When my daughter was 9 months old, I wanted to put her in a baby gym class to encourage her to crawl, cruise and interact more bravely with other children.
When we passed by Gymboree harborfront one afternoon, we were impressed by the gym setup and facilities for baby/toddler, so we signed up for the membership - $50 annually which allows us to use the playgym at a special rate of $12 per hour, gives us 1 free trial class for Play & Learn (you can also choose music & sport trial class for older kids), 2 free overseas classes at any Gymboree franchise, + a free T-shirt. After signing up, we spent a fun family afternoon with baby at the playgym, and I booked my first trial class for level 2 play & learn - suitable for babies between 6-10 months old.
After a first trial, although my baby had lots of fun singing, playing and watching other babies, I was not convinced to sign up for another 12 classes at $450. It could be because I felt the teacher was just teaching by rote or I just didn't see my child learning or improving on the skills I had initially intended for her to develop. With an unsettled mind, I surfed the Internet to explore my options and stumbled upon another babygym franchise The Little Gym.
The Little Gym had just opened a new centre at Marina Square. It was easy for me to get there via the new circle line, so I went down, enquired about classes and booked a trial class. The trial class costs $45, but would be waived if subsequently you signed up for a package of 12 classes.
Compared to Gymboree, the classes at The Little Gym were slightly more expensive ($10-20) per class than the Gymboree ones. The teacher at The Little Gym was definitely more knowledgeable, given the babies were expected to attempt certain gymnastic moves such as forward roll, and baby version of high bar turning. Lots of emphasis on movement and exercise as well as discovery through physical development. It was a fun session but there were too many children in the class (almost 8), and I felt the class was too physical for my baby as she was so tired 35minutes into the class, she started wailing for me to feed her milk just before the goodbye sing along. I think this class would be better for my baby when she's at least one years old. I was also not comfortable for my baby to do forward roll etc before she's 12months old, hence I decided to KIV, and I went back to Gymboree again, requesting this time to try a level 3 Play & Learn class - meant for babies 10-18months.
This time I found the winning formula. This level 3 class I tried had older kids who were already walking, and that really encouraged my baby to want to do the same. There was singing and dancing and my baby's favorite bubbles but there was also focus on trying to complete the physical obstacle course - lots of opportunity to crawl, climb, balance etc. There were also activities that encouraged walking while pushing a boulder - I could see my baby challenging herself to try new things as she watched and tried to mimic the other older toddlers. The teacher was engaging and also more experienced and of course there were other friendly parents too which made class sharing more enjoyable. So I signed up for 12 classes.
For those with 10-18months old baby who's interested to join the same class as my baby, we go to Gymboree Harborfront every Wed morning 11am class. Recommended to get a membership at $50 first then do a trial class before deciding if you want to sign up for 12 classes.