When we first moved here in Vietnam with a 10-month old, I wasn’t sure how to entertain him before he starts going to school. So we tried all the possible playgroups around, including Gymboree. Now, that 10-month old is a 7 year old curious not-so-little boy.
Fast forward to my second son — a funny, mischievous 4 year old critter who can’t seem to sit down to do one single task. I was kinda worried he’d give Teacher Marlyn of Gybmoree’s School Skills class in Crescent Mall a hard time. Since Rafa is of school age, the School Skills class perfectly complements what he has learned so far in pre-school.
School Skills is a 2-hour class for ages 3 to 5 years and advocates independent learning. Some of their activities include –
- circle time for storytelling, movement, and games;
- art & science for interactive art activities and discovery labs; and
- active play.
There’s also a break time so kids can recharge and snacks are included in the School Skills program.
So yesterday, we arrived early to help Rafa get into the groove of things before going to class. There was an area where kids could play while waiting for class and an area where parents and caregivers can sit down and watch the kids in a safe distance.
I chatted a bit with Teacher Marlyn while we waited for class to begin. She’s Filipino and has been with Gymboree for 7 years! What dedication! I can’t imagine working with pre-school kids that long with different personalities and eccentricities for just a few short weeks or months. I mean it’s difficult to start and restart relationships with children, but I guess Teacher Marlyn is one of the gifted ones! She joined Gymboree in its first location in Somerset and moved to The Crescent Mall just a couple of years ago. Gymboree Crescent opened in 2013.
Gymboree can be found in 70 countries and in 700 locations. And there are membership packages which one can avail of and are honored in any Gymboree in the world. I also found out that the teachers in Gymboree are given a refresher twice a month so that all are up to speed with new learning practices and innovations that would benefit the Gymboree kids. So that the kids get much from the experience, a class can only have a maximum of 10 kids.
Aside from the School Skills program, there are 4 other basic programs that Gymboree offers:
Play & Learn (newborn to 5 years) – focus is on nurturing development milestones through age appropriate activities, as well as, social & intellectual skills building activities, using Gymboree’s proprietary play equipment.
Music (6 months to 5 years) – focus is on nurturing the ability to appreciate and enjoy music through singing, playing instruments, and movement activities.
Art (18 months to 5 years) – focus is on nurturing creativity and confidence in self- expression, enhancing the imaginative spirit of the children.
Sports (3 to 5 years) – focus is on team-building through fitness- inspired activities like soccer, basketball, and track & field, among others.
Unlike the School Skills, these basic programs require a child-parent tandem. This ensures that the kids are able to participate well with a parent assisting. It’s also a perfect opportunity for parents to learn activities and skills that they could continue long after they’ve left Gymboree. Not to mention, that the parents get a workout running after their toddlers around the gym.
While Rafa was in class, my older son and I hit the shops for our weekly date. I was half-expecting Teacher Marlyn to call to report an incident with Rafa but it never happened. Before the two hours was up, we headed back to watch the tail end of Rafa’s class. We caught him eating his snack, attentively joining the activities, and having fun at the gym. He came out of the class with a big smile on his face and declaring he wants to come back.
Gymboree is open 7 days a week and I highly recommend you join a trial class just to make sure which will interest your child. They also have summer packages with huge promotion for weekday classes. Just choose from their locations and make that call:
Somerset Chancellor Court
1st Floor, 21-33 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai St.,
District 1, HCMC
+84 8 3827 7008
The Crescent Mall
Plot 25, 4th Floor, 101 Ton Dat Tien,
District 7, HCMC
+84 8 5413 8198