Recognized by Cincinnati Family magazine with a Best of Parenting 2011 award, Youthland Academy has been practicing a learning-by-doing philosophy for 30 years. At childcare sessions throughout the year, kids engage in age-appropriate educational programs that help preschoolers turn thought into language and middle schoolers reach their full potential. The full slate of programs are offered at nearly two-dozen locations across the Midwest and South.
When Joan Barnes founded Gymboree Play & Music in 1976, she envisioned a facility where parents and children could play together in a safe and age-appropriate environment. In the following decades, Gymboree Play & Music spread to more than 30 countries across the globe, helping youngsters from infants to 5 years old develop cognitive, physical, and social skills. The company's instructors lead classes such as Play & Learn, its flagship course, in which parents and kids move through a seven-level program filled with storytelling, play activities, and debates on the merits of sandwich crust. Talented staffers also prep youngsters for school and foster development in areas such as music, art, and sports. Throughout all classes, they make use of custom play equipment designed by acclaimed playground designer and seesaw-tamer Jay Beck.
Jelly Bean Junction specializes in tutoring programs for moldable child brains; however, they also provide daycare services for infants through kindergarteners and summer camps for school-aged children. Infant care ($215 per week) is individualized to each wobbly bairn; infants are fed, changed, and napped on their own schedule, all of which is tracked on a daily report. Toddler care ($190 per week) lets the wee ones explore and grow in a carefully planned environment, which includes mealtime, naps, and sensory-rich games. Preschool care ($160 per week) is designed for ages three to five and incorporates developmentally appropriate experiences and learning materials as well as outdoor play. Kindergarten care ($145 per week) involves nutritious snacks, computer games, and creative materials that focus on art, science, and more.
Created by busy parents as a solution to part-time childcare, Skidaddles accommodates moms and dads with a safe, secure, anytime center for kids under the age of 12. The warm, enthusiastic, and CPR- and first-aid-certified staff at both locations help turn each visit into a discovery-packed learning experience for kids, complete with special themes that allow tykes to connect to one another without having to sew their socks together. Enrichment classes such as magical music, foreign language, and artsy fartsy camouflage learning behind layers of fun and games, and age-appropriate environments ensure wee ones remain among like-minded cohorts. Additionally, each center's flexible hours—which stretch even later into the evenings on weekends—enable parents to enjoy a date night or attend a seminar to finally learn where babies come from.
Jump Zone gives children of all ages, including ones that accidentally got transformed into Tom Hanks, 14,000 square feet of safe, clean, indoor playground space that includes eight monstrous inflatable structures. Let the rambunctious rascals loose through Batman's blown-up bat cave obstacle course, or lead a natural history lesson down King Kong's 20-foot slide. Pint-sized and pint-shaped toddlers can explore the scaled-down train tunnel and jump area, or walk on stable ground in the age-appropriate interactive zone. Jump Zone even accommodates illustrious royalty figures with a Disney Princess Castle primed for reenactments of such House of Mouse classics as Beauty and the Beast, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and Goodfellas.
Kimberly Denney has dedicated her entire adult life to teaching music to kids. After receiving her BA in music education and MA in education administration, Kimberly taught music and band in public schools for 21 years. Now she teaches Kindermusik to families in Dayton and Cincinnati.
At her school, Kimberly and her team of instructors lead children from newborns to 7-year-olds in playful music classes with the goal of helping kids develop into great learners—not necessarily the next Mozart. Children sing, dance, and play age-appropriate instruments, all while developing a variety of skills in language, literacy, socialization, and problem solving, as well as improving their self-esteem. Parents and children receive Kindermusik@home materials that include a variety of activities to continue learning at home between weekly classes.