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 children's development, their kids learn to paint, play music, and interact socially outside of their preschool knitting circles.
John Nilsson and April Rodriguez opened Premiere Dance Studio in order to create a community for dancers of all levels, budgets, and schedules to come together. They teach classes in a broad spectrum of styles such as swing, both International Standard and American Smooth waltz and tango, and social dances such as west coast swing. To encourage students to test out their new moves, they host dance parties and other events, as well as offering private lessons for couples brushing up for a wedding.
The pilots at Sun Aero Helicopters Inc. have been training pupils in the autogiro arts and transporting clients through the skies since 1991. Inside their base at Lansing Municipal Airport, aviators maintain a 12,000-square-foot hangar area and 3,000 square feet of training offices and high-speed computerized flight-planning facilities. Expert pilots impart their knowledge to up-and-coming FBI agents, police officers, emergency medical technicians, and leisure pilots during one-on-one training sessions in Robinson and Bell copters. Pilots also give landlubbers a skyscraper's view of Chicago's landmarks, such as US Cellular Field, the John Hancock building, and the Sears/Willis Tower. When they aren't transporting rally drivers, golfers, and famous wiffle ball players with private charter services, Sun Aero serves national media companies with aerial photography and land surveys.
The tutors at Lynwood Educational Services Center stick to a set of core beliefs: that education is most possible in an atmosphere of trust and respect, and that an optimistic outlook helps students meet their highest expectations. With this positive attitude in mind, the instructors aid students from third grade through adulthood, imparting their knowledge through one-on-one and small-group sessions. The center chooses its staff from a qualified pool of honor students and licensed teachers.
Whether clients intend to step into the ring or not, the teachers at Active Edge Lifestyle & Fitness Center have the tools to get them ready to fight. The gym contains a regulation boxing ring and martial arts mats to simulate competitive contests. Elsewhere students can simply pound away on heavy bags or punching dummies, letting off stress while shedding fat. Apart from martial arts training classes, the instructors also host noncombative fitness classes, such as Zumba.
At FieldCrest School of Performing Arts, students ascend through three levels of stardom—I'm a Star (for toddlers through preteens), Fashion Plate (for toddlers through preteens), and Camera Ready (for teens)—through bundles of acting, modeling, and dance classes that build a solid foundation of arts education. Acting classes build upon pantomime and improv before moving into performance and technique, and modeling sessions teach students how to prowl and pose like a pro on the catwalk. Ballet, jazz, tap, and hip-hop lessons give pupils the grace and moves they need to perform classical and contemporary routines.
Since its founding in 1977, FieldCrest has cultivated a motivational environment that encourages self-expression and poise. Besides arts classes, it also offers etiquette courses that can convert even the most slovenly kids and adults into Miss Manners devotees.