Ivy Rose Creative is the creation of Stratford native Victoria Morris. The Tavistock business opened in March of this year and is a play space for children that offers programming designed by Morris who is a Registered Early Childhood Educator with 16 years in the field. Her classes and workshops have been planned with a variety of early learning theories and practices in mind and are built to help support early learners’ growth and development and provide parents the confidence and knowledge to continue to support their learning at home.
The business offers a wide range of options such as drop-in craft and play, aerial yoga, baby social club, and the space is also available to book private events such as a child’s birthday party. Victoria said that while children benefit from everything there is to do, parents also do. “I get to see people making friends and coming back, especially with the baby groups. They plan to come and meet here and that really is the goal.”
One of the first visuals anyone would notice setting foot inside the studio are the silks, or aerial yoga hammocks, which are suspended from the ceiling. The programming offered by Ivy Rose Creative is unique in that it helps children grow without making it obvious. “We are drawing on all sorts of development and early learning areas where kids are thinking they are just swinging and climbing and having fun, but they don’t know their body is learning to control emotions, breathe deeper, and self-regulate. There are only five kids at a time for each course and class and they usually all become quite close friends. They laugh and have a good time and build on their skills quite quickly.”
Victoria has a degree in child psychology and development and after that, went back to school for early childhood educator. “I’d been working in the early learning field in Mississauga since I was done school. I left a very good job there when I met my husband and when you meet a country boy he isn’t moving to Mississauga, I was moving to him,” she laughed. “I built my career back up from the ground in Mitchell and Stratford and took some time off when I had my girls.” She added her desire to keep upgrading her education is something close to her heart. “Children’s yoga, early learning specialist, literacy, infant massage, I did a bunch of different things, and I am one of those lifelong learners. I am always looking for the next course because I like to learn and do new things.”
Victoria said her new business really started with putting together what she calls busy bins which were kits of activities geared towards kids with new siblings to give mom a break. “It could be independent early learning activities that were appropriate and themed to the child’s interests so mom could have a break when she had to feed her baby, change the baby, or tend to the baby. That’s where it took off and I started doing a lot of online consulting for families during the pandemic.” She added families needed support on how to help their children learn at home while parents were struggling. “Sometimes it was just as simple as telling parents they were doing a good job so that is where my business really took off with a lot of virtual coaching and consulting.” She said that by the time the world was back to normal, she was teaching 12 classes in different locations in Woodstock, New Hamburg, and Stratford.
Victoria’s daughter Violet suffers from a rare form of juvenile arthritis, something that inspired the decision to open the business. The now 7-year-old was first diagnosed at the age of two with five impacted joints. “The last checkup she had 17 joints impacted. She gets weekly injections at home and physiotherapy. She has had bone marrow biopsies and has had major issues with her iron levels. She has been on a rollercoaster but she’s a trooper. She gets a lot of relief by using the silks.” Along with the motivation from her daughter, Victoria also explained her mother has been instrumental in starting the relatively new endeavor. “She retired and moved to Stratford after Violet was born and she is now in palliative care. We always wanted to open a play-style café together but then she got sick, and I was given this opportunity so we decided to do it so she could see it so that has been accomplished. It feels like this place honours that. I feel a little bit of her every time I come in.” She added her husband Scott and other family members have all been extremely supportive.
She had to take a step back from her work career about five years ago due to her daughter’s diagnosis. “I needed something that worked for my family because we were spending full days in London getting infusions for Violet.” She added she needed something flexible that still filled her cup. “I believe in a job that gives back, that doesn’t feel like work, so I started Ivy Rose Creative. Ivy and Rose are my daughter’s middle names, and they are flowers that grow and bloom and all that sappy stuff, but they really are the reason I am doing what I am doing.”
The business continues to grow and in September will be offering a new class. “I just brought on a new small business, and it is called Mighty Minds. Stephanie will be doing cheer confidence programs. It is the sport of cheer taught by a child and youth worker who was a professional cheer coach. After talking to her I decided to do something different that no one had seen before by pairing cheer with self-esteem, body positivity, affirmation, and kindness, as opposed to how cheer can sometimes come across as very competitive.”
For more information, you can go to the Ivy Rose Creative Facebook page or their website at https://www.ivyrosecreative.ca/.