Friday, April 9, 2010

Gymboree Forest Hills -- The Final Showdown

In the midst of all the brouhaha over my negative review of a teacher at Gymboree Play & Learn in Forest Hills, NY, I didn't get to write my final thoughts on the place after having been there for three months now and having found a couple teachers we really like. This is a review, though, that I really feel is important to publish, because, I've had somewhat of a change of heart it some areas.

The bottom line (and I bold) is that Andrew loves the Forest Hills Gymboree and I have come to love it too. After three months he has become so enamored with the songs and games that he squeals and dances around in class--and I often have to cry laughing at him! We have also made friends with the other parents and kids and they know to expect Andrew to tear the place up or stop in front of the iPod to bust a move. I really think Gymboree has had a part in making Andrew the social butterfly he is today--no more crying when other kids scream because he's the screamer now!

So, I must admit where I have been mistaken: Mary Ann O'Neill of Gymboree commented on my original review. I had said that I found fault with Gymboree's requirement of a 3-months membership before cancellation is possible, but she responded that:

          "The 3 months give parents time to see what children can actually learn by attending classes. We see so many children, children that could really use the Gymboree experience, taken out of the program because they were not performing up to parent's expectations by week four! It broke our hearts. Just like us, our children need time to feel comfortable."

I must admit that Mary Ann was right. It really did take time for Andrew to acclimate to the classes before he really started enjoying it. I am glad we were required to stay at least 3 months... even though contracts can tend to make me bristle!

As for my second review of the Forest Hills Gymboree--where I was upset with one of our teachers, Miss. Gaby, because of her disorganized teaching style and (blush) thick accent--I must defer to Mary Ann from Gymboree's comment again:

          "Oh my gosh, Gaby is such a dedicated, energetic, and loving teacher, and gives her all to her classes each and every week. Her classes are full of energy and challenging, fun activities. (They must be fast paced to keep the attention of 1 year olds).Yes, she does have an accent similar to Sofia Vergara on Modern Family, but once accustomed to it, you can understand her clearly. Most importantly, her students really, really love her.

          At Gymboree, we try to have a variety of teachers all with different, winning personalities, because we know 
our parents and children are all different too. Each family will pick a teacher that fits best with their child. So even though the curriculum is the same, each class will have a different flavor added by the wonderful, fun personalities of our teachers! 

          It's up to you to find the flavor you and your child like the best. That's when Gymboree becomes a place of learning, joy, and making friends, sort of like a second loving home to your child. Gymboree is so much more than just a playground. Find the right teacher, then just give it a few more weeks to see the magic unfold before your eyes!"

It was not so much her accent that really bothered me although I chose to mention it because it did affect our class experience and I wanted to write an honest review. I mean, who doesn't love Sophia Vergara? Also, if you heard my dad talk, you would understand that I've grown up with accents all my life. Really, it was the disorganization, speediness of the activities, and general feeling that Andrew was not enjoying his time with this particular teacher that got my proverbial goat.

Since we switched classes, though, we have found two amazing teachers: Miss Kristi and Miss Natalia. Both teachers are really great--Miss Kristi is high-energy and Andrew crushes on her and loves to follower her around and Miss Natalia is so sweet or more soft-spoken, but still a lot of fun. I have never felt rushed from one activity to the next--both Miss Kristi and Miss Natalia let the children linger at an activity if they like but always encourage them to try each new task.

This is not to say that maybe if I had given Miss Gaby another chance, I might not have had a change of heart about her too. But, we were really happy with Miss Kristi and Miss Natalia and, unfortunately, we just don't have time to take another class with Miss Gaby before we move. Like Mary Ann said, though, "it is up to you to find the flavor that you and your child like best." Our flavor happens to be Miss Kristi with a side of Miss Natalia. Maybe you'll think differently, but I'd like to give you my opinion all the same.

So, if you've got the time and extra cash sitting around, do try out Gymboree in Forest Hills! Try it for three months and you might fall in love just like we did. We're actually so in love we're going to look into signing up at the Gymboree in Nanuet, NY when we move (its $40 cheaper! $69/month!) With what we know now about shopping around for teachers and giving it a couple months for the class to become a comfortable place for Andrew, I have a feeling we won't be dissapointed (a review of Gymboree Nanuet to come of course! Haha!)


Post a Comment