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.
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.
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.
At Brad Haynes Taekwondo & Jiu Jitsu Academy, instructors impart the discipline, swift movements, and grace of martial arts to students ranging in age from adults to toddlers. Adults learn how to defend themselves through Brazilian jujitsu or build flexibility and coordination through tae kwon do. Youth and pre-K programs instill respect and work ethic in younger students.
At age 7, Jung Oh Hwang began practicing martial arts in South Korea. As a young man he represented his home country at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, where he earned a silver medal in Judo. At Hwang's Martial Arts, Grandmaster Hwang and his staff make it their mission to promote happy and healthy lives in their community.
For the past 15 years, Grandmaster Hwang, his students, and his supporters have dedicated both time and money to supporting the lives of the HMA students and positively impacting the larger community. Hwang's has raised more than $750,000 for the local community and has a named playroom in the new St. Matthews Kosair Children's hospital.
The Nia Technique Columbus hopes to remove the trepidation of getting in shape with a supportive environment that welcomes people of all shapes, sizes, and fitness abilities. Workouts are based on the Nia technique, a sensory-based practice that follows a series of 52 movements crafted from jazz and modern-dance styles, tai chi, yoga, and tae kwon do.