06-26-2007, 10:42 AM
Has anyone been to the Gymboree Music or Play Class for the 6-16 month group. I am trying to decide between the two.
08-21-2007, 04:14 PM
DS was in both classes from about 13 months through 3 years (at which time I dropped the play class because he was starting preschool). He's still in music class.
What can I answer for you?
08-26-2007, 11:26 PM
Hello "Experienced" Gymboree Mama:
The only Gymboree Experience I have is keeping their retail stores in business in my area. Other than that, I called on two separate occasions...probably 2 years apart for each daughter...to inquire about which programs they offered, and to see if I could use my Gymbucks or the free 1st class pass to try it out.
Quite honestly, I never followed through either time because: 1)the fee structure sounded terribly confusing 2)fees seemed quite costly...almost like the mega-gym corporations' monthly contractual memberships, and 3)the schedules of classes were very confusing in the days and times (or lack thereof) available. I know these are franchises, so different owners will operate them differently, but I would've expected more consistency in the information relayed...so that I wouldn't have to spend 20+ mins. on the phone at the busy center just to get simple membership/fees questions answered.
Is there a way to enjoy the occasional (1/week or less) for both of my daughters that's not terribly cost prohibitive? I.e., any times of the year when they have unadvertised specials? I need all the extra $$$ I can get to blow my cash on the clothes! :) Thanks for your feedback and time!
08-27-2007, 12:22 AM
Ok, let's see if I can help you out a bit.
First, no you can't use Gymbucks at the Music & Play classes (at least as far as I'm aware); I believe this is because the clothing stores are corporate owned and as you know the Play stores are franchised. However, it used to be that at the end of every session if you pre-registered for the next session you would get Gymbucks! My DS wardrobe has been heavily weighted in Gymboree clothes as a result. :D
As for the fee structure: When I started they basically had 4 sessions per year (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall), with Winter, Spring and Fall being 14 weeks and Summer being 10 Weeks and closed for 2 weeks around Christmas. The fee for the session seems hefty at first, but it works out to about $12 per class (for the 1x week option). Art class is a bit more because of the supplies they use. And of course cost probably varies a bit by owner/region. Recently my Gymboree went to a monthly plan, where, you're right, it is a bit like a gym membership situation. I'm not sure if this was a corporate thing or just our owner's decision. Either way there is a discount after the first child...I think it's like 20% less for child #2 (they don't have to be in the same class). Also there's a discount for more than 1 class. In other words, signing up for play class 1x week AND music class at 1x week is not twice as much because there's that 20% (or whatever it is) discount for the second class.
There is also the unlimited option, where you can come to as many age appropriate play classes (music and art are still seperate) for a higher monthly or session rate. I never went with this option and it doesn't sound like that's what you want.
Mine, (and I'm sure they all do), has a generous make-up policy including being able to come to the open play session. Mine has an open play session of about 3 hours once a week. This can be used for a make-up, is included in the unlimited option, or you can pay per time to go. Mine allows non-members to come for open play for a few $ more than members. It's been a long time since I've gone to open play, but it was somewhere between $5-$8 for members. Maybe if you're looking for just the occassional visit this could work for you.
No unadvertised specials...except the Gymbuck thing already mentioned, but I'm not even sure they're doing that anymore (at least mine since I haven't seen any since they went to the monthly thing).
Any of them should definitely let you do a free preview class, with or without a coupon. Mine will let you do a preview for each type of class (play, music, art).
The classes themselves are pretty well run, IMO, although I think this is really where the individual owner and even the teacher makes a big difference.
In play class they do age-appropriate circle-time activities then time on the equipment, then more age-appropriate circle-time stuff. The exact activies and layout varies by the age level and usually the equipment and routine is changed every 2 weeks (so they're not always doing exactly the same thing).
In music class there is no playing on the equipment, it is all circle-time singing songs, dancing, finger play, and using different instruments. Again, it is age appropriate so in Music 1 there are lap rides, and in Music 3 there is much more dancing. They stay with the same style of music (country, broadway, folk, etc.) for 3 weeks but there is still some variation each week; so maybe you're singing the same song but with a different instrument or there's slight difference in the songlist each of the 3 weeks.
As for the schedule, that of course is completely up to the owner. Our schedule is laid out where you should find your level of class and then read across for the times that class is offered, but perhaps the way your local owner does the schedule makes it more confusing to read.
DS really enjoys going and even when he was a baby it seemed like he liked it. I will tell you that it may take awhile for your DC to get used to it...just because they don't do everything they're supposed to doesn't mean some of the songs, etc. aren't sinking in...they are, but it does take some repetition before you may start noticing them following along (or doing the stuff at home).
Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.
08-27-2007, 10:10 AM
Thanks so much, Julie. That was incredibly helpful, and I appreciate all your time!
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