Kindergym (Oakland, CA)
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Kindergym (Oakland, CA)
Re: Gymboree class for 8-month-old or not?
You should check out Kindergym classes with Dawn Margolin.
Her classes have everything that Gymboree has in a more
spacious location, and a fraction of the cost. She has been
holding these classes for something like 25 years and is a
great resource when you need parenting help or advice. My
daughter (now 3) has been going since she was 9 months or
so, and really loves it. There is free play time with tons
of great toys, and then 15 minutes of directed circle time
with stories, songs, parachute, movement and bubbles. There
is an earlier session for the older toddlers that goes for
I tried out Gymboree and never felt it was a good match for
me. There tended to be more nannies at Gymboree in my
experience, so the social dynamic was quite different.
Kindergym has been primarily parents while I've been going
there and I've made some great friends.
Classes for the littler kids are Wednesday and Thursday from
11:15 to noon, and they are located in the social hall at
Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland (on the frontage road to 580
between Harrison and Grand). (The classes, though held at
a synagogue, are non-denominational)
You're right - Gymboree is much too expensive. I've been
taking my son to Kindergym at Temple Beth Abraham since he
was 8 or 9 months old. He's now 2.5 and has loved it this
whole time. http://www.tbaoakland.org/kindergym We started
out doing the drop-in classes on Wednesday morning and now
we do the earlier Toddler class and stay for the drop-in as
well. They have climbing structures, slides, a ball pit,
rocking horses, and tons of stuff for babies and toddlers to
enjoy. In the drop-in class, the first half hour is free
play and the last 15 minutes the teacher, Dawn, leads
singing and parachute games. The kids love her. The drop-in
classes are only $8 or $56 for an 8 class pass, so it's
pretty affordable. I also have a yelp review here:
Have you tried Kindergym at Temple Beth Abraham?
I took our first son for almost two years and loved it.
Dawn, the teacher does a great job at providing a great
variety of play for the kids, and she's got a great
background in child development to help with all those crazy
developmental questions that come up. Both my son and I met
some good friends in the class. We just recently stopped
going - he's a smidge too old and rambunctious (3 1/2 years
old); his little brother is going to start going soon though
- he just got mobile, and I really miss the class! I can't
say enough - its a great place to play, meeting others,
learn more about parenting, etc. We usually go on Friday's
because we like to do the tot Shabbat (we're Jewish) but
there are lots of other families that are not - its a great
way to teach your kids about other cultures!
Good luck with your search!
minkim: A lower-cost alternative to Gymboree with no product
placement is Kindergym with Dawn Margolin. The classes take
place at Temple Beth Abraham, all are welcome. On Fridays
there is a brief Shabbat celebration for the children but on
Wednesdays and Thursdays, there is no Jewish content, just
stories, songs, and bubbles at storytime. The room is
spacious with mats, climbing structures, toys, blocks,
playsets, a mini-ball pit, and for older toddlers, safe
paints, puzzles, and homemade playdough. Dawn is full of
positive energy and loves interacting with both the children
and their adults. The atmosphere is friendly and
comfortable. I attended for six years when my two sons were
under age three. They looked forward to it and so did I! I
hope you will give it a try. More information and photos at
http://www.tbaoakland.org/kindergym/ Karen Bloom
Has anyone had any recent experience with the Kindergym program
at Temple Beth Abraham on Macarthur in Oakland? There is one
older review posted in the archives, but I'm hoping for more
(and more recent) feedback. Thanks.
I loved the Kindergym at Temple Beth Abraham. Check out this
month's NPN newsletter for a great review of the program.
We went to Kindergym for a little over a year, until we moved
out of Oakland about a year ago. I can't recommend it highly
enough! My son, husband, and I absolutely loved the program.
There was tons of stuff to do, plenty of room, lots of good
climbing/gross motor activities. To top it all off, Dawn,
the ''teacher,'' was the best. She made a point, every single
session, to interact with every kid and parent/caregiver
there. This is no small feat, because it was always very well
attended. Dawn always remembered not only my son's name, but
my name and my husband's, too -- after the first time we met
her. Also, Dawn has a real gift for circle time...It was just
the right energy level for this age group.
I wish we still lived in Oakland, so that I could look forward
to attending Kindergym with my younger son.
Kindergym is a fabulous program for preschoolers of all ages.
The atmosphere is casual and friendly, Dawn has amazing amounts
of energy and simply adores the children, and there is a wide
variety of activities for your child to choose from.
Some of the special benefits of Kindergym include (a) one
parent/adult can bring more than one child (i.e. siblings or
twins or a nanny share) (b) parents take turns bringing juice
and graham crackers (or challah on Fridays) for snack (c) one
has the choice of whether to wear shoes or remove them (d)
there are no additional ''products'' for sale (e) Dawn sings her
amazing original songs at various activities around the room and
during parachute and bubbles time at the end of class (f) on
Fridays there is a great Shabbat experience for those who are
interested but it is an equally comfortable atmosphere for
people of any religion.
My son Micah attended Kindergym from 18 months until 4 years old
and my son Jonah began at birth and is still attending at 2
years old. We hope to see you there!
My toddler and I have loved going to Kindergym at Temple Beth
Abraham! The teacher, Dawn Margolin, is such a warm soul and
loves playing with the children (all of whom she knows by
name). The play space is filled with great toys, ride-ons,
blocks, books, climbing structures and even a ball pit. After
lots of free play and a short clean-up, the children gather for
circle time. On Friday mornings, Dawn & Rabbi Bloom celebrate
Shabbat with the children. (Other weekday mornings, however,
are not religious.) My toddler enjoyed it so much; now I'm
looking forward to starting the next session with my baby! You
can reach Dawn at (510) 547-7726.
I just finished taking my second child to Kindergym(he began
preschool this year) at Temple Beth Abraham and I highly
recommend this program to all. It was a fabulous experience for
my children, allowing them to socialize with other young children
and experiment with both fine and gross motor activities. It
gave me the opportuniy to meet many other moms, dads, and
caregivers. Dawn Margolin, the program creator and director, is
amazing!! She is one of the most energetic and sweet women I
know and is a fantastic advocate for young children. As an added
bonus, on Fridays Rabbi Blum and his guitar join the fun for a
mini shabbat including candles, juice, challah, and of course,
lots of singing.
Re: Infant & Preschooler in the same class?
There is a great, non-religious Kindergym program at Temple
Beth Abraham on Macarthur in Oakland. The woman who runs it,
Dawn, is really terrific and very accomodating to siblings. It
is run on Wed, Thur, Fri (those were the days last spring) at
10:00. It is basically free play on equipment/ball pit plus
water and rice tables, some toys and a little
painting/playdough. Then there are stories, songs and a little
snack. Check it out.
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