The 2016 Baby Prom will raise money for the Down Syndrome Association of Delaware. a non-profit organization that serves as a resource for individuals with Down syndrome and their families and promotes public awareness, education and advocacy.Read More
Baby Explorers – Under 14 months or pre walkers
Pre-walking babies will explore sensory activities in the play space. Tummy time, crawling on ramps and gentle slides will encourage their gross motor development while songs and tactile play will engage their listening and fine motor development.
Toddler Explorers – Walking and running babies/toddlers up to 2 years
The class for the toddler on the go. High energy activities will keep up with your toddler’s need to move as we experiment with cause and effect, work on pattern development, and practice language skills.
Prepper Exploration – Older toddlers/young preschoolers who engage in pretend play 2 – 3 years
The class for the older toddler who is ready to use their imagination. Your child will pretend to be their favorite animal, climb a mountain or make cookies while continuing to develop their gross motor skills through fun imaginative play scenarios.
Preschool Exploration – 3 – 5 years
The class for the preschooler who is ready to refine their gross and fine motor skills to practice jumping with both feet or to develop the muscles needed for handwriting. We will work on these skills in a low stress environment where your child will continue to receive play based activities to develop turn taking and listening skills.
Independent Explorers – 3 – 5 years
The class for the big kid who is ready to explore independently. Children must be potty trained and appropriate release information must be completed before drop off.
Imaginative Play - 0 – 5 years
A class for all ages to practice imaginative play in our play space. It’s also a great class for families with children of multiple ages to attend together.
Spanish Immersion – 0 – 5 years
Enjoy the fun and music of Gymboree in Spanish. No language experience necessary this class will be taught by Amber, who has taught preschool through college aged students Spanish for over ten years.
Club Gymboree – 0 – 5 years
On Mondays and Thursday evenings club Gymboree will be open to ages 0-5. Every 20 minutes the teacher will lead activities based on the children's ages and interest and on the hour there will be parachute and bubbles. It will be a way for families to enjoy the flexibility of an open gym with the benefits of structured activities of a class.
Preschool Prep – 2 ½ - 4 years
Perfect for 2 to 4 year old's who are ready to start trying out some independence from their caregiver. We will start in the play space with some activities during Club Gymboree with caregiver and then transition them into the studio for some art, music or science based activity solo. Pre-registration is required.
Music Class Descriptions
Baby Music- 0 – 15 months
An introductory class for our littlest music lovers. Non-mobile babies will explore melody, pitch, and steady beat through many different styles of music and age appropriate props. Children in this age group who are still cutting teeth and using their mouth to explore new objects are welcome. We will continue our exploration of different music styles with a focus on steady beat and cooperative learning.
Toddlers with teeth – 15 – 36 months
Toddlers who have cut most of their teeth and have moved past the point of tasting and drooling are encouraged to join this class. We will continue to explore steady beat, different musical styles, cooperative learning, and instruments like the drum, wood blocks, and bells.
Musical learners – 3 - 5 years
Preschoolers whose verbal skills are firmly in place are ready for this level of Music. We will play games, take turns, sing songs, learn about distinguishing pitches, and explore many different musical styles.
Music Explorers - 0 – 5 years
All ages are welcome to enjoy this exploration of steady beat, song and dance, and taking turns.
Art Class Descriptions
Art Exploration – 2 – 5 years
An opportunity to explore art and get messy! Participants will explore playdoh, chalk, paint and collage materials as well as sing songs and listen to stories.
Independent Art – 3 – 5 years
Children will explore our art studio independently. Since this class meets at noon, children pack a lunch and enjoy eating with their classmates. They listen to a story and create art to expand upon the story’s theme. (Pre-registration required)
One of the questions I love to ask parents in my music classes, year after year, is do you have a favorite song? A favorite band? A favorite style of music? And the follow up question is always, what do you listen to with your child?
If you think the only appropriate music to share with your children includes songs like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star & the Wheels on the Bus, I’ve got great news for you. All music can be great for your child’s development.
Studies tell us that music encourages all areas of development in babies and young children. It promotes development in intellectual, emotional, social, motor, and language skills and aids in literacy. Musical exposure during the early years of a child’s life can assist with phonemic awareness and their ability to recognize the meanings and sounds of words. Dancing is a great way to develop gross motor skills and certainly encourages self- expression. Music strengthens memory in adults & in children. Lay all of these things aside, and there is still the joy that comes from music. For myself, especially, music brings joy. It’s in every corner of our worlds. It provides the soundtrack to our lives.
I’m of the opinion that sharing songs that you love with your children strengthens your bond and provides a commonality that you can continue to share as they grow. My parents gave me Chicago, Billy Joel, Cheap Trick, Journey, The Four Tops, The Temptations, and a deep appreciation for classical music. I gave my daughter John Mayer, among other things. Continuum sang her to sleep for most of her first 3 years. We’re still waiting for him to record a decent album again so that she can see him live in concert with me. I also gave her heavily edited Jay Z and a reworked Fergalicious - “I’m Kailerlicious, my diet is nutritious, I be up at Gymboree just workin on my fitness…” And I never hesitate to point out to her that Everlong by The Foo Fighters is one of the greatest songs ever written. We sing together, she & I . Sometimes, we harmonize. It’s the culmination of a dream that’s been in my heart since long before she was born.
If there is music that makes you happy, that you love, I beg you, give it to your children. It’s a gift. I promise you those songs will color their memories of growing up with you. Give them music. Give them joy.
How to: Follow the lead of the child
How many times have you pinned the perfect play activity for your child? You gather all the materials to make that cool sensory box you saw on Facebook, put it all together excited to share it with your toddler and then five seconds later your toddler is playing with your phone. Try this instead: take a deep breath and just follow the lead of your child. Although this may seem simple to do, it is often difficult to let go of control and just simply be with your child. Before embarking on your next playdate with your child try to keep these simple tips in mind:
1. Let go of what “it” is supposed to look like
a. It is easy to get swept away in what playing with your child should look like. Take this playground. I took my daughter Taylor to the playground and yes my thought was that we would climb up the steps and slide down the slide. Nope. Take a look at that lonely playground. Here is Taylor instead playing in the dirt. But this is what is beautiful about childhood, they are brought into this world free of those notions of what they “should” be doing. With this freedom they are giving you a new window to the world. Take the time to look through their window and you too might discover that awesome pile of dirt right next to the playground you have often ignored.
2. Remind yourself you are doing a great job
a. We all want to be the perfect parent for our children. But we can’t and people are going to judge us for it. Oh well. Yep, people passed us sitting there in the dirt. It would have been easy for me to have been embarrassed that my child was pulling pine needles off of the tree or ashamed that I (gasp!) had my phone out taking pictures of my child instead of just being present in the moment. Guess what? I am a great parent. Even if I don’t make my child go the “right” way up the slide or if I let her pull leaves off the tree or even if I responded to a text on my phone while I was playing with her. And although I may have never met you I am sure you are a great parent too. You love your child, your child loves you, you do your best and that’s all you can really do.
3. Your child is doing what is appropriate for his or her developmental level at this moment
a. Taylor would not walk on her own until she was 17 months and never really crawled. I meet other babies who have not stopped moving since they got out of the womb and were running by 10 months. It’s all normal. Some babies and toddlers like to sit and look at books, others prefer to throw them. They are each cultivating the skill that is important to them. Again, that is what is great about childhood. They instinctively go to what attracts them, they are not bound to what society thinks they should be doing. Let them explore, let them be their own unique individual. The world will try to push them into society’s norms soon enough.
I hope next time you are playing with your child you will give yourself the time and space to just sit back and observe. Cherish those little moments, the spaces in between where your child is just being, because that is where the growth and learning is truly taking place.
Another question we get asked a lot is whether or not your child is playing "normally?" There has always been some worry over whether or not it's ok for your child to play on their own during a class when many of the other children seem to be participating. Rest assured that your child is probably behaving in a developmentally appropriate way.
I was watching an Open Gym, today, followed by a Level 6 class and I witnessed a lot of the behavior that I'm going to touch on here. Your children and their behavior are fascinating to me. No two children that come through are doors are exactly alike. It's a joy to watch their personalities develop during their time with us. But, there are some things that are generally the same at each level of our Play classes. Let's take a look at the different stages of Play and the ages that you can expect children to go through these stages.
From birth to roughly age 2, children engage mostly in Solitary Play. Their main job is growing, developing, and learning about how the world works. They do a lot of that by using taste and touch. This is part of why EVERYTHING goes in their mouths for such a long time. And also why so many of our Level 4 friends are obsessed with the door handles. They want to understand how to make them work. Children in this age group enjoy being on their own with some toys to choose from and in many cases will carry on doing so even if there are other children in the room. Children are very centered on themselves during this time. And that can actually last until school age (and beyond in some cases, you know THOSE people) when they start to really connect with their peers. So, when your 16 month old is playing in the ball pit while many of the other kids are going down the slide, that is a perfectly normal thing for them to do.
Around age 2, children begin to engage in Parallel Play. This starts earlier for some children. I promise you that we certainly see this behavior before Level 5 classes. Parallel play is just what it sounds like; children play in the same area, near eachother, but continue to be engaged in their own activities. Each child thinks of all of the toys as "theirs." How many times have we seen this in a class? The struggle to claim Gymbo is a great example of this behavior. Children at this stage will watch and listen to eachother, but rarely play together. They're storing up the information and will eventually start to do what they see and hear other children doing. This is a great time for language development, too!
Betweens ages 2 and 3, children begin to engage in Associative Play. This is where they start to do what they see other children doing. If Jimmy puts on a fire hat, Kelly might put on a fire hat, too. As we move into imaginative play in our Level 5 classes, this is the kind of behavior you can expect to see. Children who are engaging in make believe games at home - playing with their doll as if it is a baby or cooking in the kitchen, are moving into this stage of development. And that is a good marker that they're ready for Level 5. Children are starting to interact with eachother more at this stage. They may talk, take turns, and borrow toys, but each child is still acting alone.
From the ages of 3 to 5, children begin to engage in Cooperative Play. This becomes more evident the older the child gets. As they grow, children acquire the skills to interact with eachother for the purpose of play. As their speech develops they become better able to communicate with eachother, to share ideas, and to tell eachother what to do. Communication is critical to cooperative play. This is also the time when children's personalities begin to really present themselves. Children in this age group may be ready for classes on their own at Gymboree!
All children can also revert to Solitary Play at any stage of development and that can be dictated by how they might be feeling on any given day. Let your children enjoy ALL the stages of Play and know that your teachers are here to support you through every phase of their childhood. We love your kids and we're grateful to be a part of this amazing time in your lives.
Hi, my name is Betty and my son is Alex. We started Gymboree in January and it has been our second home ever since. Alex is very active, and Gymboree provides a safe place for him to run around, climb on ladders and inclines, and explore different obstacle courses. When Alex was beginning to take his first steps, he was not confident enough to let go of our hands and walk by himself. Then one day, during an open gym at Gymboree, he was busy kicking and chasing a ball, and all the sudden I see him take off and walk across the room away from me! Alex and I both love bubble time and parachute time during classes, and Alex has gone from just sitting there and watching bubbles to actively chasing and popping the bubbles. Instead of sitting on the parachute, now he enjoys fluttering the parachute with the adults. Gymboree has been a wonderful place for Alex to discover new things and develop new skills, and we love every single minute of it!
How old was Malia when she first started coming to Gymboree?
Malia was about 9-10 months when she first started at Gymboree.
What is Malia's favorite activity at Gymboree?
Malia's favorite activity is Music class. She loves exploring the new instruments and hearing different types of music.
What is Malia's favorite Gymboree song?
She likes the closing song that Ms Jenny sings at the end of class "There's a little bell ringing in my heart".
What is your favorite Gymboree memory with Malia?
Malia doesn't climb a lot, even at home. So playing in the gym area used to be a little scary for her. But the first time that she climbed to the top on one of the structures all by herself, she was so happy. With a big smile yelled "Mommy I did it!" and I was so proud of her.
What should new parents know about Gymboree?
Gymboree is such a great place! There are so many benefits for both the parents and the children. The teachers at Gymboree are so knowledgeable and welcoming---you can tell that they really care about your child. The teachers expose the children to so many different activities and concepts that support their development, like music, movement and sensory play. It's also a great way to connect with your child in a new way. You get a chance to spend one-on-one time bonding time with your child, while supporting them through these new activities. I would absolutely recommend Gymboree to any and all new parents.