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.
Groupon Asks: What inspired you to run this business?
"After all my years in gymnastics, what I have come to realize is that this sport is an incredible medium for teaching and learning life skills. It can help children learn responsibility, teamwork, self-discipline, tenacity, goal setting, and success principles. Regardless of the level of gymnastics the child is working, he or she has many opportunities to set goals, work hard, and achieve them, and the intrinsic rewards from this process is invaluable. At MEG we want to provide as many opportunities as possible for children to say, “I did it!” And to me, that is the greatest gift."
-Mazeika’s Elite Gymnastics Manager
The instructors of Lobo Gymnastics build a positive foundation for little ones to grow athletically, socially, and emotionally during dance classes, gymnastics, and afterschool activities. Across the enormous, bi-level gym, little leapers clamber through obstacle courses, spring across trampolines and into pits full of foam blocks, dangle from a rope swing, and whoosh down a two-level slide that resembles a giant yellow curly fry. As children and their burning desire for trophies grow, they can enter more structured tumbling and dance classes or join a gymnastics team led by former Chinese Olympic team coach Jian Hua Xiao.
Highly trained staff at Juergen’s Gymnastics Academy educate gymnasts ages 18 months and older in fundamental gymnastics skills during lessons in their 21,000-square-foot gym. Parent/tot and preschool classes focus on listening skills and basic movement for students 18 months to 4 years old, and girls’ and boys’ recreational studies for children age 5 and up progress toward fundamental gymnastic exercises such as high bars and scaling bare concrete walls. Cheerleading classes work to prepare students for squad tryouts, and tumbling trains tumblers age 10 and up in athletic trickery and Alpine summersaulting on the floor and the gym’s 40-foot-long trampoline. Four weeks of lessons can be taken at any point during the eight-week summer session and do not have to be continuous.
GymTastic! has carved out a safe space where kids can tumble, soar, and vault in a structured and encouraging environment. The goal here is to foster development through physical agility and emotional strength, and to that end the staff of nearly 15 coaches leads classes for kids of all ages in the fields of gymnastics, cheer, and tumbling. There are specialized preschool classes to foster a love of gymnastics in toddlers. There are gymnastic fundamentals for girls and boys that impart the skills of their respective sport?girls work on the vault, beam, bars, and floor while honing their skills. Boys classes focus on the six Men's Olympic gymnastic events, including parallel bars and the pommel horse. All are welcome in the cheer classes, where students study motions, chants, and cheers that can one day be screamed from the sidelines or at the theater during the climax of the latest blockbuster.
Small student-to-teacher ratios and individual attention—these are just two elements that make Gulf Gymnastics a sought-after destination for the graceful sport. Here, students as young as 3 begin building skills that boost their self-confidence, strength, and coordination, helping them whether they're turning cartwheels on the balance beam or vaulting to the front of the school cafeteria line. Students can also join competitive teams at Gulf Gymnastics, and work toward another win to match the boys team's first place at the 2011 Bryan Invitational and 2011 Juergens Invitational.