Meet A Mom~Kate Haase-MacDonald of Silly Goose - Ridgefield Moms

 

1) Please introduce us to you and your family.

I’m Kate Haase-MacDonald, camp founder and former teacher, and most importantly mom to two vibrant children. Mia Ferranti, 7 and a rising second grader at Veterans Park, is outgoing and the epitome of kindness. Jack MacDonald, 3, is a very active little gummy bear who keeps me on
my toes. He loves to pretend he is a ninja and enjoys superheroes and PAW Patrol. My husband, Devin MacDonald, and I moved from NY to Ridgefield in 2020, with my beautiful daughter Mia. We got married on New Year’s Eve, at The Hideaway in Ridgefield. We were not at all familiar with CT and are so thankful that we ended up in this wonderful family-oriented town.

2) Tell us the story behind the creation of Silly Goose. What a playful and relatable business name for young families to be drawn to!

Life threw me a curveball in 2017, when my then husband unexpectedly passed away six days before Mia’s first birthday. Thankfully I had Mia, my reason for everything—the reason I continued to teach, to cope in my new normal, and to find the rainbow in everything life threw at us. As a preschooler, Mia embodied happiness and humor. She would dance in the rain and tell jokes to strangers. She helped me see that life is messy and that it’s okay to laugh and be silly while figuring out how to move forward. I always called Mia my silly goose.  During the pandemic, teaching remotely and simply trying to survive as most of us were, I realized that our time is short and that I needed to get back the lightheartedness, laughter, and silliness Mia had taught me. While I was on maternity leave following Jack’s birth, my husband asked me a simple question: if I could choose to do anything, what would it be? From that question, Silly Goose was born. Once the world reopened, I noticed a huge shift in kids’ interactions; most were no longer sure how to join in and play with others. I had taught at the Windward School, and the language of play struck a chord in me. All of these experiences went into creating Silly Goose.

3) Tell us about your business offerings from birthday celebrations to special events and summer camp. If there are others…please inform our readers so
we have a complete understanding of the scope of Silly Goose.

Silly Goose is an enrichment center where kids of all ages and skill levels can be kids, as they engage in art, movement, play, and games—and have fun, enjoy life, and most importantly, be silly. Our daytime programs focus on younger children, emphasizing music, unstructured play,language development, and socialization. For kindergarteners through fifth graders, we offer after-school enrichment classes designed to foster creativity, critical thinking, and social skills. These classes include creative art, crafting, social skills development through games and movement, and hands-on science activities. As we finalize the specifics of the enrichment classes, we’re dedicated to creating a diverse program that meets the needs and interests of all our students. Kids aren’t the only ones who need some silliness in their lives. Silly Goose also offers opportunities for adults in our community to host their own workshops and classes. Whether you’re a florist wanting to run a flower arranging workshop, a cookie artist wanting to share the tricks of fancy cookie decorating, or a knitter wanting to share your skills with those new to the craft, Silly Goose is the place for you. Here we want everyone to feel safe to try new things and even step out of their comfort zone. Most weekends at Silly Goose are dedicated to birthday parties. We offer packages for ages 2 to 12, each featuring an age-appropriate mix of hands-on art, science activities, and high-energy games tailored to the birthday child. Silly Goose is currently enrolling for summer camp, booking birthday parties, and planning for Fall 2024!

4) Please paint a picture of a typical camp day.

A camp day at Silly Goose starts at drop-off, when your child will begreeted by one of our staff members and walked into camp. Each camp week has a unique theme, with a hands-on activity or craft set up to match the theme. For example, during Cosmic Quest week, campers will make glow-in-the-dark collages and slime that is out of this world. After art comes movement and games. Aloha week includes floor is lava, limbo, and hula dancing for movement and games, followed by water play. For Color War week, campers will mix different dyed water to create new colors, fill reusable water balloons with colored water, and use spray bottles to paint ice blocks. Activities are changed daily to ensure camp is exciting, silly, and fun. The morning session ends at noon. Full-day campers will eat lunch brought from home or purchased from our local restaurants, with different daily options from Planet Pizza and Prime Burger. After lunch the fun continues with more crafts, games, and water time. Each day campers can choose to make bracelets, do arts and crafts, or play games as an alternate to the planned activity. Our goal is to have the campers engage and connect with their peers for a fun traditional summer camp vibe.

5) Will all campers be engaged in the same activities or are they grouped according to age?

Campers will be grouped according to age and their interest. For example, during Patriotic Party week, sensory stations will be set up for our younger campers with hands-on patriotic play, while the older campers will be making a patriotic cloud dough. During Tent Tales week, the younger campers will be playing a fishing game and going on a nature treasure hunt, while the older campers will be working together to create a tent or shelter and will play a high-energy game of river jumping. The older campers can choose which activity they would prefer.

6) Please tell us all about your new location!

Silly Goose’s new location is 22 Catoonah Street, in Ridgefield CT. We are very excited about our newly renovated space. The two floors offer a great flow and plenty of room. The first floor is for our younger campers with a newly added accessible bathroom and art sink. The second floor is for the older campers, with more complex arts and craft activities and tables, and a newly finished bathroom. The outdoor space is fenced for safety and offers a wonderful space to play high-energy games like gaga, water games, and a rock garden. The space is also great for enrichment classes. The first-floor space is designed for younger kids with sensory tables, chalk and magnet wall, many hands-on building toys, light table magnet tiles, and a creative area. There is also room to have a dance party, play games, or enjoy parachute play. The upstairs for our older kids has more complex crafts, many different materials, glue guns, fabric markers, and a creative area. There is a great space for games, karaoke, and dance parties, as well as plenty of outdoor space. Silly Goose also has parking in the assigned spots.

7) What would be your best piece of advice for young moms that are looking to socialize their young children (and possibly meet other new moms).

The best advice I could offer young moms is this: Life is short, the days are long at times, but the years go quickly. Take the time to enjoy the moments you can with your kids and remember that it’s okay to make a mess and be silly. Socializing your child early is critical to their development. It helps them adjust to new settings and learn to engage with their peers, developing important life skills like sharing, taking turns, being exposed to language, and using their language to articulate their needs. Joining our classes also helps you meet other families with the same-age children, and you may find new perspectives on parenting. Building a bond with others in the class is a wonderful experience; we are all in this together and need to be able to support one another.

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