Brusque commands and sharp criticism never cross the lips of Peninsula Fencing Academy’s head coaches Jay and Chris. They believe that encouragement is always a more effective way to drive students toward their competitive goals. That’s why the entire coaching staff practices positive reinforcement in youth and adult fencing classes for all skill levels. This approach helps coaches teach everything from fundamental footwork and blade work to competitive maneuvers as their students find extra support in peers through bonds of camaraderie and sportsmanship.
The instructors at Bel-Air International have been training pilots for the last two decades—a stretch unblemished by a single accident. Located at San Carlos Airport, the FAA-approved flight school operates a gaggle of single- and multi-engine aircraft as well as a flight simulator, which students can put to use seven days a week in their quest for licenses and ratings certificates. More casual fliers, meanwhile, can arrive at the 35,000-square-foot facility for introductory discovery flights and aerial tours over notable Bay Area landmarks.
Lascaux Academy (art and language school) was founded by award-winning cartoonist and book author Gemma Li (with B.A. in Art Practice and Chinese Language) in 2005. It's a one-stop art school that provides all types of art class, art camp,Chinese language class and party for kids and adults.
Though they come from different backgrounds, the three chefs behind Kids Culinary Adventures have all seen the positive impact that cooking has on children. Chef Brian Allen honed his cooking technique at California Culinary Academy's Le Cordon Bleu Hospitality Management program, but he's been comfortable in the kitchen since childhood, when he would cook and bake with his father, mother, and grandfather. Chef Danielle Nunes also grew up in the kitchen, learning many of her grandmother's secret family recipes and discovering her passion for multicultural dishes. Pastry chef Caitlin Allen fine-tuned her baking skills at Walt Disney World's Yacht and Beach Bakery. Now, they coordinate private cooking classes, camps, and themed culinary-focused birthday parties for children of all ages.
Many of their programs combine the culinary arts with lessons in math, reading, science, and visual arts. During private custom cooking classes, they work with individuals and groups to coordinate custom menus based on Italian, Mexican, or Asian recipes. Calibrated for kids as young as 3 years, their classes encourage proper nutrition and creative meal preparation, and teach kitchen cleanliness with visual aids such as "kitchen cooties," a culinary toolbox, and teddy bears carved out of soap. In multi-day camps, chefs teach academics and professional skills that help children execute DIY culinary tasks such as building a themed holiday menu, baking and decorating a cake, or mastering tools such as grills or woks.
SportZal's corrective fitness experts prime physiques for a slip-free season of soaring down slopes with their snow-sports preseason conditioning boot camp, which has readied skiing staff members at both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows snow-sports schools. A body assessment and consultation first generates a custom program around athletes' goals. Up to eight students then augment mountaineering muscles with strength training, and flexibility drills teach arms to simultaneously steer and knit a sweater with ski poles. Training stages follow precedents set by the US Ski Team, boosting base strength before asking students to work at maximum power, and then easing into agility exercises. Limbs also unfurl into healing yoga poses to avoid such snowboarding strains as aching knees and back pain prompted by hugging yetis.
Shipman Swim School's recipe for a happily paddling child involves positivity, personal attention, and a couple of polar bears. The bears are part of a mural on the deck wall, frolicking with playful otters in a frothy sea. Combined with the soothing 92-degree heat of the indoor pool, the cheerful creatures encapsulate founder Stacy Shipman's commitment to creating a welcoming learning environment for students of all swimming backgrounds. The former competitive swimmer stresses safety and encouragement in her curriculum, imparting confidence to kids who might have previously avoided the deep end.
The school's instructors—all of whom are CPR- and first-aid-certified—lead students through a program that builds skills comfortably and gradually. During stage-1 group classes, instructors first acquaint kids with the water through face-immersion exercises, rather than challenging them to shake hands with their own reflections. As pupils progress through stages 2, 3, and 4, they learn kicks, gliding techniques, and strokes ranging from the basic freestyle to the butterfly. The teacher-to-student ratio never dips below 3:1––and most classes are made up of three students and two instructors––ensuring that each swimmer receives individual guidance. The staff also leads private lessons and Parent and Me sessions, which engage toddlers as young as six months in safe games, songs, and movements.
Saltwater runs through the veins of the passionate instructors at Spinnaker Sailing. Attuned to the winds and waves of the San Francisco Bay, they've taught aspiring sailors how to navigate the waters with lessons that emphasize both skill and safety. The team also maintains an affiliation with the American Sailing Association, upholding high training standards as they show all levels of sailors, including kids, how to captain watercraft from keelboats to coastal cruisers.
In addition to helping sailors obtain ASA certifications, Spinnaker Sailing oversees a sailing club, as well as coordinate local charters, skippered cruises, and sailing vacations to storied destinations such as Tahiti and Valhalla. The fleet, which includes 22- to 40-foot yachts, launches into the waters of San Francisco bay from Redwood City Marina.