The judges have a keen eye for the little guys and gals.
The Shops at the Waterways, 3565 NE 207th St., Aventura
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.
2968 Aventura Blvd., Aventura
17881 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura, 305-933-0496
2531 Coral Way, Miami, 305-285-9440
7902 NW 36th St., Suite 203, Miami, 305-500-9688
15801 S. Dixie Highway, Suite C, Miami; 305-235-7922
12588 SW 88 St., Miami, 305-270-0230
Additional locations in Broward and Palm Beach counties.
1401 NE Fourth St., Building A, Pompano Beach
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
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
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.
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
Additional locations in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation
Wings Family Enrichment Center
580 Riverside Drive, Coral Springs
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
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
Additional locations in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.