Showing posts with label Gymboree.
Showing posts with label Gymboree.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ok, one more post about Gymboree Forest Hills (and then I'm done!)

Alright, I've had a bit of time to cool down since yesterday's aggressive commenter debacle (see ). And even if the mama bear in me is still bristling at the idea of my son being possibly put in a not-so-nice position by a blog-reader, my consience tells me I must apologize if my review of Gymboree Forest Hills teacher Miss Gaby offended anybody--especially her.

Like so many other bloggers, I write my honest opinions on this website so that other parents might be helped by them as they navigate the super-saturated baby/kid marketplace. We all have different likes and dislikes and the right to express them freely. I, however, did not aim to hurt anybody's feelings in the process.

I do stand by my original review, however, and welcome any other comments that contradict it or confirm it as I value your opinions and use them to help me make my own choices regarding products and services for myself and my family. I simply hope that any comments will be made in good spirit (such as those made by Gymboree staff member Mary Ann O'Neill--her comments are super informative and helpful). Negative and threatening comments such as those made in post just don't belong in the mommy/daddy-blogging world.

I'm looking forward to getting back to normal posting after this last rant and I thank you for bearing with me. Stay tuned for my next post when I'll be giving away a 36棋牌!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

About the Web and Free Speech (and Forest Hills Gymboree)

Wow, I didn't realize that my reviews of the Gymboree in Forest Hills would elicit such a strong and very controversial response from readers! (see and ).

First, let me say that we have indeed found a class with a new teacher that we love (Miss Kristi--I highly recommend her) and we are still enjoying our time at this Gymboree. That said, I must defend my previous reviews and, ultimately, my freedom of speech and my right as a consumer to seek to be satisfied with a service that I have purchased.

I find it very sad that one commenter (who commented anonymously) felt my honest review to be "appalling" and even went as far as to suggest my blog be banned and also to make a thinly-veiled threat of something negative happening to me if she ran into me at Gymboree. For a review, written honestly from my own experience, to elicit this kind of response--from a mother with a young child none-the-less--saddens me to the greatest degree! I truly hope that most bloggers and blog-readers have more respect for freedom of speech--and have more decency than to threaten a mother and her child--but, none-the-less, it has prompted me to remove my photo and the photo of my child from the front page of this blog for our safety.

I hope all you bloggers out there, though, will continue to post your honest opinions online (as I will continue to do) as they all help me in my own search to find the greatest products, services, and advice. I'm praying for us all that the majority of readers (especially parents) out there are not spurred to violence by a simple review!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gymboree of Forest Hills - Review Part Deux!

(EDIT: Please see my  review where I fall back in love with the place. So fickle, so fickle... but trying to be as honest as can be!) 

We finally got to go to our second Play & Learn Class at after a snow cancellation and Andrew being sick, and I should have waited just a tad longer before I gave this Gymboree location such a . I mean, I wasn't so off base with my previous post, but yesterday's class left a bit more to be desired than our first time there.

First, we found out yesterday that the teacher we loved so much--Miss Amanda--was actually a substitute. Our real teacher is Gabriella Paez and, sadly, she is not nearly as good. I don't mean to be rude, but the class with her seemed so disorganized. We rushed from one activity to the next and the children didn't really get a chance to enjoy anything. Also--and this is going to sound very mean--but I couldn't really understand what Miss Gabriella was saying. I by no means intend to disrespect anybody who has an accent--my father and most of my older relatives have them--but I couldn't follow the class most of the time. This probably doesn't matter to Andrew now, of course, but I want him to learn to sing London Bridge with "my fair lady" and not "my fur lady."

I know, I know. I'm horrible. But, I can't help wanting more out of a Gymboree teacher when the class after us is led by the fabulous Sean Reilly. He is just so happy and full of energy, and we enjoy listening to his great singing voice as we are packing up to go. Andrew would really just like to stay around to hang out with his class, but, alas, it is for infants 6-10 months.

So, what to do? We are taking a makeup Play and Learn 3 class this coming Friday and, if we like the teacher, we are going to transfer to that group. I'll be sure to let you know how that goes!

Also, there never seems to be anybody at the front desk at this Gymboree, which is super annoying. I wanted to buy a pack of bouncing balls for Andrew after class yesterday and talk about some makeup issues, but their was nobody to talk to. It seems like this is a common problem at this location. Next class I'll have to grab the teacher before she runs out the door (like Miss Gabriella literally did!)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Gymboree of Forest Hills - Play & Learn Class Review

(EDIT: Please see my review where I fall back in love with the place. So fickle, so fickle... but trying to be as honest as can be!) 

(EDIT: Please check out my too. I found some things to gripe about of course!)

I've been wanting to take Andrew to a mommy and me type class for a while now. It can be so hard to meet and get together with moms of other kids in the winter (especially when its always snowing and the standard apartment in the neighborhood is itsy bitsy), so I took him over to a free trial class in Forest Hills last week. I'd heard mixed reviews of this particular Gymboree location and class, but Andrew really loved it and--as I'm a sucker for seeing him have fun--I bit the ($300) bullet and signed him up!

My little one just turned one year old and has been walking for over a month (the time has flown!), so he was in a Play & Learn 3 class with kids ranging from 10-16 months. The 45-minute class consisted of a number of group activities--rolling on a big ball (most of the children hated this one), making music, singing songs, blowing bubbles, playing with a big parachute, etc. The other children in the class were super-involved, but seeing as it was Andrew's first class, he just wanted to explore the wonderland of a padded play space (and the plugged-up electrical sockets of course).

If you check out the on Gymboree of Forest Hill's Facebook Page, you can check out the play area and the downstairs music and art studio. While not humongous, the space actually is fairly large and isn't as small as the photos make it out to be, and Andrew had a ball tearing it up. There are tunnels to crawl through, ramps and stairs to climb, and balls to throw around. The only thing that got me about the space is that some of the electrical outlets, while plugged up, did seem like they were old (but I am neurotic when it comes to this.)

Each class is led by a teacher (they all seem to be young aspiring actors/musicians) and we had Miss Amanda who was very nice and extremely adorable. Miss Amanda also updates the Gymboree of Forest Hills , which is a good place to find out about weather cancellations, upcoming parties, etc.

Lets get down to the dollars and cents of it: The class is $109/month for one child with (what I believe to be an uneccessary) 3-month minimum sign up period. The one-time registration fee is $40 bucks and the whole package includes free daily 45-minute open gym play sessions. The open play sessions are important to me because I could not otherwise justify paying basically an adult gym membership fee for Gymboree. If you sign up before February 28th, you'll also recieve $50 to use toward the class fees, $50 in Gym Bucks to use at Gymboree retail clothing stores (note: you need to buy $100 worth of goods to get $50 off; $50 to get $25 off), and a free set of Gymboree's super long-lasting Bubble Oodles.

The bottom line for us? We're going to enjoy playing at Gymboree until it gets warm enough for us to head outdoors. By the time it gets cold again, Andrew will be more secure in his walking and we'll be able to hang out in free indoor play places (McDonald's, etc.) and save ourselves a lot of money. If you've got the cash, though, or are in the same situation as us, I'd definitely reccomend you give Gymboree of Forest Hills a try. At the very least, you'll have had a free day of fun if you do a trial and you'll have checked out a great place to host an indoor for the under five set.

For more about Gymboree and their numerous locations in NY (and beyond) visit .

Friday, April 9, 2010

Gymboree Forest Hills -- The Final Showdown

In the midst of all the brouhaha over my negative review of a teacher at Gymboree Play & Learn in Forest Hills, NY, I didn't get to write my final thoughts on the place after having been there for three months now and having found a couple teachers we really like. This is a review, though, that I really feel is important to publish, because, I've had somewhat of a change of heart it some areas.

The bottom line (and I bold) is that Andrew loves the Forest Hills Gymboree and I have come to love it too. After three months he has become so enamored with the songs and games that he squeals and dances around in class--and I often have to cry laughing at him! We have also made friends with the other parents and kids and they know to expect Andrew to tear the place up or stop in front of the iPod to bust a move. I really think Gymboree has had a part in making Andrew the social butterfly he is today--no more crying when other kids scream because he's the screamer now!

So, I must admit where I have been mistaken: Mary Ann O'Neill of Gymboree on my . I had said that I found fault with Gymboree's requirement of a 3-months membership before cancellation is possible, but she responded that:

          "The 3 months give parents time to see what children can actually learn by attending classes. We see so many children, children that could really use the Gymboree experience, taken out of the program because they were not performing up to parent's expectations by week four! It broke our hearts. Just like us, our children need time to feel comfortable."

I must admit that Mary Ann was right. It really did take time for Andrew to acclimate to the classes before he really started enjoying it. I am glad we were required to stay at least 3 months... even though contracts can tend to make me bristle!

As for my of the Forest Hills Gymboree--where I was upset with one of our teachers, Miss. Gaby, because of her disorganized teaching style and (blush) thick accent--I must defer to Mary Ann from Gymboree's comment again:

          "Oh my gosh, Gaby is such a dedicated, energetic, and loving teacher, and gives her all to her classes each and every week. Her classes are full of energy and challenging, fun activities. (They must be fast paced to keep the attention of 1 year olds).Yes, she does have an accent similar to Sofia Vergara on Modern Family, but once accustomed to it, you can understand her clearly. Most importantly, her students really, really love her.

          At Gymboree, we try to have a variety of teachers all with different, winning personalities, because we know 
our parents and children are all different too. Each family will pick a teacher that fits best with their child. So even though the curriculum is the same, each class will have a different flavor added by the wonderful, fun personalities of our teachers! 

          It's up to you to find the flavor you and your child like the best. That's when Gymboree becomes a place of learning, joy, and making friends, sort of like a second loving 36棋牌 to your child. Gymboree is so much more than just a playground. Find the right teacher, then just give it a few more weeks to see the magic unfold before your eyes!"

It was not so much her accent that really bothered me although I chose to mention it because it did affect our class experience and I wanted to write an honest review. I mean, who doesn't love Sophia Vergara? Also, if you heard my dad talk, you would understand that I've grown up with accents all my life. Really, it was the disorganization, speediness of the activities, and general feeling that Andrew was not enjoying his time with this particular teacher that got my proverbial goat.

Since we switched classes, though, we have found two amazing teachers: Miss Kristi and Miss Natalia. Both teachers are really great--Miss Kristi is high-energy and Andrew crushes on her and loves to follower her around and Miss Natalia is so sweet or more soft-spoken, but still a lot of fun. I have never felt rushed from one activity to the next--both Miss Kristi and Miss Natalia let the children linger at an activity if they like but always encourage them to try each new task.

This is not to say that maybe if I had given Miss Gaby another chance, I might not have had a change of heart about her too. But, we were really happy with Miss Kristi and Miss Natalia and, unfortunately, we just don't have time to take another class with Miss Gaby before we move. Like Mary Ann said, though, "it is up to you to find the flavor that you and your child like best." Our flavor happens to be Miss Kristi with a side of Miss Natalia. Maybe you'll think differently, but I'd like to give you my opinion all the same.

So, if you've got the time and extra cash sitting around, do try out Gymboree in Forest Hills! Try it for three months and you might fall in love just like we did. We're actually so in love we're going to look into signing up at the Gymboree in Nanuet, NY when we move (its $40 cheaper! $69/month!) With what we know now about shopping around for teachers and giving it a couple months for the class to become a comfortable place for Andrew, I have a feeling we won't be dissapointed (a review of Gymboree Nanuet to come of course! Haha!)