Kellee is wonderful with children. The presence and joy that she brings to her interactions with them is obvious every time I observe her class. The children respond to her smile, her gentle voice, her guidance with words and gestures.The children experience the class as play rather than instruction, though, as a parent, I see the skills that Kellee artfully weaves into each lesson and the reinforcement of those skills, whether they be balance and coordination or taking turns and listening to others.One of the qualities of Kellee’s teaching that makes it so effective is that she is ready to adapt at a moment’s notice to the needs of the children rather than adhering to a strict predetermined plan. My son has special needs, as do many of the children Kellee works with. She has the patience and ability to engage in just such a way with each individual child that they are met and supported exactly at their level. Kellee does this with love that comforts the children yet encourages them to reach beyond their own perceived limitations to new growth.Kellee has a deep understanding of child development, which is visible in the design and pace of her class as well as her holistic approach to teaching as she integrates story, song, movement, imagination, self-exploration and cooperation. She respects the children deeply and honors that every moment is a time of learning for them.My son is a better person for having been in Kellee’s class (and I am likely a better parent for having had the opportunity to observe her).
Katie and Anna had both been taking dance at another studio at the time and were unhappy. They didn’t like their teachers and they were getting lost in the large class size. Calliope was the perfect fit for our family - and apparently for many other families too. Calliope ended up with waiting lists and outstanding (and jam-packed) end of the year performances. The reason behind all this success was Kellee. She knew every child and family personally. She instructed in a loving and intelligent way. Kids were learning to dance and express movement without restrictions on previous skill or body-type. They were advancing physically and enjoying dance without really realizing how much they were learning.My youngest daughter, Natalie (then three), also started with Kellee at Calliope ... She was ecstatic to begin dance there. Kellee was amazingly sweet and thoughtful with this really young group of boys and girls. I have been to many classes and performances where children of Natalie’s age will refuse to participate or perform. This never happened at Calliope when I was there. I think it is a testament to Kellee’s ability to teach dance at EVERY level. She is a caring, confident and competent person, who knows how to instruct. She embodies what I think are the basic reasons for dance class — that movement is essential to living.
I have worked with Kellee for the past two years, and have first-hand knowledge of her dedication to children, particularly with special needs.Kellee has been leading a Sensory Storytime with me at the Eugene Public Library. This storytime is specifically designed to provide the structure and adaptations needed for young children with special needs to be successful in a community setting. Kellee is both skilled in designing the activities for this program (e.g., integrating activities that focus on providing a variety of sensory stimulation to children), as well as implementing the interventions used during the storytime (e.g., picture schedules, fidgets, changing the activities on the spot to better accommodate children’s needs). Kellee is particularly skilled at designing creative and fun movement activities for the children that help work on their motor integration development. However, the very best part of Kellee is her gentle and patient interactions with children with a wide range of special needs. It is always evident how much she enjoys them, and they in turn enjoy her.I would strongly recommend Kellee for any position involving working with children, and especially children with special needs.