Like many mothers, I have enrolled my baby on both Gymboree and Kindermusik. For Kindermusik, my baby has finished a semester and one unit in two of their branches. For Gymboree, we have only availed of their Php 600 trial class in their branch at Robinsons Magnolia.
What Gymboree Magnolia Looks Like
Here’s what Gymboree Magnolia looks like — padded floors and materials, with wooden and plastic slides. Despite its “safe” environment, you still have to supervise and watch your child especially as they can always bock their head if they fall.
As you can see, there are still some hard corners a child can hit himself/herself with if you’re not careful. It will not kill your child, but it’s enough to give them a bruise.
Given that it’s inside the mall, the area is lighted with fluorescent and can be a bit dark. There’s no natural light pouring in, which is one limitation of a mall area that cannot be helped.
The area is clean though and well maintained. It just doesn’t look bright and brand new, but heck, that’s not what we’re there for.
The price can be a bit confusing.
Instead of charging the parents per class or per semester, Gymboree charges an annual membership fee of Php 2,000 before you can enroll your child to a class.
There’s a lifetime membership of Php 4,000 which you can use most likely until your child is 5 years old. After which, I don’t think Gymboree will hold their attention any longer.
The class rates are cheaper when you enroll to more classes. If you enroll your child to Gymboree 4x a day for 48 weeks for example, class is almost half the price at Php 500 + the 1-time annual fee of Php 2,000.
For simplicity sake, I made this chart so you can understand the price per class better. I don’t like confusing marketing so this chart will help you decide which classes are for you:
Being a member, you can avail of the gym free play schedule, a sample of which is as follows. As you can see, despite paying for the annual membership fee, you still cannot come and play whenever you want. Instead, you follow the schedule given by the branch.
As you can see, prices are NOT that cheap for an hour’s worth of play. I will talk about the program later on so you can see if it’s worth it for you or not. But in comparison, the price I pay for Kidzoona with 1 baby child is only Php 450, so a Gymboree class is almost equivalent to what you pay for in Kidzoona free play.
A Kindermusik class is Php 875 for the same hour (but with no annual fee), so technically, a Kindermusik class is slightly cheaper than Gymboree for the same amount of time your son or daughter spends in class.
Thankfully, Gymboree is one of those programs where you can try first before you enroll. Trial class was Php 600 for my child. That way, you can see if this class is meant for you before you part with your hard-earned money.
There are several classes available for Gymboree depending on age
Since my daughter is still less than 18 months old, we availed of the free trial class for Gymboree Play & Learn 3. After her class, we also checked out the Play & Learn 4 class, and it’s mighty similar to Play & Learn 3 except that the children are more active, and there’s a small up in terms of difficulty.
At first, the class begins with the child and their caretaker embarking in a brief sing-along, sang acapella by the teachers. This was followed by the first activity where the child, with some support, is asked to:
- Crossing a makeshift bridge with pillows,
- Climbing a wooden slide
- Walking across the plank
- Getting the colored pillows and
- Placing them in a plastic box at the end of the plank before
- Coming down the steps facing backwards
Yes, it’s that complicated. I think the 1-year old children finish the activity with TONS of help from their adult companions. For children who are older, they can do the activities with a lot more ease, but it’s still almost the same steps.
Thankfully, given that there were only 4 kids in the class, the teacher-student ratio was terrific.
For this session, there were two teachers and one assistant for a group of 4 students.So even though that some of the kids couldn’t even walk, everyone still managed to finish the activity in 10 minutes or so time. There’s a lot children can do with adults’ help!
After this activity, they had to climb another slide, push down pillowed shapes down the holes, before rolling two balls after reaching the top, and then sliding down.
Another activity was climbing up the stairs with assistance, moving across the pillowed tube before sliding down after reaching the end:
Another activity was sitting on a circle, singing songs, playing with some toys, and then appreciating the blowing bubbles song.
The class lasted 1 hour 15 minutes. As a whole, there was singing, a lot of movement and activity, and some free play.
My Thoughts on Gymboree
I can only talk about the trial class we experienced last week so do take my advice with a grain of salt.
Personally, Gymboree is a great program for you to plunk your child in if you want them to be occupied by an hour or two per day. After Gymboree, you can enjoy some merienda as a family in the foodcourt outside.
However, if you are operating on a limited budget and can only pick one class, I would suggest you sign up for Kindermusik instead. I say this with much caution especially since I know that a lot of mothers are big fans of Gymboree, but analyzing the two programs as a whole, I feel that Kindermusik is more cohesive, more professionally ran, and honestly speaking a better program than Gymboree.
Not that Gymboree is bad, but it’s just that the quality of Kindermusik Philippines is simply above average. From what I’ve heard, Teacher Jeannie of Cubao and BGC Chapter is one of the best Kindermusik teachers in the world. Now, how rare is that?
Kindermusik’s pricing scheme is also more straightforward than Gymboree. You can pay per class, or for a semester, and the prices don’t really vary too much.
And effect wise, while my daughter was tired after Gymboree, I felt that she enjoyed Kindermusik a lot more. The songs are catchier and are more ingrained to her brain. For example, if she pulls a tantrum, all I have to do is to sing to her and she immediately breaks into a smile.
Regardless, given that these two programs have trial classes available, you can go and see for yourself which program is better for you. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Gymboree directly. Details are as follows:
Phone Customer Service: (632) 817-0951 local 251
Customer Service Hours: 9am to 5pm
Email Customer Service: firstname.lastname@example.org