In New York City, there are countless classes developed for young children. Parents are faced with choosing from the wide variety that the city has to offer- music, art, gym, swimming, language, dance, science, yoga, theatre, cooking, sign language, and more! How do you decide what classes to take?
The best way to start is by taking a trial class or a drop-in class to see your child’s response to each program. If a trial or drop-in isn’t available, stop by the location to see the space in person and meet the staff before signing up!
An ideal children’s class should provide for you a 3-part experience:
1. Your child will learn while having fun. Classes for toddlers should allow children to learn through creative play. At this age, it’s vital to instill the idea of learning as fun and enjoyable.
2. While attending class together, you can establish a positive learning relationship between you and your child. Get involved in the class and you’ll both reap the benefits. I taught mommy and me classes for years and watched children with interactive parents excel while children with parents texting or chatting seemed discouraged and longing for approval. If your caretaker attends class with your child, encourage her (or him) to be interactive and engaged during class!
3. Attending classes is a great way to meet people in your neighborhood. Go for lunch at the end of class or schedule a playdate with your new friends! For new parents, getting to know other parents in your community is essential.
So, what NYC kids classes are really worth it? Here are five venues that we believe in.
1. Tastebuds (http://www.tastebudscook.com/)
Tastebuds is our pick for best NYC kids cooking class. The kitchen studio located on 27th street is designed especially for children. You can sign up for a semester of “Culinary Adventures” or opt for a single-session with a theme like “Muffins and Milkshakes” or a “Sushi Challenge”. Tastebuds also offers 5-Day Camps, Private Classes, and Adult Classes.
2. La Petite Ecole (http://www.lpeny.com/)
Le Petite Ecole’s after school program for preschoolers immerses children ages 2 ½ to 4 in the French Language while teaching them about the arts! Children in the afternoon classes paint, sculpt, cook, and perform theatre projects in the beautiful Upper West Side Location. La Petite Ecole also offers after school enrichment classes for children ages 5-10 and daily French homework help!
3. Scribble Press (http://www.scribblepress.com/)
We think Scribble Press is unique and inspring! Their storytelling, art, and writing classes are designed for children ages 2 to young teen. At the end of every semester, each student leaves with his or her own book! Scribble Press also hosts birthday parties at their Upper East Side location and even has an iPad app.
4. Karma Kids Yoga (http://www.karmakidsyoga.com/)
Karma Kids Yoga offers yoga classes for children ages infant to teenagers. Sign up for a package of classes at their 14th street “Magical Studio” or take a single drop-in class! Karma Kids Yoga classes can also be found at the JCC on the Upper West Side, at City Treehouse in Chelsea, and at Abundant Learning in Brooklyn. Other classes at Karma Kids Yoga: storytime yoga, family classes, and adult classes.
5. TLB Music (http://tlbmusic.com/)
My business partner Katia and I opened TLB Music (previously known as Three Little Birds Music) on the Upper East Side in 2009. Our group classes for children ages 4 months to 6 years are designed to enhance development while introducing students to all genres of music and 20 classical and folk instruments. We also have an eco-friendly playroom that kids love to visit after class! Also offered at TLB: birthday parties, parenting workshops, and drop-in classes.
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