In the continued search for toddler classes, Izzy and I visited and tried out My Gym in Crofton. We signed up for their Gymsters class (23 mo – 2 1/2 yrs). I was looking forward to the class since the Gymboree trial went so well. The gym was located in a shopping/business center and was a bit confusing to find at first. However, that was just because it was located in the back portion of the structure. We made it just in time.
The class was structured pretty much the same as the other toddler classes we have attended: Circle time with a welcome song and stretch, some games on the structures, bubbles, then more circle time games. Izzy is not too keen on circle time yet, especially when she sees fun play structures. This time was not any different. She wanted to bounce on the trampoline or play in the ball pit. That was understandable since this was a new place. However, this place was different in that they want the children to participate in circle time. Circle time was about a full 5 minutes of stretching, warming up, and songs. Izzy wasn’t too happy to hold still for that long so she kept darting back and forth to the play areas. This resulted in one of the group leaders (there were 2) trying to convince her to join. It wasn’t happening. I was just trying to go with the flow…she is two, after all…but they were pretty determined to get her to do the circle activities. It was starting to annoy me a bit because it was pretty obvious that today wasn’t a day she wanted to try it. She’s kind of shy and I’ve noticed that it makes her uncomfortable to do the circle time activities. This was probably the only negative comment I have about the class. Trying to get a toddler to do as you say is kind of like herding cats and I feel like you can’t force them to do what makes them uncomfortable. Oh, well.
As I mentioned earlier, they had a ball pit and trampoline. These were Izzy’s favorite play areas. During the class they broke out some push cars and played “car wash”, put up some swings, and had a small car they let the children ride on and “crashed” into some foam bricks. Izzy loved all these activities and had a blast. She even gave a swing a shot (it was one she had to stand and balance on). She did great during this portion of the class.
The closing activity was more circle time. Once again there was more trying to force her to the activity. I finally got her to sit down but it wasn’t without a meltdown or climbing up into my lap with a ton of clinging to me. She enjoyed watching “Duck, Duck, Goose” but wasn’t having it when it was her turn to play. She like one of the songs, “Hickory, Dickory, Dock,” but that was only because they used puppets. They really did try to get her to join in on dancing but her shyness came out and she didn’t want to do anything but crawl into my arms. I wasn’t surprised, neither worried, because it was a new place and she takes a while to warm up to people. I give the staff an A for effort in trying to include her in the activities.
When it was time to go, Izzy about had a meltdown because she wanted to jump and play with the balls. Surprise, surprise. Luckily I was able to convince her to come out and she left the play area without a fit.
The class was a good experience, though I’m kind of glad we chose Gymboree in the end. My a Gym charges $77 for monthly membership with a $75 initial membership fee (it was $50 on trial day). You do get all the open gym you want but it was only during 3 times in the week. The prices were a bit steep for me, honestly, for what you’d get compared to Gymboree (not to mention Gymboree was cheaper). Plus, I kind of liked that Gymboree has a philosophy with their classes that it’s okay if the child wants to play on a structure. Sometimes they need to let off steam that way. My Gym just seemed to want to keep the child on curriculum, something that I’d understand with a 3 year old class but not so much a 2 year old one. 2 year olds are still working on their comprehension when it comes to asking them to do something. Still, the instructors were super nice and energetic, which is a plus when it comes to working with children.
My Gym was a nice facility just not for us. It may be something we’ll look into when she’s older since they offer classes for ages 6+. I think then she’ll actually do well with classes that require children to follow along 100%.