gymboree vs little gym - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 05-20-2009, 04:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Here is my thought... I want to home school for the most part, not really interested in preschool. We are brand new to our area, and we have had a hard time meeting people/famiies/kids. DS is 30 mo, and bright and physically apt.

Since I am very prego, I think these are a great option to garentee some play and socialization.. and maybe I'll make a friend too.

Specific questions for those of you who have tried these...
Did you prefer one curriculum over another?
did the programs suit your child?
did they make allowances for personality, creativity?
did one or the other seem to fit a certain age group best?
was the price worth it when it was all said and done?
were the other moms friendly?

Thanks alot for thoughts. Obviously I'm not looking for bashing one or the other, and I don't think specifics about a bad teacher in a specific area is what I'm looking for, but general reflections about the maturity of staff etc could be useful.

Tea drinking Momma::: Grady 8/06 and : Coralynn 8/09
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#2 of 13 Old 05-23-2009, 11:45 AM
 
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I think the quality of any class is very dependent on the particular instructor. We chose Little Gym over Gymboree. I would recommend doing a free trial class at both and then decide. I chose Little Gym because I felt Gymboree (at least the one by my house) was not BF friendly, more corporate-seeming, and the moms were cliquey and not very AP.

My one complaint about Little Gym is that the instructor is always telling the parents to "praise, praise, praise." I don't subscribe to the praise thing, so it gets a little annoying to hear all the other people "Good Jobbing" all over the place, but in the grand scheme of things, it's a minor complaint.

It may be helpful to post in the Tribal Area for where you live to get more specific feedback--I am nowhere near you!
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#3 of 13 Old 05-23-2009, 04:55 PM
 
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I recommend checking out Music Together. Mixed age classes(til 6 yrs i think), lots of physical movement, dancing, drum playing, singing and general silliness. It is extremely well thought out curriculum wise, but feels very spontaneous. My daughter is one, and has a total blast in the class, and the older kids have tons of fun as well. The other parents are super nice too- it's the kind of class where you have to drop your inhibitions, which provides for a really friendly atmosphere. Anyway- google it- i think it runs in most cities.
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#4 of 13 Old 05-24-2009, 10:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brownie~ View Post
I
My one complaint about Little Gym is that the instructor is always telling the parents to "praise, praise, praise." I don't subscribe to the praise thing, so it gets a little annoying to hear all the other people "Good Jobbing" all over the place, but in the grand scheme of things, it's a minor complaint.
We did a trial art class at Gymboree (ds is 18 months). None of the kids in his class did any of the projects, it was mostly the moms using the cookie cutters with playdough or doing any of the other projects. The only things the kids really did was play with some rubber ducks that were floating in a trough (not sure what that has to do with art). Anyway, the teacher kept saying good job to all the kids, which I thought was annoying. It's one thing to say good job when the kid actually does something, but when it's just the moms doing the work??? There was a kid there that was about a year older than my son and he had been going for months, and he didn't do anything either really...so I wasn't impressed with the class....
On the other hand, my son did a trial play class when he was much younger, and I thought the play classes were good then.
One thing we've done is sign up for Kindermusic classes and there are free classes in the library and we've made friends that way. Meetup.com is also good for finding playgroups in your area.
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#5 of 13 Old 05-25-2009, 12:16 AM
 
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As pp recommended....I too think you should do a trial class at both as see which seems to be more of a fit for your child. My dd is currently doing both My Little Gym and Gymboree and I am starting to see her more interested in My Little Gym as she becomes more adept at the gym skills. I am finding Gymboree to be a bit repetative and I think she may be getting bored.

Michelle Mama to Lucy 9/07
"Seek the wisdom of the ages but, look at the world through the eyes of a child" Ron Wild
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#6 of 13 Old 05-25-2009, 11:35 PM
 
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We're in Canada so it may be different, but we've done both and loved both. Our Little Gym is much bigger than our Gymboree, so I like LG more for that reason. However, our Gymboree program is much more structured, so I like that about G.

Little Gym here is much more gymnastics and free play, (with some dancing/walking in a circle). Gymboree is much more structured activities, climbing, balls, bubbles and music, which my kids like better than gymnastics.

LG is better though b/c it has a party room for snacks/lunch afterwards and they keep it much cleaner than our gymboree. I think it all depends on your location. Little Gym here is way more expensive too, but it has march break and xmas camps, (G does not here) and monthly parents survival nights (with a theme night where they go all out, the kids go from 6-9pm one Friday a month, it is great). So really, the kids and DH and I love both for different reasons.

HTH!
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#7 of 13 Old 05-25-2009, 11:46 PM
 
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I'd also check out musikgarten or kindermusic classes, and at 30 months, you may also find interesting classes (usually mommy and me) at a "regular" gymnastics gym.

I did a trial class at Little Gym and for my area, thought the price was way too high for what was offered. We're doing musikgarten now and DS really likes it - it's very different, but meets the need of getting time with me, "enrichment" time, and I get to interact with other moms/kids. I found that I didn't have much in common with the other families at our LG (many kids came with their FT nannies, the others were very yuppie) - things like that make a big difference in how you enjoy the experience. Doing the trial class will help you figure out what's more your speed.
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#8 of 13 Old 05-26-2009, 02:13 AM
 
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I don't know about these two but we go to My Gym and LOVE it. From what people describe here it sounds similar to Little Gym. Very engaging and relaxed atmosphere and the program seems very well thought out for the age levels with lots and lots of free play in each class.

Several other parents I've talked to there are Gymboree refuges. I chose My Gym just because it was a few blocks away and so I can better get my money's worth out of the free play sessions and Parent's Nights. I agree to try sample classes and compare.
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#9 of 13 Old 05-26-2009, 03:24 AM
 
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We go to Toddler Gym at our local (well... the nearest to our rural town) YMCA. Cheap and included in membership, so we get mommy-baby swim time and free nursery with the overall cost. But that would vary massively from Y to Y. It's really diverse, not too structured, and fun and that's what I like best about it.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#10 of 13 Old 05-26-2009, 08:41 AM
 
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They're both franchises, so it really depends on your location. I agree that you should take the trial classes. We've done Gymboree since DD was 5 weeks old (I had to get out of the house! I know I'm crazy!) and we've both really loved it all the way through. I've made some really good friends through Gymboree, and we hang out outside of Gymboree. The classes are 45 minutes, and at the level DD is at it's about 15 minutes of structured time (some songs at the beginning, bubbles and parachute play at the end, a few little games in the middle) and 30 minutes of free play.

A Little Gym opened in my area, and I looked at it, but it was slightly more more expensivw ($70 per month v $65), and with Gymboree you get the Open Gym times, which are nice in bad weather or when you just need a change. I'm also a little annoyed by the idea of toddlers going to the gym, as it's sort of an obvious play into the current obsession with childhood obesity. And yes I know it's "Gym"boree, but they've been around since the 80's so I don't think it's so much that. I just think it makes the emphasis about the wrong thing (weight) as opposed to just running around and playing and having a good time. I hope this doesn't lead to flames, but in reading their brochure they were really playing up the "gym" part, and it left me a little annoyed.

But in the end, it really depends on the franchises near you.

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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#11 of 13 Old 05-26-2009, 01:20 PM
 
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I agree with pp who said go to the trial classes because each franchise has its own flavor.

We are currently at Gymboree and I've never gone to a Little Gym so I can't really compare them.

What I like about Gymboree's play classes is they change the whole set up around every week or so. It's never the same play area twice.

We also do the art class and I agree with a pp poster that the little kids don't 'do' much but they still get a lot out of the art class. DD learned a lot about transitions in Art class and loves to get her hands covered in paint. We still aren't making anything worth keeping but the sensory experience and exposure to art activities will pay off later. Plus, the mess stays at Gymboree.

ETA to answer your questions:

Specific questions for those of you who have tried these...
Did you prefer one curriculum over another? Can't answer this one.

did the programs suit your child? Oh yes. DD gets to climb and slide and jump. Plus paint and color and glue.

did they make allowances for personality, creativity? The play classes at Gymboree are kind of a free-for-all. They usually have a theme and some activity ideas, but the kids mostly just play and do what interests them. The art class is more structured, but it's no biggie if kids deviate a bit.

did one or the other seem to fit a certain age group best? Can't say.

was the price worth it when it was all said and done? I think so. We pay $60 a month for one class which will go down to $49 after 6 months. Plus they ran a summer special so we got 2 classes for 3 months for like $250 which is cheaper than what we pay now.

were the other moms friendly? Yes but I don't find Gymboree a place to make friends (at least not with little toddlers who require lots of supervision). Maybe with older kids it would be easier to connect socially?



V

Happy Momma to DD (almost 3) Fall Coleslaw -- Simple Italian Stuffed Peppers -- - Fall Toddler Activities.- We Made a Play Kitchen Selling gently used books on all topics here.
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#12 of 13 Old 05-26-2009, 01:47 PM
 
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I have gone to The Little Gym with all of mine and they loved it. I appreciate the detail to cleanliness, especially in this day and age. I also love that the teachers are well trained and they stay the same throughout the session. The classes seemed thought out-good lessons and just enough free play, no standing around. I like how they have different tricks every week to show you and why it is good for children. Gymboree seemed more hectic and had no direction plus the teacher was always changing for our class. But that may have just been that one. Definitely try both out.
The Little gym I used to go to (Washington) was good about customer service too. They listened when I had a complaint about a minor detail, and they made sure I was happy when it was resolved.
It is a franchise but I think that is good, you get the benefit of a big company but help support the local owner too. I loved the classes there. Unfortunately, I know longer live there so we cannot take classes. But I highly recommend it!
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#13 of 13 Old 05-26-2009, 10:21 PM
 
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We were doing gyboree but felt it was pretty weird. Way too corporate feeling. Also...
I remember reading in a mothering mag 2 issues ago about a women who was told by an employee from "crazy eights" that she couldn't breast feed in the store. Just so happens that gymboree and crazy eights are part of the same coporation. Do any of us want to support that?!
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