Balance teaches kids through art and yoga

They practice tree pose, paint original works of art and read books by well-known authors — and many of them haven’t even started grade school.

Kids who get involved with Balance, a fresh business in the North Shore neighborhood, get the opportunity to explore the world around them through six-week yoga and art classes.

Co-owners and moms Melanie Ferguson and Denise Collins teamed up to launch their business for 3- to 12-year-olds last fall and they are gearing up for a new year of sessions.

Both are former preschool teachers with experience in and a preference for the Reggio Emilia teaching approach, which emphasizes exploration and discovery in the learning process. Ferguson focuses on the yoga aspect of the business while Collins teaches the art classes.

“Yoga is sort of enjoying who you are and exploring yourself,” said Ferguson. “We do focus poses but we also incorporate fun games. It’s a balance of quiet time and moving time.”

Each yoga class even has a theme, she added, such as kindness and honesty.

“The art studio is a great place to give [students] the freedom to explore their materials and create their ideas,” said Collins. “Because I love the Reggio Emilia approach, so much of it needs to be focused on the process of creating, not so much a beautiful product.”

Collins received her bachelor’s degree in art history so she incorporates relevant historical information into her art classes, as well.

Balance also offers Book Club sessions that incorporate both art and yoga as well as time to read a book or learn about an author. Featured authors have included Ezra Jack Keats, Eric Carle and Dr. Seuss.

The duo is currently in the process of signing a lease on a brick-and-mortar location for Balance, likely to be located in the North Shore community.

“This will be the first yoga studio for children in Chattanooga,” Collins said.

For more information on how to sign up for a six-week session or to keep up to date with the future plans of Balance, visit thisisbalance.com. Classes are currently offered at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, located at 701 Mississippi Ave., and if parents hurry, they can sign their child up for the current session of classes.