Is there anything more magical and dreamy than singing nursery rhymes, reading children’s books and riding miniature horses all in one place? At Horse Crossing Farm’s Old MacDonald Mommy & Me Musical Farm Class, you’ll experience exactly this…and more.
Brittany Matthews, farm owner, and Alaura Mouw, musician, both teach Old MacDonald Mommy & Me Musical Farm Class. It’s a monthly class series, which includes four classes per series. Each class is one-hour long and includes a music/reading session followed by a farm session.
This all-outdoor class takes place at Horse Crossing Farm at 210 Railroad Avenue, Lexington, SC 29072.
Find out lots more about Horse Crossing Farm and all the activities they offer from birthday parties to animal meet and greets, tours, and more!
What is Old MacDonald Mommy & Me Musical Farm Class?
Old MacDonald Mommy & Me Musical Farm Class is a combined class of music, reading, and farm animals. Each class is 60 minutes long, divided into 30-minute equal increments. Music and reading encompass the first half of class. Feeding, petting, and learning about different farm animals make up the second half of class.
Each class throughout the series focuses on 2 to 3 different animals per class. For instance, the participants may learn about pigs, rabbits, and hedgehogs in one class, and perhaps goats and chickens the following class. In the final class, all children have the opportunity to ride a miniature or full-grown horse.
The maximum capacity for the class is 20 children. The age range is 18 months to 4 years old.
How Do You Register?
You can sign up for Old MacDonald Mommy & Me Musical Farm Class on Horse Crossing Farm’s Facebook page. When offering an upcoming class, Matthews will post that month’s class session dates and times, along with a direct link to sign up for the class. Additionally, you can use Facebook Messenger to message Horse Crossing Farm with all class inquiries.
How Much Does it Cost?
In a monthly class series, there are four classes for a total of $80. This price breaks down to $20 per child (with an accompanying adult), per class. However, you must purchase the entire series of classes in advance.
What Should You Bring?
Matthews recommends bringing a picnic blanket or beach towel to sit on during the music portion of the class. She also recommends bringing along bug spray, sunscreen, snacks, and water.
What Should You Wear?
This farm may not be the best place to test out your latest runway western-wear fashions. Matthews recommends dressing “as comfortable as possible.” Closed-toe shoes are a must, according to her. She says, “If you’ve ever been around animals, then you’ll know why!”
Who are the Teachers?
The beauty of Old MacDonald Musical Farm Class is that you get not only one, but two teachers! Alaura Mouw and Brittany Matthews split the teaching duties equally during the class hour.
Alaura Mouw teaches the music portion of Old MacDonald Mommy & Me Musical Farm Class. Though this isn’t her first rodeo, so to speak, she didn’t originally start out as the music teacher.
Parent Becomes the Teacher
Before Mouw even thought about teaching this particular class, she explains she was just like any other parent when she and her two-year-old son, Wesley, joined their first Old MacDonald class.
“I signed my child up for the first series back in May (when it was then being taught by a different instructor), after I saw it advertised in the ‘Young Moms of Lexington’ Facebook group,” she says.
Matthews says, “Alaura and her son attended our first series back in May. When our original teacher needed to step down, Alaura volunteered to be the next teacher!”
With a degree in choral music education under her belt, Mouw was the perfect candidate. She says in the past, she has taught beginner guitar lessons. And she’s been playing other various instruments her whole life, such as the flute, tuba, and percussion.
So far, Mouw has taught two series of classes, in September and October respectively. She says her favorite part is forming relationships with the kids.
“It’s important to me that I learn their names as fast as I can so that they feel seen and valued in my classes. My favorite thing is seeing their big smiles when I greet them as they’re walking into the farm,” she says.
Mouw also likes how the vast age difference in classes keeps her on her toes as far as creativity.
“I love that these classes allow me to get creative and switch things up. Eighteen months to 4 years is quite a leap when you look at a child’s development, so I try to adjust my lessons based on the average age range of the kids in specific classes. I’m not held to a specific curriculum,” she states.
Come As You Are
What Mouw wants most is for the kids and guardians to have fun and just be themselves.
She says, “I want them to have space to be silly, to explore their likes and dislikes, and to become more confident through music and movement. As for their parents, I want them to see that I’m a regular, relatable person. I’m there to remind them that it’s okay to be messy and silly just like our kids can be!”
And as for the music? “It’s not about what you’re being taught about music, it’s about what the music is teaching you about yourself,” she muses.
Brittany Matthews, owner of Horse Crossing Farm, teaches the second part of Old MacDonald Mommy & Me Musical Farm Class. She has been teaching classes on the farm since May of this year, the first month she decided to begin the series.
From the Classroom to the Farm
Prior to a classroom on the farm, Matthews was a public school teacher for 7 years.
“I taught Spanish and English as a second language. I loved my teaching career and will always have a passion for education. Sadly, I had to transition out of the classroom this past year due to health problems. Now I’m able to use my teaching skills in a new way on our farm and that brings me immense joy,” she says.
An Idea is Born
The idea behind Old MacDonald Mommy & Me classes actually originated from the first music teacher for the class, Matthews explains.
“I thought it was brilliant and decided to go for it! I had been contemplating Mommy and Me type sessions for a while, but I had never considered the music aspect! It has been a great combination! Music and farms have always been great together! Consider the songs “Old MacDonald” and “Bingo,” she says.
A Family Affair
Though she didn’t grow up on a farm, farming and animals is in Matthews’ blood.
“I did not grow up on a farm! I grew up right here in the suburbs of Lexington. My passion for farming stems from my grandfather, who owns a 400-acre beef cattle operation in Virginia. I loved to help him on his farm growing up,” she exclaims.
A Special Gift
In fact, Matthews’ love of horses was first sparked thanks to a generous gift from her grandfather.
“He was the one who gifted me my first horse when I was 12 years old. After tragically losing that mare, my grandfather bought me Romeo,” Matthews says.
Romeo unfortunately passed away, November 22, 2023. A major part of Matthews’ life for the past 17 years, she and Romeo celebrated many milestones. From engagement to marriage to pregnancies and birth, Romeo has been with Matthews through it all. She poignantly honors him with tearful words:
“Goodbye, my old friend. We had an amazing 17-year ride together through so many major life events. You have taught hundreds of kids how to ride a horse, and you were one of the main reasons I started our farm. Rest in peace, my dear Romeo. You’ve earned it.”
After a childhood tragedy, Matthews found solace in animals.
“After losing my baby brother as a young child, I turned to animals to keep me company as an only child. My love for them has only grown throughout the years. Animals have been a constant in my life for as long as I can remember,” she says.
“Fast forward a few years, and here I am today, gratefully living the farm life! My amazing husband does not share my passion for animals or farming, and yet he graciously supports my dream every step of the way! He is truly a gem, and this farm would not be possible without him. My passion is sharing my love for animals and farming with the next generation,” Matthews concludes.
When asked her favorite thing about the Old MacDonald class, she says, “My favorite part is giving the attendees the initial tour, and watching their surprise and joy when they first realize how many animals we have and secondly, the awesome and unique variety of animals that we have!”
And speaking of favorites, Matthews says that while horses will always have her heart, she has a few other beloved animals.
She says, “Horses are the reason I started this farm in the first place! But I also love our alpacas and llamas!
When I ask if there’s a consensus on the class favorite animal, Matthews response may surprise you!
“Hilariously, the favorite always seems to be our barn cats and their kittens!,” she says.
Matthews says what she wants kids and their guardians to take away from Old MacDonald Mommy & Me Musical Farm class is an appreciation.
“I want kids to appreciate farming, agriculture and how much animals have to offer them! I want guardians to learn how they can incorporate music into their children’s education, no matter how young they are!
She says the biggest reward she receives from doing this class is hearing I love hearing positive feedback from parents and guardians! They tell me how much their kids love the class, how their kids now want to be farmers, and how they talk by name about specific animals on our farm!
My Class Experience
I love the sweet juxtaposition of children’s music and a farm. There’s just something so innocent and enchanting about entering the farm while being greeted and simultaneously serenaded by children’s songs. Try being surrounded by farm animals as you spread your blanket across the grass and unpack your child’s morning snack. Did I mention the sweet gray kittens roaming freely, tenderly approaching your blanket? This was my first class experience at Old MacDonald Mommy & Me Musical Farm Class.
I first learned about this class from a friend, who also happens to be a mother of a child in my daughter’s preschool class. While scrolling through social media, I saw the most adorable photos of my friend’s daughter riding a miniature horse wearing the cutest little helmet. I immediately had to know where this was, what this class was and most importantly, where do I sign up?
Welcome to Horse Crossing Farm
My first day, I pull into designated parking area at Horse Crossing Farm, and my 2-year-old daughter, Elle, and I are promptly greeted by Matthews at the gate with a clipboard for a casual check-in and brief meet and greet. Upon entering the gate, melodies of some familiar children’s songs played in the background nearby.
Entering Music Territory
As we make our way in the direction of some other families with sprawled blankets in a semicircle on the ground, we are greeted warmly with Mouw softly strumming a guitar, as she asks for our names. Moux stands with a backdrop of various instruments behind her, her blanket too sprawled, accompanied by two baskets filled with various children’s books. After everyone slowly straggles in, joining the semicircle sea of multicolored blankets, Mouw begins the opening song:
“Hello, hello, hello, hello, hello, hello, hello;
Hello, hello, hello, hello, hello, hello, hello;
He-llo Elle, He-llo Colton, He-llo Charlotte.”
As everyone’s name is called, we then talk about what animals we’re going to be learning about this day. On this particular day, we are learning about rabbits, hedgehogs and pigs. Mouw passes out small maracas to each child to shake to the beat of the song. We sing “Hop Little Bunny, Hop, Hop, Hop.”
Elle, being a fan of YouTube sensation, Ms. Rachel, Preschool for Littles, smiles and “hops” along, as she recognizes the familiar song. Fun fact, Mouw incorporates several Ms. Rachel tunes throughout the course of the series of classes
Mouw also passes out brightly jewel-colored scarves for to each of the children to sway along to the melody of the songs. This is Elle’s favorite part as she’s able to freely sway along with her red scarf. Although, I don’t know if Elle is more enamored with the red scarf or the little gray kitten that casually strolls onto our pink blanket trying to steal a bite of a cheese stick.
“Ee I Ee I O”
We conclude the music portion of class with an appropriate song choice, “Old MacDonald’s Farm.” This is certainly a class favorite, as all the kids sing along. We sing this childhood classic in every class!
After completing the music, Mouw reads a book about hedgehogs, as this is one of the animals we will be learning about in the second part of class today. Each week, the book ties in a farm animal that we will be concentrating on that day.
Matthews steps in after we wrap up reading time, reintroducing herself to everyone as the the owner of the farm. She then gives a tour of the entire farm, acquainting everyone with the whole farm of animals.
Today, however, we’re focusing on the Rusty, the pig, several rabbits and finally, a hedgehog. Matthews gives all the children an opportunity to pet Rusty through the fence. Elle is weary but intrigued with Rusty. She gives him a minimal little pat on the head.
Matthews places the rabbits in separate, makeshift pens, giving all the children opportunities to meet and pet all the rabbits. Elle is more comfortable with the rabbits, and immediately wants to get into the pen when it’s her turn. She squeals with laughter as she bends down and the rabbits hop away. She chases them around the pen smiling and laughing yelling, “they’re running away!”
Matthews lastly introduces the hedgehog. Some children go over to pet him. Elle is afraid of his “spikes,” so she decides to stare at him from afar. She’s too smitten with the rabbits to tear herself away anyhow. After the hedgehog meeting, this completes the first session of Old MacDonald Mommy & Me Music Class.
Mom Review: Old MacDonald Mommy & Me Musical Farm Class
Every night before class, I ask Elle, “Where are we going tomorrow?” Her response is always the same, and always with the same enthusiasm, “Farm class! Yay!”
It’s not that she doesn’t enjoy preschool or any of her other extracurricular classes. She does. But Old MacDonald brings a sort of lightness, a different experience for Elle each week.
She looks forward singing songs she knows and loves, and she loves meeting and learning about new animals. Outside of books, Elle has never even seen some of these animals. Sure, she’s been to the zoo, but this is different. This is intimate, this is up-close and personal. She looks forward to these special moments with these animals, who have now become her friends.
And I do too. I can’t describe the feeling I get seeing the farm through my daughter’s eyes. It’s nothing short of enchanting. Not to mention, they didn’t offer “farm” classes in my hometown when I was growing up haha. So, the reality is, not only does Elle have the fortune of this unique experience, but so do I. And fortunate we are, as this is a class neither of us will soon forget. But hopefully, we will return in the spring for a whole new adventure to revisit all of our new animal friends and even meet some new ones. In late November, Horse Crossing Farm welcomed a baby calf, Cowboy, to the farm family!
What: Old MacDonald Mommy & Me Musical Farm Class
Where: 210 Railroad Avenue, Lexington, SC 29072
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