“The more things change, the more they are the same”
That phrase, by French novelist Alphonse Karr, aptly applies to our Wilton Method Classes. We’ve always enjoyed the work of our enthusiastic Instructors who have engaged literally millions of students in the fun of cake decorating. I’m very excited to announce that, on June 1, we switched from a collection of courses that has evolved over 35 years to a “refreshed” curriculum. This set of three very interrelated courses builds on the excitement and fun our students always have felt.
So … why change something that’s successful?
Because the consumer changed … and she expects more from us. The purpose of refreshing our already thriving curriculum is to continue the success of Wilton classes through experiences that will teach skills and inspire family celebrations. Our older courses were designed by Baby Boomers … for Baby Boomers. The updated curriculum will appeal to a new generation of moms as well as a broader market encompassing all ages and relationships. The new consumer is more than just Moms. It’s aunts, cousins, grandmas, even nieces … and maybe a few dads or uncles, too.
On top of that, close family friends are getting involved as well! Our modern student is “busier” – MUCH busier! She is looking for value for her money AND time invested. And, she is more family and group oriented. She wants to have an active part in the end product. She wants to “do it myself” so she can say “I made this!” and receive praise and adoration from friends and family.
Actually, the vast majority of topics still are the same. So there is a close correlation with the previous collection of courses. The refreshed curriculum is designed to encourage your success and confidence; ultimately increasing your opportunities to move into techniques that expand the color, beauty and excitement you can create with your Wilton Method skills.
This new learning opportunity really is a “curriculum” … three courses that form an integrated whole which will take you from learning how to bake and ice a cake to elaborate showpieces with supple fondant features and elegant gum paste flowers. With the refreshed approach, a new student would START with Decorating Basics, but then go on to whichever course suites her interests and needs: Flowers and Cake Design or Gum Paste and Fondant.
Many of the skills taught in the legacy courses still are there! They’re just re-sequenced to better fit the needs of today’s students. The refreshed curriculum’s pacing is more even, allowing time for interaction and coaching from the Instructor as well as with peers in the class. The skills taught are carefully planned so that you can feel successful throughout the experience. The Decorating Basics course eases you into YOUR next step, whether it’s to Flowers and Cake Design or to Gum Paste and Fondant. That makes class scheduling much easier for both the store and you. The result will be a huge “WOW” from your family and friends!
Why don’t you number the courses anymore?
Despite what the old numbering system implied, it really wasn’t sequential. Students always had the opportunity, once they’d taken Course 1, of going on to Course 3, Fondant and Gum Paste, or Course 2. The numbering system actually confused more than it explained. Plus, it caused scheduling difficulties in the stores, who acted on the assumption the courses had to be presented in order. They didn’t.
What am I missing?
You’ll be “missing” a lot of duplicate topics, particularly between the old Course 3 and Fondant & Gum Paste. There was some instruction on “tiered cakes” that is not in our refreshed main courses. But, this Fall, we’ll introduce a “Tall Cakes” project class which will cover stacked cakes, two-plate assembly, combining stacked and two-plate assembly, transporting cakes, and more. What you’ll gain with the refreshed curriculum is much more interaction with your Instructor than in the previous courses. Added topics include: cake design, work space preparation, and fresh, new techniques in a range of media from buttercream to royal icing, to fondant and gum paste.
Is it more than just an in-class experience?
Yes! Today’s course participants like to be heard! The refreshed curriculum gives plenty of opportunity for you to be involved. We will have a website especially for these courses. That site includes cake galleries, message boards, downloadable information, FAQs, hints and tips, and additional resources and links. All of this is organized by course.
We’ll also tap into the classes themselves to draw out ideas and feedback. In June, we’re implementing a special classroom technique, called “The Penny Jar”. Each Instructor has the tools to implement this immediate-feedback program, in which you are encouraged to write “sticky” notes offering tips, ideas, praise, and questions. These then are posted on a special easel stand, from which the Instructor can read and respond right there in class. The Instructor also can forward any notes she/he wants to the Wilton office. We’ll take those notes and compile them. Then, we’ll share those thoughts online, along with further information and encouragement. We’ve already tested it with our Wilton Method Instructions, who’ve really gotten into it!
And, that brings me back to the beginning … the profound enthusiasm of our Instructors and the unique value of our classroom experience. In the next few weeks, we are going to see a new future unfold before us. But, some things don’t change. The true strengths of this program are the fun and companionship found in our classes as well as the thrill of making celebrations special for our families and friends. Powering it all, are the wonderful Wilton Method Instructors. These things truly are exciting! We’ll never change them!
For more information, please visit our Wilton Method Courses Overview page.