Good? Bad? Have you ever been?
I took my ds (2.5 yrs) while I was at home on maternity leave with dd's birth. He was 20 months when we began going, and about 26 months when we stopped (because I went back to work). We had a good time, but I never felt any great need to make ds follow the "curriculum". My feeling was that we were going to allow him some guaranteed play time with other kids his age, and later, as I got to know and like some of the other mothers, it became my social time too. I really liked the teacher at that particular location, but I could see how the teacher can make or break the group. Another advantage was that I purchased an unlimited pass which meant we could go every day if we wanted to, and we ended up going 4 days/week. A disadvantage is that he quickly grew out of the equipment. IMO, it's really meant for young kids just learning to climb and he quickly mastered everything and then grew bored, which led to some aggressive behaviors here and there. Now we go to My Gym http://www.my-gym.com
. It's meant for kids up to 9 years, so he's much more fascinated and challenged by it. I think the disadvantage to this program though is that where we go, you pay for sessions of one class per week, and you don't have the opportunity to go as many times as you want, and it's not cheap (neither is Gymboree for that matter, but it's cheaper than My Gym). But ds likes it and I do too. However, next summer, I'll take dd to Gymboree (she'll be 14+ months) because she'll just be learning to climb and we can go a few times each week, and mothers from my ds's class have children dd's age as well, so I'll get to play with them too.
I can easily see how the other mothers in the class can also make or break your experience too. For example, when we began My Gym, I had ds enrolled in a Friday a.m. class and I was really grossed out by many of the other mothers--they'd say things to each other like, "Great! Now you've got your quality time and outside time done for the day!" How disgusting is that?!:yuck Then I switched him to a Saturday a.m. class and I'm much happier with the other mothers. I hope this was the kind of information you were looking for.
Hi there. I used to teach at Gymboree and I have taken (and am still taking) my kids there. I really like it but I think a lot of whether or not you like it has to do with the teacher and with the other moms. When I taught it I didn't feel that I was overbearing or that I felt the need to stick to the "curriculum" of that week. I just kind of let the kids play and that was that. I guess it all depends on what you're looking for. My kids still love it so I view it as our "extra" fun time. I don't sign up in the summer, though, because there's too much fun to be had outside! I guess they are doing away with "Gymbo" the clown now and making him a boy. My kids will be bummed about that!
our area doesn't have it : (((((((
I wanted my baby to be in a play group
I have had ZERO luck in finding one.
My dd went to Gymboree from about 6 months to 2.5 years and loved it. As everyone else said, it completely depends on the teacher. We had some wonderful ones, who had lots of energy and really loved the kids, but also some who just didn't have it! It's especially great in the winter when kids don't get to play outside much. I made a couple of really good friends there, too. I recommend it!
I took Emily to Gymboree from the time she was 10 months to 13 months. She loved it tremendously.
She hated the parachute. Dangerous.
She also got sick twice cuz other parents brought they obviously sick children. I hate that, cuz it went through the group and we missed 4 out of 12 of our dates ( you can make them up later though).
I've been thinking about taking her back now that she's almost two. She doesn't know how to climb all that well and I think it would be a nice safe environment for her to learn.
Dreading the illnesses though.
Just out of curiosity, Erin, what part of the parachute play did you find dangerous? I can see where it can be dangerous if children get wild; fortunately, the moms in dd's group were always good about removing a child who could harm others. Is that what you mean?
Actually what happened was we sat all the kids in the middle of the parachute, then we grabbed hold and walked in a circle. These kids were barely in the sitting stage. So they all toppled over on each other. My baby was at the bottom of a 3 baby pile up! She knocked her head and was very upset. After that she didn't want any part of it. So I just kept her out at that moment.
Wow! When I was teaching Gymboree we didn't really do the parachute ride with the little ones. If there were only a few we might use the little parachute and go very slowly. The ride is really meant for the older kids that's for sure. I'm sorry you had that experience!
My daughter started when she was about 18 months. It took her a while to feel comfy but once she did!!!!!! She loved it so much that we kept going till she was nearly 5 . She was generally quite shy and I have to say that going to that class played a major role in her conquering her shyness. I do remember watching on the sidelines alot in the beginning cause I thought some things were too crazy and perhaps dangerous for my dd. However other children who were more physically sure of themselves seemed to be just fine. I didn't mind waiting till she and I were ready to jump in. We loved the teachers-some more than others. My dd just invitied her last one to her b-day, she really loves her. It's so cute.
Three+yo dd and I go to Whole Notes-Gymboree's music program. I will not return as I do not care for the class structure-never finish a song, jump from one thing to the next...Perhaps a different teacher would make a difference but we went to Music Together for a couple sessions and it was great. My only complaint about that is that all ages are in one class.
At the Gymboree we attend, the desk attendent is worthless - rude, uninvolved, more interested in her personal phone calls. The "open gym" is not great for us as the equipment is geared for children who are less athletic than dd.
We also go to My Gym and love it.
I took my daughter when she was about a year for a free class, and it wasn't much of a success, because of both the teachers and the other parents. I'm not used to seeing parents force their children to do things because it's "good for them," but that seemed to be the pervading spirit. One poor screaming toddler was physically forced to walk through some stupid obstacle course, and no one else seemed to be bothered. I'm sure this is HIGHLY unusual, and of course think you should try a free class to see what the atmosphere is like.
But...this forced me to look elsewhere, and thought I'd point out that there may be cheaper (and better) alternatives. I found a great playgroup through the Child Abuse Council. The leader was wonderful, and we all had a great time. Now we are in a play group offered by the city Parks and Rec Department, and it too is so much better. And they cost a fraction of Gymoboree. I found these by asking a La Leche League leader and our nurse practioner for suggestions. You might also find something by calling the Parks and Rec Dept or if there are some family-centered publications for your area. Just a thought.
We have gone off and on, but I get tired of the Stepford wives yelling at their kids and telling me "oh, just bite him back" and being horrified I am nursing a 2.5 yo. He would rather be at the beach, anyway. I wish both of us had liked it better... we tried 3 different babygyms, but no luck.
Yikes, MamaLeah and mamapie, sounds like you had lousy teachers and moms in your groups! The Gymboree teachers where I took dd always made it clear that the children will participate as much as they want to and that parents should accept whatever their child feels comfortable with. They were very sensitive to the individual needs of each child. I didn't see any moms forcing their children to do anything they didn't like, and I guess if one tried, a teacher would have gently told them that they shouldn't. I never would have continued attending if that wasn't the case!
I started taking dd(16months) there when she was 9 months and we've been going for 6 months. I too get a little turned off by moms and teachers who usher the kids from one thing to the next when the child clearly wants to explore one thing or just watch others play(this is how they learn by imitation). I take dd's lead, if all she wants is nurse on my lap and watch others play, so be it. Its her play time afterall. That said, I think Gymboree is a good resource especially in the winter when its cold and rainy.
Hey MamaMAMAma, just wanted to say that I think it is too cool that your toddler nurses at Gymboree if she wants. What a great mama!
My oldest ds LOVED Gymboree! He loved the noise and having tons of kids around. However at times he did not want to follow the program. Although his teacher wanted the kids to do what everyone else did, and some of the mothers forced their kids to do it, I let ds do exactly what he wanted. I figured, it's my money and as long as he is not disrupting the class then so be it.
My youngest ds HATED Gymboree! He didn't like the amount of people that were in the class. We would get there early and he was fine but as the people poured in he wanted to just sit in my lap and watch. I took him out of the class and then we took the whole notes music class for the following session. He LOVES this! There are only 4 kids in the class and it is much more in tune with his needs. I do however agree with Clancysmum, I do not like the class structure at all. He loves it so we are finishing the session but I am looking into the Music Together program. I did Kindermusic with my oldest ds, but it is VERY pricey. So we will give the Music Together a try next session.
I think taking the free class is a good idea. Also it really depends on your child. Each of my children needed totally different things. Just a matter of finding out what it is!