BASKING RIDGE, NJ - As the beginning of the school year nears and uncertainty about in-person classes builds, many are looking for ways to enrich our children’s lives. Home-based Basking Ridge business Blue Sky Kids, owned by Etta Marshall a mother of two, has a solution.
Blue Sky matches up children with experts in various fields to provide a series of one-on-one or semi-private live sessions designed especially for each child’s interest, level and goals. Since March, all sessions have been virtual and their offering list has expanded. All sessions are taught by experts in each field including a former Broadway actor, former pro athlete, certified yoga instructors, acclaimed dancers and more. “We have extremely high standards for our experts, and we do not settle for anything other than complete satisfaction for our families,” explained Marshall.
Blue Sky kids currently offers classes in cooking, yoga, comedy/improv, visual storytelling, songwriting/music production, specialty art (print-making, collage-making, drawing, painting, hand-building clay), game/app development, a large variety of dance, chess, calligraphy, medicine/anatomy, magic and juggling, video editing and production and edible science. “Some of our session ideas are on the website, but if you don't see what you like, just ask! We love hearing new ideas and creating unique plans for each child,” said Marshall.
“The sky is the limit,” says Marshall. “For instance, one family came to us about their very politically minded middle schooler, and we developed a political Podcasting series of sessions for him to learn how to start and produce his own podcast. Another family wanted to learn archery, so we put together sessions for them as well. All children are different and have the potential to do amazing things”.
“Naturally, we have had an enormous explosion of interest since the onset of this pandemic. We've been fortunate to have expanded widely since offering sessions virtually. This summer, we've had Blue Sky Kids across the US in California, Texas, Georgia, Michigan, Maryland, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, and even internationally in Mexico and as far away as Malawi,” said Marshall.
Scheduling sessions for your child is flexible and Blue Sky Kids is currently offering a large variety of unique and fun virtual camp sessions for children ages 5 to 15. “Families typically choose either weekly or bi-weekly sessions or are in a camp format of ten daily sessions for two weeks at a time,” said Marshall. “In the fall, whatever school looks like, we will offer weekly or bi-weekly sessions. When things normalize, we hope to return to our in-home sessions as well.”
“Our biggest struggle right now is the struggle we share with all parents: the uncertainty of needs for children in the upcoming months,” expressed Marshall. This may leave parents hesitant about moving forward with what may be great for their kids. Blue Sky Kids is flexible. “Parents should feel free to be honest with us about what is known and unknown to them and should feel free to present their family's problems or needs to us. We are great at solving problems and pride ourselves on our ability to come up with creative, unique, and flexible solutions for families that greatly benefit children and parents alike,” said Marshall.
Marshall started her business in 2018. “I'm a mom of two curious and precocious boys. My older son loved working with the digital music app GarageBand. My husband and I would encourage him to play around on the app, but to really allow him to fully learn and utilize it, we needed to connect him with someone who was an expert. He so badly wanted to create music and learn. Turns out it was hard to find an expert to help my son learn GarageBand,” explained Marshall.
“I heard similar frustrations from fellow parents about how their child wanted to code video games or learn to cook global cuisine. But there were a lot of barriers. Beyond just finding the right teacher or class, children would get frustrated in a group setting wasting valuable time waiting their turn if they got stuck. Or there was not enough time in the day or transportation available to get kids from this lesson to that class and back. So, I thought - why not line up experts in varying, unique and fun areas and bring them right to our homes. And so, Blue Sky Kids was born.”
To see Blue Sky Kid’s current offerings, check out their website http://www.blue-sky-kids.com. If a child has an interest outside their current offerings, they would be happy to create a customized series for them.
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