Early Childhood Education Guidelines

Early Childhood Education Programs Information | Fall 2020 | Online


In the VMFA’s Early Childhood Education programs, infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children discover the world around them through playing, singing, exploring, and creating. Held throughout VMFA’s campus, these programs support a child’s natural sense of wonder and curiosity, and promote self-expression and social development.

This fall, to support varying levels of comfort and needs, VMFA is offering online experiences to provide enriching opportunities to young children. At this time, in-person classes are expected to begin in November.


Tots of Art: Gallery
(ages 18–30 months)

Select Thursdays
9–9:15 am & 9:30–9:45 am


Young @ Art: Gallery
(ages 2.5–5 years)

Select Tuesdays
9–9:15 am & 9:30–9:45 am


Tots of Art: Storytime + Studio
(ages 18–30 months)

Select Thursdays
10–10:30 am & 11–11:30 am

$36 for a two class series
(VMFA members $30)

Young @ Art: Storytime + Studio
(ages 2.5–5 years)
Select Saturdays
10–10:30 am & 11–11:30 am
$36 for a two class series
(VMFA members $30)


Go to the Early Childhood Education section of the website to look for an register for available classes. Prior to the day of the class, the instructor will send an email with a Zoom class link and passcode to the email address used to register for the class. Please do not share this information with anyone. Only registered participants will be allowed to attend class.


PHONE – Lori Coffey, 804.340.1343


GALLERY – This 15-minute class will include interactive activities and songs and look closely at a piece of art in VMFA’s permanent collection. Students will have the opportunity to say hello and goodbye at the beginning and end of the class, but will mostly be muted to limit background noise. The Gallery program does not include an art project or art supplies.
STORYTIME + STUDIO – This series of two 30-minute classes will include interactive activities and songs and a story. Students will have the opportunity to say hello and goodbye at the beginning and end of the class, but will mostly be muted to limit background noise.

Participants will also receive a link to a prerecorded art project video to watch at their convenience. All art supplies needed to complete the art project are included with registration and will be safely packaged by staff wearing gloves and masks at all times.

Please note: Packaged art kits must be picked up prior to the day of class. Art kits will not be available for pickup on the day of the class.


Storytime + Studio Classes

Art Kit Pickup Dates

Tots of Art: Groove, Move, and Make
(Class dates: Sep 24 and Oct 8)
Young @ Art: Bend, Breathe, and Be Creative
(Class dates: Sep 26 and Oct 10)

Thu, Sep 17
Sat, Sep 19
Mon, Sep 21

Tots of Art: Play, Build, and Create
(Class dates: Oct 22 and Nov 5)
Young @ Art: Play, Paint, and Print
(Class dates: Oct 24 and Nov 7)

Thu, Oct 15
Sat, Oct 17
Mon, Oct 19

Art kits will only be available for pick-up on the above dates during normal museum hours. Pick up will be held at VMFA’s Coat Check, near the main entrance of the museum. You will need to provide the name used to register for the class and the class title.

Curbside pick-up and mailing will not be available. When picking up art kits, we encourage you to park in the parking deck where the first 30 minutes of parking is free for everyone.


Fees are nonrefundable except when VMFA cancels a class. Classes may not be substituted or switched once registration is complete. Be sure to mark your calendar and save your confirmation email upon registering. If VMFA cancels a class due to insufficient enrollment, issues with technology, or health concerns, participants will be notified as soon as possible and reimbursed fully.


A select number of scholarships are available for Early Childhood programs. For more information, phone 804.340.1343 to request a Scholarship Application Form or email earlychildhood@vmfa.museum.


ABOUT ZOOM – Zoom is a web-based audio and video conferencing tool that allows users to meet virtually. It has become a widely popular teaching platform for schools, museums, and other educational institutes.
ZOOM PREREQUISITES – Almost any device with internet access can be used. Participants simply need the class link and passcode. Although the Zoom app is free, it is not necessary to download for these classes.
TO JOIN A CLASS – Registered participants should have their confirmation email ready with the link, meeting ID, and passcode, about 5-10 minutes before the start of class – please do not be late. A parent or caregiver will need to click the link to join the meeting and type in the passcode.
WAITING ROOM – Upon joining, students will enter a “Waiting Room” and remain there until the instructor has confirmed registration and is ready to begin. Only registered participants will be allowed in class.


CHILDREN’S ONLINE PRIVACY – VMFA will not share or post student information publicly without consent from a parent or guardian. While it’s fun to share in the excitement of new experiences and connections, we also advise parents/caregiver and students to NOT post any pictures, screenshots, or other content from online classes to social media or elsewhere online. Please respect the privacy of others. VMFA has taken steps to reduce online security risks as much as possible, such as requiring a passcode, utilizing the Waiting Room feature, disabling video and audio upon entering a meeting, disabling the screen sharing option for participants, and disabling the recording option for participants.
RECORDING – Please be aware that online class sessions may be recorded by VMFA via Zoom. For the privacy and protection of children, however, VMFA will not share content or student information publicly. Recordings are for internal use to document and evaluate the program and continue to learn and grow from this exciting new experience.
SETTING – If participants are using video during class, they should find a location that is safe and neutral. Parents/caregivers should be aware of their surroundings and avoid having items visible that may be considered personal or private.


We value your opinion and may ask you to complete a survey upon exiting the class session or via email at a later date.


What is VMFA’s response to COVID-19?
VMFA is committed to keeping students, parents, caregivers, and teachers safe, and is taking precautions to reduce the risk of spread while visiting the museum. For more information, visit www.vmfa.museum/covid-19.

Why is Early Childhood Education not offering in person programs in September like Youth and Family Studios?
The Early Childhood Education team surveyed our current audience and found that most families felt more comfortable, with the current state of COVID-19, attending online classes. Early Childhood staff also felt that online classes were the safest format for our audience, themselves, and their own families.

When will in-person classes start?
We hope to be able to begin offering in-person classes in November. At this time, we are planning to have small class sizes (5 students per class) and to follow the CDC’s recommendations and guidelines, including physical distancing. VMFA recommends that all children 2 years and up wear face masks. All adults will be required to wear face masks. We also plan to continue to offer live, online classes to provide programs for families of all comfort levels.

Why are virtual programs the same price as in-person programs?
The online Storytime + Studio classes are designed using a similar format as in-person classes, however, the live, online portion of the program is shorter in length than our normal in-person classes to make them age-appropriate for our young audience. Participants will receive art supplies to follow along with the prerecorded art project video at their convenience. Registration fees are based on the average cost of supplies and staff compensation.

Why are there no mailing or curbside pickup options for the packaged art supplies?
Unfortunately, the Early Childhood Education department does not have the resources to send art supplies in the mail. In addition, Early Childhood staff are currently primarily teleworking and not available to be on-site for curbside pickup.

What happens if I don’t receive a confirmation email or zoom link email after signing up for a class?
Please email lori.coffey@vmfa.museum if you do not receive an email from the class instructor five days before your class is being held. This email will include a Zoom link and other important class information.