A pediatric physical therapist, Marc Castelo has witnessed impact of play and therapeutic touch during his work with infants and in early child development. Recognizing that babies could benefit from massage just as much—if not more so—than adults, he created Play 2 Grow. At his child-care center, techniques such as loving touch and innovative play are a vehicle for improved growth and caregiver-child bonding. In that vein, he and program director Jenny Smith-Davids interweaves play, games, and socialization, all with an eye toward improving infants’ developmental capabilities and future cribbage skills. Parents are also welcome to take part in the learning process through “scaffolding,” during which they are active participants in family play activities.
In 1976, busy California mother Joan Barnes wanted nothing more than to find a play place where she and her kids could enjoy age-appropriate, educational activities. Finding none, she developed her own innovative play environment within a developmental-based program structure now known as Gymboree Play & Music. Today, kids tumble and learn in more than 650 locations in 33 countries around the world, engaging in open play and classes designed to build cognitive and motor skills. As parents participate in their child’s development, their child learns to paint, play music, and interact socially outside of preschool knitting circles.
Since 1961, Swim Schools International certified instructors at The Dive Shop have been determined to make the underwater world accessible to the masses. Their approach to safe and fun aquatic exploration takes several forms: scuba diving, freediving, and swim lessons. Scuba-diving classes instill fundamentals such as descending and ascending safely and breathing normally while submerged with your high-school crush. Freediving sessions ditch the oxygen tanks, instead focusing on naturally filling the lungs with air before plunging into the water. Finally, 15 levels of swim lessons take on different purposes, from imbuing beginning swimmers with safety and confidence to fine-tuning the skills of potential junior gold medalists.
The Atlanta Chef's Expo plates up a citywide taste test, showcasing local culinary artists while raising proceeds for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Throughout the event, chefs from area eateries including Baraonda, Thrive, and Clement Catering Co. sling edible specialties from one of four neighborhood-themed divisions, including Restaurant Row, the Sugar Shack, and Catering Alley, where food is delivered hot and garages are built from soup crackers. Emmy-nominated television personality Holly Firfer and food blogger Broderick Smylie dish out awards with a panel of judges, and cooking demos from such celebrity chefs as Scott Serpas and Joe Arvin reveal professional methods and tricks of the trade. The beats of DJ Joel Rabe of Lethal Rhythms Entertainment punctuate the event, adding rhythm to exploratory bites and attempts to translate satisfied "mmm"s into English.