The diverse team of instructors at Key Element Learning are serious about catering to each of their students' unique interests, strengths, and needs, whether they're still in diapers or entering middle school. That's why their educational programs are so eclectic—the classes range from academic subjects such as reading and science to the more creative topics of art and cooking to ensure kids will find a class to spark their curiosity. In order to give students the best lessons possible, they also pull from popular, time-honored educational franchises such as The Language Workshop for Children, where native speakers immerse children in foreign languages through games, songs, and colorful visual aids. And Music Together instills babies, toddlers, and preschoolers with skills for singing in tune and keeping a beat, helping them build confidence at school or become the first infant drummer for U2.
Laura Saba—life coach, parenting advocate, and director of Momdoulary Method—hopes to take the stress and fear out of the birthing process by training flocks of doulas to go forth and support new parents. Doulas are nurturing childbirth concierges, helpers who provide education and coaching from prenatal times until after the bun is out of the oven and cooling in the BabyBjörn. Besides providing emotion support to their clients, practitioners who have studied Laura's Momdoulary method are well-versed in practical measures such as the mechanics of childbirth, breastfeeding, and first aid.
Like most good ideas, Gymboree Play and Music didn't begin in a business meeting?it began out of necessity. In 1976, Joan Barnes, a California mom, found herself frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time. Knowing that other parents were undoubtedly feeling the same frustration, she took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play and Music. She consulted experts to design a curriculum of activities to foster the development of children?s cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play. She hired a nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beckwith to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers. And her staff began conducting entertaining classes covering subjects ranging from music to sports to impart valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. As their children learned and socialized, parents also found benefit in meeting and befriending other moms and dads in their local area. More than 30 years later, her vision has proved to be a success: more than 712 child-centered franchises now spread over 42 countries, bringing confidence and creativity to thousands of youngsters in several continents and to one in the center of the earth.
Within the multihued walls of Kidville’s indoor playland, tykes expand their minds, network with members of their peer group, and deplete their vast energy reserves. Babies, toddlers, and kids 6 or younger delve into classes developed by Kidville’s early-childhood-development gurus. Burgeoning Beethovens can swivel their hips, flex their sing-along muscles, and edit their massive music manuscripts during one of Kidville’s music and dance classes, or enlist in one of the art classes to create a piece that captures their inner rage toward broccoli. Fun and fit gym classes let tots run, roll, and hover through gauntlets of plush blocks and spongy play mats. Clasping hands and scampering legs can also roam freely through Kidville’s sprightly indoor playspace, though all munchkins must be supervised by a parent, guardian, or trustworthy primate.
On select Friday and Saturday nights, Project Playdate opens its doors and arms to young ones for three-hour bouts of evening childcare. Designed to allow parents a night out without having to find a babysitter, the not-for-profit organization hosts drop-off evening-care pajama parties for children aged 2 to 6. In a caregiver-to-child ratio of 1:3, professional nannies lead little ones in activities such as story time, arts and crafts, and dancing, all designed for optimum tuckering out before bedtime. Each event is also punctuated by a dinner of all-natural, whole-food pizza, which accommodates specific food needs and is capped with a feature film.
This summer, Project Playdate is taking its evening care model and adding some sunshine to bring you drop off daytime playdates. These three-hour playdates might visit locations such as the Central Park Zoo, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Tribeca Children’s Museum of the Arts.
All proceeds from Project Playdate events are paid forward to fuel social change and help at-risk young mothers.
Stray Boots is an interactive tour that sets friends and family members loose on an exhilarating, knowledge-fueled undertaking guided by clues, trivia, and riddles. They operate in cities across the country, dividing them into special themed tours that contain the historical sites, local areas of interest, or eccentric child mayors unique to each city. During the explorations, clues point the way to cultural hot spots, which Stray Boots communicates via their official mobile app. At least one player on the team will need an iPhone or Android phone to receive clues, and none of the self-guided tours require previous knowledge of the city. Adventurers play at their own pace—most tours take two to three hours to finish—which allows them to spend more time learning about the city and photographing vibrant fire hydrants for aquacentric scrapbooks.