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New Thrive Arts Center encourages joyful learning

Feb 09, 2017 02:13PM ● Published by Today's Family

Cathy and Kevin Huser

By Deanna Adams

Did you know that your child’s most important brain development occurs from birth to 7 years of age?

Cathy Huser, owner and director of Kindermusik of Cleveland, does.  For the past 21 years, she’s devoted her time and energy to helping children enhance their creativity, intelligence, and potential.  Kindermusik is renowned for creating music-and-movement activities for children’s language, cognitive and social development.

Now she, together with her husband, Kevin, has taken those steps further with the opening of a new arts center called, Thrive, based in Beachwood.  “Our philosophy has always been about getting to know the student, connecting with them, and finding out what gets them excited.  Then we supply that brain food for them to nurture it.  It’s all about the process of child discovery.  That’s the utmost importance for us.”

Thrive is a fine arts center, she says, where every child can pursue his or her interest and talents, while growing at their own pace.  Classes include Kindermusik, instrument, voice, theater, visual arts, and dance.

“Connection is our sole mission for Thrive,” Huser says.  “It’s designed to have all the arts connected—where you can feel the energy from the various disciplines and expand on that.  We designed a big open space where, if you’re sitting in the lounge, you can see, hear, and feel, all the different arts classes happening together.  You’ll see the kids coming in and out of dance in their outfits, the Kindermusik kids toddling along, with huge smiles on their faces.  And we want the visual arts to complement of all this, and support each of the areas of the center.

“For example,” she explains, “Say they’re doing an animal theme in Kindermusik.  We can then have the art class make animal masks.  Or perhaps we can have the theater children create some props with the art class.  It’ll be very integrated.  Being able to have all the areas connect with each other will truly be wonderful for everyone.”

Huser adds that in dance, they’ll be offering the Leap ‘N Learn program, developed by famed ballet director, Beverly Spell, and child psychologist consultant, Dr. Annie Spell.  “It was developed specifically to be appropriate for individual readiness, so every child can progress at their own level.  In the same vein as Kindermusik, it’s about teaching the building blocks in an age appropriate way.”  She emphasizes that a child needs to be 3 years old to be ready for dance.

She notes, also, that in theater, every child will be sure to have a part in every production.  “We’re small enough to do that.  It’s important to us to get more children involved in the theater, and experience auditioning for shows.”

The Kindermusik locations in Bainbridge, Pepper Pike and Shaker Heights will now be known as Kindermusik At Thrive Art Center.  The Kirtland location will remain a separate Kindermusik studio.

In an age where being “plugged in” is a way of life, Huser has her own saying.  “At Thrive, we are ‘unplugged and so connected.’  Children are onscreen so much, and often that means they’re connecting with friends mostly through phones, Snapchat, or texting, and they’re missing out on true human connection.  The brain craves real connection through eye contact, touch and presence.  So one of our missions is to allow children to connect ‘unplugged.’  We feel that’s very important.”

“Thrive is a beautiful step from Kindmusik because it matches the Kindermusik values so beautifully. We’re all very excited about it.”

For more information about the Thrive programs and schedule, visit www.thrivearts.center or call 216- 991-1063.

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