After The Little Gym and Gymnademics, the next baby gym we tried was Gymboree and can I say upfront that I was not impressed at all.
The class started with some stretching which the teacher demonstrated using a large gymbo doll, which I thought was a good idea compared to the previous 2 gyms where the teacher “borrowed” a child to demonstrate and often the child would cry because of stranger anxiety. However the con to this is that doll is after all quite different from a baby and its hard to see where are we supposed to hold the baby’s hands for example since the doll didn’t really have wrists, elbows etc. After that some balls were thrown out and a song was sang while the balls were rolled to each other randomly. This is apparently for visual stimulation. Throughout all these the teacher sang a song with every action but her singing wasn’t very loud/strong/nice or in perfect pitch. I didn’t feel like joining along and the children didn’t seem to be even paying any attention to the singing. This is in contrast to The Little Gym where the teacher’s singing was loud and strong and fully captured everyone’s attention. The instructions were also weak and not given in a charismatic way.
The next program was a complete waste of time being a sharing session where everyone is supposed to share who takes care of their baby while parents are at work. And every answer is “helper” with one “in laws”. The teacher then shared that her children are in the Philippines taken care of by her family while she works here alone.
After this is a series of activities using their equipment. The first is to entice them to crawl up a slope. Sophia can’t even crawl on flat ground yet, how is making her try to crawl up a slope going to help?? She was given sheepskin to lay under her so she can be dragged up. Again, how is this helpful? Then the next activity was to entice them to climb up steps! Hello, this girl can’t even crawl, does anyone get it? Then the babies were placed one by one into parachutes which were lifted and swayed around to the tune of row row row your boat. This Sophia can do but I don’t see how its helpful. If this helps stimulate babies’ brains then babies who sleep in yao lans must be very smart. Yes, I’m dripping with sarcasm because by this point I’m really unimpressed.
Subsequently there were some singing and dancing then the teacher kept blowing bubbles at the babies and in between trying to fit in some song. Hello, don’t they know there’s something called bubble gun? Anyway i wasn’t too keen on Sophia crawling around on mats that had so much bubble fluid on it because the manual blowing of bubbles is so inefficient more bubble fluid ends up dripping on the floor or being splashed onto the babies than being transformed into bubbles.
All in all not a wonderful experience. Sophia was crying a lot and not enjoying herself at all. The teacher also had a really strong accent which was really a put off because I strongly believe that between 0 to about 7 is the golden age for picking up language by imitation and I have a duty to provide as good an environment as I can for picking up the correct pronunciation and grammar.
I was given a call after the lesson and I gave my honest feedback. I felt that the lady I spoke to seemed to be trying to attribute most of the blame to the fact that I didn’t go for the play and learn level 1 which “prepares” the babies for level 2. And that is why my baby didn’t have the requisite skills like crawling to enable her to enjoy the session. She also tried to explain that the teacher was new and this was her first solo class, before this she was understudying other experienced teachers. The caller encouraged me to make use of the GSS promotion whereby I pay $50 for membership and I will get 2 free classes. Meaning since I paid $40 for the trial class, I only need to pay $10 for one more class which I can take to try out. However, I called up the very next day to say I would like to do that and was only informed now that this only applied if I decided on the day of the trial. Well, shouldn’t they have told me that before then? The call ended with the lady offering to check whether they can make an exception for me to enjoy the GSS promotion.
Overall not impressed and unless they call back to say they will allow the $10 top up and I have a very good experience with the classadditional free class, I will not be sending Sophia there anymore.
Update: No call back from Gymboree.