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ChIMES (Childhood Introduction to Music Education, with Smiles) is an SDYS program that highlights one of the most integral phases of child growth and development: the period of growth that takes place from birth to age 5.

Register Now for “Amazing Animals” Spring Session!

Did you know?

SDYS Childhood Introduction to Music Education, with Smiles!By the time a baby turns one year old, their brain will have grown to 70% of its adult size. By age three, the brain reaches 85% of its total growth. Creating music, and the human interaction that accompanies music-making, involves multi-sensory activities that grow and foster strong brain growth and healthy interaction between young children and their caregivers.

ChIMES classes are designed to enhance and further child development while building healthy attachment between the child and caregiver through hands-on play with instruments, singing, movement, rhythm activities, percussion, and more. The interactive classes develop children’s musical, motor and aural skills and help facilitate learning in other areas. The program is specifically designed to create pathways for children to participate in ensemble-based programs for youth. View ChIMES Flyer

*** Register now for the 6-week “Amazing Animals” Spring Session!***
ChIMES Outdoors (In-Person Classes in Balboa Park/Liberty Station) is now at maximum enrollment, but there are still spaces available for ChIMES@Home Online Classes.

Register Now for “Amazing Animals” Spring Session!

Learn more about "Amazing Animals" Spring Session


Our “Amazing Animals” session features songs and activities about all creatures great and small, with plenty of opportunities to roar like a lion or sing like a bird!

Please note: All in-person, outdoor classes are now at maximum enrollment, but we are still accepting registrations for the online ChIMES@Home spring classes. Details below!


6-week session, 30-min live Zoom class
This virtual, interactive session of ChIMES music for parents/caregivers and children ages 0-5 (and any other members of your household that would like to join in the fun too!)

WEDNESDAYS with Mr. Charlie
April 7 – May 12
Mixed Ages 9:30 a.m.

Cost: $100 ($90 one-time discount rate for new families)
NO Charge for additional siblings



6-week session, 45-min socially-distanced class
Each class limited to 10 children; each child or set of siblings to be accompanied by ONE parent/caregiver

Balboa Park
(Marston House grounds)
WEDNESDAYS with Mr. Charlie, April 7 – May 12
Toddlers/Preschoolers 11:00 a.m.

Balboa Park (Marston House grounds)
FRIDAYS with Ms. Michelle, April 9 – May 14
English/Spanish Bilingual (Mixed Ages) 10:00 a.m.

Liberty Station (behind Bldg 201)
SATURDAYS with Ms. Kat, April 10 – May 15
Babies & Toddlers 9:30 a.m.
Preschoolers 10:30 a.m.

Cost: $120 for one child/caregiver ($110 one-time discount rate for first-time new families)
$180 sibling rate ($170 one-time discount rate for first-time families)

ALL classes
(in-person and online) will also have access to the online ChIMES Video Library, which is a great way to continue the music at home in between classes!
*Please note: Outdoor classes will adhere to all state and county-mandated COVID-19 protocols (including distancing, masks for those over age 2, etc). Classes will be limited to 10 children; each child or set of siblings may only be accompanied by one parent/caregiver. Families can either purchase a ChIMES instrument kit, or bring their own instruments to use during class. A full list of health and safety policies and procedures will be sent to families prior to the start of the session.
Learn more about the different classes offered

Which class is right for my child?

ChIMES Level 1: “First Movement” for babies
Recommended for ages 0 up to 18 months

Phase: Parents/caregivers are the primary models and teachers. Children observe and imitate, and begin to participate as they get older, develop more skills, and become more familiar with the class routine.

What to Expect: Singing, dancing, lap songs and bounces, peek-a-boo games, scarves and movement, basic rhythm activities, guest musicians and instrument show and tell, hands-on play with egg shakers, tambourines and other instruments!

ChIMES Level 2: “Second Movement” for toddlers
Recommended for ages approximately 18 months to 3 yrs old

Phase: Children observe, imitate and participate in more involved ways as they become familiar with the class routine and become more developmentally able to manipulate their voices, bodies and musical instruments. They begin to interact with others in class and it becomes more of a parent/child experience rather than parent-led.

What to Expect: Building on Level 1 skills, with more emphasis on singing and solfege (e.g. “Do-Re-Mi…”) as language skills emerge, introduction to harmony and intervals, dancing and large movement, creative expression, more advanced rhythm activities, guest musicians and instrument show and tell, instrument play with rhythm sticks, shakers, bells, drums and more!

ChIMES Level 3: “Third Movement” for preschoolers
Recommended for ages approximately 3 – 5 yrs old

“Creating & Doing”
Phase: Children participate more fully and begin to generate their own ideas, sounds and movements. The class has transitioned from parent-led to child-led. Parents and caregivers still actively participate, but children in this class are more independent and also engage with their peers and teacher.

What to Expect: Building stronger ensemble skills through more advanced singing (including scales, solfege, intervals, two-parts), rhythm activities and movement; improvising and creative expression; new instruments (including pitched percussion like chime bars/glockenspiels and unpitched instruments like drums, wood blocks, triangles, etc); introduction to basic music notation and concepts through age-appropriate games and play.

ChIMES@Home Online: These live, interactive classes (conducted via Zoom) are suitable for children ages 0-5, their parents/caregivers, and any other household members that want to join in the fun too! Enjoy the convenience of participating in our virtual session from the comfort of your own home. 

Not only are ChIMES classes fun for your whole family, but your child will be gaining skills that are crucial for early learning and school readiness. Activities with our teachers are playful and interactive, and the classes are personalized to accommodate all children, and encourage musical development and active participation. You and your child will sing and move, listen to a variety of music and instruments, play your own instruments, and learn about rhythm, tone, and other musical concepts.

Our ChIMES curriculum focuses on the child/caregiver shared musical experience, both for in-person AND online classes. Actively participating in class and interacting with your child is the key to a fun and enriching experience!


Here is what families have to say about ChIMES!

You guys have done a wonderful job with the online format, and can’t tell you how much it means to us to have ‘play’ time with other little ones. We’re really looking forward to trying the English/Spanish class this session. Thanks for all you do!

“The new bilingual classes are fantastic! I’m amazed at how much our daughter’s interest in music has grown. In addition to the classes, she loves watching the videos of other people playing instruments. When we saw an illustration of an oboe recently, she told me what it was and told me that Mr. Lionel plays it :)”

“Recently, our daughter has been doing the “Do Re Mi” scale before going to bed. She just all of a sudden started doing it (and correctly, too). It really amazes me how much she absorbs even when you don’t think she is paying attention!”

“It’s been really nice to just have other people in our living room. So even for those people who are starting from scratch, it’s great too because it’s nice to have people outside of your immediate family singing with you.”

“It’s convenient. If we missed the class we can watch the replay!”

“Great class! Quality instruction as usual and great job moderating and spotlighting. Thank you!!”

“The music was truly absorbed by my 18 month old. Nice routines and repetition of songs with the puppets and body movements.”

“The classes are so well-organized and fun! My kiddo always looks forward to them and loves the teachers. Thank you for all you continue to do to bring learning into our homes during the pandemic (and we’re excited to try in-person outdoor classes for the first time)!”

“We loved this series! We’ve taken other music classes and this one is by far the best. Our daughter was born loving music and she really thrived in this class. She especially enjoyed when the instructor played ukulele throughout.”

“We loved the staff’s warm welcome to every class and the sense of community they provided. So often with classes like this facilitators don’t treat it as a community. They both made it easier to make connections with others in our session. The music and movement activities were top notch and very appropriate for the group. The teacher adapted easily for the varying needs and attitudes of each class session.”

Meet the ChIMES Teaching Artists
Mr. Charlie

Born and raised in the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming, Charlie Perkes comes from a strong musical family. He was accepted into the United States Army Band as a bassist and while in the Army, he studied at the Department of Defense School of Music.

After completing four years in the Army Band, he joined his wife in the Navy Band, where they completed a four-year tour of duty performing all over Europe and Africa. His next tour to Japan was for four years, performing all over Southeast Asia.

Charlie plays the bass, cello and ukulele, and has been teaching ChIMES classes for several years. He also works as a Strings Teaching Artist and Instrument Librarian for SDYS.

Ms. Kat
Kat Fitzpatrick has a BA in Child Studies and an AS in Early Childhood Development, and over 30 years of early childhood teaching experience. She has taught preschool at both private schools and at CVUSD. Kat also ran her own business teaching music and drama enrichment classes for young children, and performing for children all around San Diego.

Her other passion (besides the little ones!) includes musical theater and performance. Kat has won awards for her own original preschool song recordings and also for performing; she has been in many San Diego productions, most recently Sister Act at SDMT and The Addams Family at Lawrence Welk Theater.


Ms. Michelle
Michelle Caravia began playing the piano at a very early age and has a Bachelor of Music with a major in vocal performance. She has taught private piano and voice lessons as well as improvisational acting and group singing classes. She was a substitute teacher and paraeducator with the Orange County Department of Education for 6 years in the special education classes.
Michelle is passionate about performing and enjoys everything from singing to acting to improv. She has sung with Opera San Luis Obispo, Miami City Ballet and New World Symphony. She has performed in improv festivals around the country and, most recently, performed in an interactive theater production at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Florida.
A daughter of Cuban immigrants, Michelle grew up in a Spanish-speaking household and she is excited to give ChIMES families exposure to Spanish language through songs and other musical activities.


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