Gymboree vs Kindermusik Part 2

15 Jul

So, as promised, in part 2 of this post, I would be giving a more detailed comparison of Gymboree and Kindermusik.

As I stated in Gymboree vs Kindermusik Part 1, my son enrolled in 4 week’s worth of toddler classes at Gymboree, and then we tried out a free toddler music class at Kindermusik

Inigo at the Gymboree Shang

From these experiences, as well as from online research and what I have heard and discussed with other moms in these class, I came up with the following comparisons:

Cost of Tuition

Gymboree requires that you pay a membership fee first before enrolling in any of their core classes.  Here in the Philippines, an annual Gymboree membership is P1800, while a lifetime membership (from enrolment until your kid turns 6—since Gymboree is only for infants until 5) costs 3600.  An annual membership comes with 5 Gymplay coupons, so that your kid can play in their tumble gym for free on the days when there are no classes.  A lifetime membership gets 10 Gymplay coupons.  You can also sign up for more than 4 weeks of classes.  In fact, the cost of tuition per class becomes cheaper when you enrol for longer terms.  For example, an 8-week term only costs 8, 600.

Enrolment in a core class costs P3400, which gets you and your kid four classes held once a week.  You can actually enrol your kid in more than one class at a time, but I don’t know how much it costs since I did not inquire.  Given my schedule, once a week is plenty for me and Inigo.

You can choose from different toddler classes, such as Music, Art, or Global Music.  Their signature class though, is Play and Learn, which is what Inigo and I signed up for.  The good thing about Gymboree is that your kids can enjoy unlimited Gymplay on the days when your kid is scheduled to have class, as long as there are no other classes scheduled on the play area.  Class schedules differ from branch to branch.  If you are not really sure which class your kid would prefer, you can ask to avail of a trail class.  You need to pay a preview fee of P500 to do this, but should you decide to enrol your kid after trying out a class, the P500 is deductible from the tuition.

On the other hand, Kindermusik classes are somewhat less expensive since you no longer have to pay any membership fees.  They say that the cost of Kindermusik classes vary from one branch to another but I wouldn’t know since I only inquired at the Congressional Avenue branch, which is closest to where we live.  A 15-week course of music classes costs P9, 600+, and they do have very flexible instalment options.  Unlike Gymboree, you can have as many free trial classes as you want before deciding to enrol, just to make sure that the Kindermusik program is right for your child.

They also have take-home materials for your kid such as CDs and other stuff, especially during the start of the course.  The trial class Inigo and I attended was actually the third one, so I was not sure what materials were given to the rest of the class.

Mode of Teaching

Kindermusik is actually a good approach to early learning.  In the class, the teacher used songs to teach various concepts like colors, sounds, and actions.  Teacher Christine had a good voice, and she was able to sing songs that incorporated various activities such as dancing with Mommy, using the toys, and following activities.

Mostly, the class involved sitting down activities such as singing songs and performing actions to the lyrics, exploring different things that you can do with the small toys like shakers and wooden pegs, and storytelling.  Teacher Christine also teaches sign language one gesture at a time, so that both the kids and their mommies learn a few as they go along.  For that particular class, I learned how to sign “STOP”, a concept which, unfortunately, I have yet to teach Inigo to obey.

I couldn’t really tell which activities are routine and which ones are varied from one class to another, since we only attended one session.  We were actually invited to come in on another class the following week, to be held by Teacher Suzette this time.  However, seeing how Inigo felt restless during class, I opted not to go.  As far as I can see, Inigo was not yet at that stage where he could appreciate such a class.  As a very active boy, it was frustrating for him to be asked to sit and sing for minutes at a time.

On the other hand, Gymboree is more of Inigo’s thing.  The toddler class we enrolled for seemed to bring out the best in both of us.  Instead of me always trying to stop him from exploring and climbing on things, it was a nice change of pace to be able to encourage him to go up on this ladder and slide down that way.

Each class begins with a song where kids and moms perform actions, similar to Kindermusik.  After this though, the next thirty minutes involves physical activities using the GymPlay set-up.  For example, Teacher Nina would roll out an entire bunch of small balls down the wedge and let the kids catch them as they roll.  Later on, she would direct them to pick up the balls and pack them away.  This particular activity helped me a lot, since Inigo learned that things must be kept after use.

There are also sit-down activities like more songs and parachute time.  Predictably, Inigo tries to run away during these activities and I let him, every once in a while.  His favourite though, is bubble time.  Teacher Nina sings and blows bubbles, encouraging the kids to pop the bubbles.  As she reminds us each time, this exercise improves hand-eye coordination.

Final word

Regardless of whether you choose to go with Gymboree or Kindermusik, I just would like to say a few words on the subject of toddler classes.  First, just make sure that your kid has a good time and truly enjoys being in the class.  Forcing him to stay when he does not want to defeats the purpose of enhancing his development.

Second, I strongly advocate joining your own kid in the class, instead of just letting him go with yaya.  These classes are great opportunities for bonding and spending time with your kids, and it is such a waste to let them experience it with someone who is not in the family.  If Mommy cannot do it, maybe Daddy could, or even Lolo, Lola, or Tita.  For my part, I have learned much from attending Gymboree in terms of how to communicate with my son, as well as how to approach his learning needs.


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