Old Town School of Folk Music offers unique class for kids with special needs

Music is meant for all, and Old Town School of Folk Music is making that happen for special needs families.

Old Town School of Folk Music

  • 4544 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago
  • oldtownschool.org

The Old Town School of Folk Music offers a tweaked version of its popular class for children 2 ½ to 4 years old called Exceptional Wiggleworms, specifically designed to support children with sensitivities and special needs.

“Exceptional Wiggleworms is a safe place for children with a range of sensitivities to explore music and learning in a nurturing community of children, teachers and families,” says Erin Flynn, program manager at Old Town School of Folk Music. “Parents can feel at ease and loved in their journey with their child.”

The small class size allows for extra attention to each child and even has an occupational therapist that regularly supports the class by offering hands-on guidance and feedback to the teachers and parents.

“My role has been to help guide staff in the development of appropriate sensory activities that address each student’s specific needs within the group atmosphere,” says Elena Garfield, an occupational therapist for Exceptional Wiggleworms. “Staff are very tuned in to the children’s level of alertness and make adjustments throughout the class to help calm or alert them through the use of rhythm, beats, melodies, or sensory-based tools.”

Says Flynn: “Each child has their own work and sensibilities as they explore their world. Every child has a place and a right to explore in Wiggleworms.”

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