thing a child has done in your class?
Students literally make me laugh everyday! I have a section in my monthly newsletter that is entitled “Favorite Kid Quote” to pay homage to exactly this. My most recent favorite is a student who taught me how to cut a cheese stick into smaller pieces and cook it in the microwave to make cheese curds. Her words: “Homemade cheese curds, they’re my speciality!”
Why is after school/extracurricular enrichment so important for children?
Kids need to be engaged with hands-on activities and other people. They need the interaction to develop social skills and the hand-mind engagement to grow their brains, bodies and imaginations in balanced and whole ways.
How do you think children can discover their passions when they’re not in school or your programs?
By being curious about everything! We at Sweet Ridge Studios embrace in all our teaching that by positively rewarding curiosity lifelong learners are born.
What is your favorite Sawyer feature?
I really adore Sawyer. It has made running our business infinitely more streamlined! I love that the forms are customizable for each program offering, I appreciate tremendously the amount of time the roster generation saves me. I love the ability to email a class simply and directly. The financial tracking has enabled me and my bookkeeper to be friends, ha! And customer service is excellent! Questions and inquiries always get an answer, and a speedy one. Thank you Sawyer!
What's one trick you learned from another educator that you still practice?
Trust is a two way street, just because you’re the one in charge of a room doesn’t automatically mean you really are in charge. If you begin with grace, patience and space, trust will be reciprocal and even better than being in charge, you will be a part of a room that is united and in flow.
Have you discovered new customers on the Sawyer marketplace?
We have recruited some new families using Sawyer marketplace.
How do you balance your time between running your business (from an operational perspective) and teaching/connecting with parents and students?
I make it a point to always put connection with families and students first. This feeds all of our programs and is an endeavor I never regret committing time to. The energy generated from this sustains the operational needs.
How has Sawyer helped your business?
Sawyer has saved us time which allows us to then put that time into learning how to be stronger educators. We can learn new classroom management strategies, try new art making processes, and invest in the development of our team, all improving the health and spiritual well being of Sweet Ridge Studios.