I think I was more excited than anyone else when we signed Jacob up for play classes at Gymboree. He started about a month ago when he was 11months old. For Tim and I, it was fun to see our little pumpkin exploring and meeting other kids in the playgroup.
When Jacob turned 11 months, he was more active than ever, he crawled everywhere, climbed every furniture and was slowly starting to walk. So we decided that it was the right time to start looking around for playgroups and involve Jacob in activities where he’d be able to experience something new, and be encouraged to interact with other kids his age. I was looking at places that are a combination of fun, safe, not too stressful, creative, and most importantly, very clean.
We even considered sending Jacob to half-day nurseries so that he could make some friends but the huge downside was that I wouldn’t be able to be there with him, and I'm not ready to leave him by himself just yet. The thought of leaving my baby at the care of people I don't know is already giving me anxiety!
Gymboree was our next best option because they offer classes that are tailored for specific age groups and they ensure that every child learns and has fun in their age-specific classes, which is simply perfect! I went on their website and signed us up for a trial run. They got back to me almost immediately to book Jacob in and we found ourselves at Gymboree just a few days later!
Before we know it, we were coming back for more. It was a no-brainer, really. The quality, enrichment, and all the fun made us opt for the multiple class pass which is a package for 24 classes to be used within 6 months. I love that Jacob has been enjoying himself there. He loves being ‘set free’ to explore, and I love that he is in a safe environment to do so.
It’s been about a month and a half since we were there for the first time and we’ve been going once every week. Because they’ve only just opened again after the quarantine period, we were told that the classes have been much smaller than before. They clean and sanitise after every session which is a huge plus (especially for this germaphobe of a mama).
Other than play classes, Gymboree also offers music lessons, art lessons, and play lab (which I have yet to find out what it is), and the activities vary between age groups. Right now we’re in the 10-16 months age group classes and so far, they have been a blast!
For me, it has been a great opportunity to meet other moms in the area, connect with the local community, and a great place to learn what activities are best for my baby at his current development stage.
In Jacob’s first class, he was already feeling right at home. Teacher Joanne is such a wonderful instructor, she was very friendly and energetic, and because we were literally the only ones there the first time, Jacob was given full care and attention. It felt more like a private lesson and we had the entire gym to ourselves.
The gym itself is only so big but they make it interesting and exciting by rearranging their equipment every two weeks. It keeps the environment fresh and new. One cool thing to note is that no surface or texture is overlooked - everything from the toys to the floor is considered for its ability to teach and inspire something creative and exciting. This reminds me of when Jacob was distracted by the velcro on the play mat and kept wanting to touch it, instead of pulling him away, the teacher was very supportive and encouraging of his new discovery.
I’m also a fan of the personal touches - once you’re booked in, they’ll call or text you with a reminder that there’s class the next morning. During class, they provide cute little name tags, and they’ll refer to your baby by name the entire time, and you as ‘mummy’.
To encourage and invite more people to sign up after the quarantine period, they are currently giving out a little discount for registrations and Jacob is allowed to bring a friend to classes so that his friends too can give Gymboree a try!
If you get a chance and live somewhere near a Gymboree, go. It’s really enjoyable, especially if you get to go with good company. More is always merrier! You’ll love the cognitive, physical, and social skills development and your children will love the fun.
I’ve pulled up some links for you here if you’re interested,
Website for Malaysia: http://www.gymboreeclasses.com.my/