Best Programs/Classes for Infants, Toddlers, Preschoolers
The judges have a keen eye for the little guys and gals.
Baby Stars The Shops at the Waterways, 3565 NE 207th St., Aventura 305-466-1886 www.baby-stars.com
Programs at Baby Stars seem like child's play, but take another glance. On a deeper level, the children are developing eye-hand coordination, motor skills and growing toward being ready to read. In a series of five rooms, children play in a traditional gym or use their senses to explore textures and art. Babies can learn about other cultures and lifestyles with moms or dads in tow. Themes run throughout the gym and change on a weekly basis. Toddlers graduating from Baby Stars develop confidence for school. Instructors at Baby Stars follow the motto, "In learning to learn to read and write, it's like a building, you need a good foundation." The staff offers children ages 3 months to 3 years the chance to jump-start their education.
The judges couldn't let a year pass without again recognizing Amanda's Place. Amanda's Place has been giving children a start in life and helping parents learn how to be better moms and dads. Amanda's Place teaches parents as well as children -- because the staff knows, as most parents quickly learn, that parenting can be very challenging. The staff at Amanda's Place offers child-development information and support continuously in addition to a full schedule of age-appropriate classes for parents and young children -- including special daddy-and-me classes. Children are encouraged to explore, adapt and grow. Parents are taught how to access local resources and use them efficiently to help their family. Socialization is key whether it is child-to-child, parent-to-child or parent-to-parent.
PALM BEACH COUNTY
Gymboree Fifth Avenue Shops, 2104 North Federal Highway, Boca Raton, 561-392-6658 Woodbridge Plaza, 6611 Forest Hill Blvd., West Palm Beach, 561-966-5805 Jupiter Commerce Park, 1449 Jupiter Park Drive, Suite 18, Jupiter, 561-744-3496 www.gymboree.com
Gymboree focuses on a child's development while helping parents understand their children's growth, from newborn to 5 years old. Children are separated into seven age groups. Younger children learning to be comfortable in the world are in classes that focus on trust and love between parent and baby. When children begin to communicate, their classes take a different, more verbal turn. Children are taught to use communication skills to get their wants and needs across. As they grow, children travel through problem-solving, and logical and creative-thought processes with classes that coincide with their development.
My Gym 21753 State Road 7, Boca Raton, 561-487-1842 3755 Military Trail, Suite B10, Jupiter, 561-575-2434 518 N. State Road 7, Royal Palm Beach, 561-798-5656 www.my-gym.com Additional locations in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
Wings Family Enrichment Center 580 Riverside Drive, Coral Springs 954-346-7795 wingsfec.com
Children, better known as chickadees, parrots or peacocks at Wings Family Enrichment Center, spend time playing in an expressive environment. Wings offers Kindermusik music and movement and Montessori-inspired classes or moms can participate in Mommy and Me playgroups with their little ones. Parents can connect and learn from each other in parenting classes, a breastfeeding group, and mothers' discussion groups.
The Family Center Parenting Place Nova Southeastern University 7600 SW 36th St., Davie 954-262-6900 www.nova.edu/msi/pplace
My Gym 4647 University Drive, Coral Springs, 954-341-1853 11266 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines, 954-441-6688 801 S. University Drive, Suite B-114, Plantation, 954-382-0222 407 South Federal Highway, Pompano Beach, 954-946-6838 www.my-gym.com Additional locations in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
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