Enrichment Classes Ignite Students’ Interests

August 19, 2017

Collage Day School is committed to giving its students every advantage by offering enrichment classes, supplemental educational opportunities that complement our core curriculum. Art, music, physical education and yoga all began on a rotating basis during the first week of school for students in Toddlers/Twos classes through Fourth Grade.

With small class sizes, personalized experiences and individual attention from talented, passionate teachers, our students can quickly gain new skills in important areas that are vital for future success in school and life. And, they can have fun in the process!


Collage’s art teacher, Erin Hunger, loves to use things from nature to create and teach art, such as wildlife pictures created from maple leaf seeds, creatures formed from wood disks and forest findings, score and slip pottery, stick and shell mobiles, “talking sticks,” palm print “flutter heart” planting pots, Mother’s Day helping hands bouquets, paintings on salvaged pots and pans (doubling as spoon instruments),  bird feeders made from scavenged wood and forest floor sticks, solitary bee hanging houses made from bamboo, masks painted from palm scalps, seedlings in egg shells, and acrylic painting on burlap (salvaged from coffee bags).

Art enrichment class

Art teacher Erin Hunter encourages a student to express his creativity.

Erin has also worked with students in making rudimentary utensil and dish clay projects which double for life skills lessons, place-setting, and table manners; self-esteem/daily affirmation decorated mirrors, papier-mâché’ self-portraits formed over balloons, loomed pot holders, life-like “recreates” from tracings, Waldorf-inspired mushroom wooden spool villages, lanterns formed from bamboo and colored paper, and yarn art, both 2D and 3D.

She combines her interest in gardening with art by growing Bottleneck Gourds that can be made into lovely painted bird houses. Milkweed seeds are easily harvested, propagated and made into “seed balls” with clay.

Erin has a bachelor’s degree in English/fine arts and is certified to teach Secondary Education English for grades 6-12. She also has an ESOL Endorsement and has completed the hours for DCF Childcare. She has taught since 2001 in public schools, Hope Haven Children’s Clinic, The Bridge of Northeast Florida and Catapult Academy.

Collage's outdoor learning focus

Collage’s director of health and wellness, Emily Vasquez, encourages students to explore and learn outdoors.

P/E and Yoga

Emily Vasquez, Collage’s director of health and wellness, offer physical education and yoga enrichment classes. She knows the students experience a wide variety of physical and mental benefits when they move their bodies in healthy ways. Collage’s 8-acre campus offers students an unique opportunity to learn and play in a natural environment.

Emily has 10 years of experience as a physical education teacher, preschool teacher and owner of a fitness activity program for young children. She has a solid educational foundation and a passion for physical education and fitness. In addition to her professional certificate in physical education, she has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in education.

Emily is currently pursuing her yoga certification with a specialty in pediatrics. She believes that a dedicated and intentional yoga practice that includes breathing techniques, behavioral guidelines and physical postures can be incredibly valuable in helping students deal with emotional, social, and physical challenges or conflicts. Yoga also builds self-esteem and self-respect. Children can practice anywhere, and the breathing, the concentration, the poses and the way kids learn to act or react to situations will lead to constant self-discovery and inquisitiveness. And, yoga increases physical flexibility, balance and coordination, as well as helping students develop focus and concentration and mind-body connectedness, key to Collage’s whole-child approach.

Music enrichment classes give students the opportunity to express themselves.

Mr. Mark encourages students to make a joyful noise in his music enrichment classes.

Mark Williams is giving Collage students the gift of music. He knows that, in addition to improving academic achievement, music ignites all areas of child development and skills for school readiness including intellectual, social and emotional, motor, language and overall literacy. Music encourages students’ bodies and mind to work together. Exposing children to music during early development helps them learn the sounds and meanings of words. And, in addition to all those developmental benefits of music, most importantly, music gives students’ joy.

Mr. Mark, as his students like to call him, has been a music teacher for 17 years. He taught at Accotink Academy by the Sea for 14 of those years and now works at New Leaf School of Change, in addition to teaching music classes for Collage. He also has been giving private lesson for piano and guitar since 2000.

In 2012, Mark was a featured artist on First Coast Living. In 2014 some of Mark’s music was featured on the NPR radio show STATE OF THE REUNION. He was the first musical artist to receive an artist grant from The Community Foundation of Jacksonville and the J. Shepard, Jr. and Mary Ann Bryan Arts Endowment. He has released two CDs – GHOSTS OF EDEN and OUT PAST THE MOON. Mark Williams has written music for Off-Broadway shows and for award winning videos, as well as for industrial films.

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