Monday, July 19, 2010

The Little Gym of Durham

C needs to burn off some energy indoors with this heat, so I decided to take The Little Gym up on their offer for 1 free class. I wanted to see how it compared with Gymboree, and to see if it was something C might be interested in while our Kindermusik was on break.

We had a really great experience. The Little Gym was very professional and friendly. They were good at establishing contact with me, making sure all my questions were answered, and welcoming us to our class. C even got free Little Gym gear just for showing up, and you all know I love free and cheap kids clothes!

Our class was well-run and a lot of fun. There were a lot of other kids in there but the place is large enough that it can handle the chaos of 15 or so little toddlers doing their own thing. We had songs, teacher-led activities, and free time to roam.

What I particularly appreciated was the curriculum basis of The Little Gym classes. Each week, the curriculum and class goals are posted on a board outside the room, so parents know what to focus on and what class objectives are. In addition, the teacher was very good and obviously a career teacher. She was interactive with the kids in a natural way, and clearly enjoyed being around them. yet she was also very good at telling us adults the purpose and goal of each section of class.

I liked how the class was structured. We had teacher-led activities to welcome us in, then stations around the room for children to explore and roll and bounce and hang. The teacher would give suggestions at the various stations for things to try, but it was nonintrusive and a good amount of time to let the kids try things out on their own. You also were free to let your child explore as they wanted the entire class. No pressure to have them sit and pay attention to the activities.

So overall, I thought the teacher and class itself better than my own personal Gymboree experience. What Gymboree has going for it that The Little Gym does not is that Gymboree has open play sessions for all members twice a week. The Little Gym requires an annual membership as well, but there is open play only once a session (a "Member Party") that is for all members of all ages. Gymboree's open play sessions are a huge benefit and great for us parents.

Of course, both Gymboree and The Little Gym are fantastic resources for our area. I say pick the one that has the location and time of class you like best.

The Little Gym offers summer camps that look like a lot of fun. They also offer movement classes for kids up to 12, including karate, dance, and gymnastics classes. Note that while younger kids are placed according to age, older kids start to be placed according to skills.

The fall schedule is published and ready for registration. A 20-week session is $355 if you pay all at once (or about $18 per class). Remember that you do have to pay a one-time annual membership fee as well. You get discounts for siblings and multiple classes. You can pay in installments but you end up paying a little more.

The Little Gym has been highly rated by parents in the area as a good place to have a birthday party. The Little Gym also occasionally offers a Parents Night Out.

The other thing I like a lot? It is right next to Local Yogurt.

The Little Gym of Durham or
2501 University Drive


At December 22, 2011 at 3:50 PM , Blogger Susan Jacques said...

Hi Moms! Just wanted to let you know that The Little Gym has added in Practice Time, which is a time when kids who are enrolled in classes can come for some extra skill-building and exploration (and play) in the gym.


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