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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gymboree Play And Music In Glen Ellyn

(Cross-posted from Slow Down, Gym Shoe!)

Type of place: Music, art and movement classes for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

Location: Glen Ellyn and Geneva.

Cost: $65.00 per month

Secret: If you sign up for one class, you also can attend free classes at other times!

Appropriate ages: Infants through about age five.

Pufferfish and I have been going to Gymboree for a few weeks now. I started taking her there because I felt like she needed to be in some sort of weekly class to start getting used to the concept, because this coming fall she is hopefully going to start three-year-old preschool!

We first tried out the Play And Learn class,which is all about climbing around on the special mats and equipment while also following teacher directions and using imagination. For instance, the day we sampled it, the theme was camping, so the kids had to gather wood (balls) to make a fire, and go on a "hike" around the equipment, and stuff like that. I thought for sure I would sign Pufferfish up for that one, but I also decided to try out the Music class. I ended up loving that one! Well, I mean, I love the way Pufferfish interacts in that class. The kids get to play lots of musical instruments and do little kid dances and rhymes. He first time we went, Pufferfish was very shy and stuck to my leg, but I could still tell that she liked the songs and the musical instruments. And now, every time we go, she opens up a little more!

Its crazy because there are certain parts of the class that she always refuses to participate in. For instance, if we have to dance, she usually wants me to hold her and she doesn't want to dance. But then afterwards, we'll be at home and she'll start singing the songs and asking me to show her the dances! And there's one part of the class where the teacher talks about crescendo and decrescendo, and the kids have to play their bells or maracas soft soft soft louder LOUD LOUD LOUD!!! Every week, the teacher asks the kids if they remember what it is called. There is one little girl who sometimes says the word, but most of the other toddlers still don't, including Pufferfish. Anyway, today in the car on the way home Pufferfish suddenly started yelling, "Crescendo! Crescendo!" And when we got home we practiced doing a crescendo by poundiing on the kitchen table! I figure by the time Pufferfish gets to first grade, she'll be the only kid in the class who already knows what crescendo and decrescendo mean!

It is kind of hard to take pictures of Pufferfish in Gymboree because she is generally on top of me, but I manged to snap a few to show you.

The class usually starts and ends with the kids banging on this big drum!


One of Pufferfish's favorite times is when Miss Kim drags out the big box of musical instruments, and the kids get to choose whatever they want and just jam! Pufferfish looks a little somber here, because I had just been trying to explain to her that she had to back up a few steps in order for me to take a picture!


She also likes painting the walls to the rhythm of rock music!


Here she is, caught dancing in an unguarded moment!


She also loves it when the teacher reads (or, sings, rather) a story to the kids!


Towards the end, Miss Kim pulls out the bubbles and the kids get to catch them and pop them! They're weird bubbles because they don't pop right away when you touch them, so you can actually catch them and hold them!


At the very end, all the kids line up to get stamps on their hands,,,


... or wherever else they want them!


Another nice part of this class is that, afterwards, Pufferfish and the other kids can play for fifteen minutes or so in the play and learn part! Pufferfish definitely loves getting her energy out there!

Here is Pufferfish "surfing." One of the teachers complimented her on her sense of balance today!



As we were leaving, today, Pufferfish asked me at least three times, "Can we come back here next week?"And of course, I told her, YES!


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