El Cerrito, Lafayette, Oakland, San Francisco
Toddlers, Preschoolers

Parent Reviews

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Have you looked at Gymboree on Lakeshore?  We took our son there most weekends from 16 to 24 months old and we all really enjoyed it.   

Archived Q&A and Reviews

May 2010

Re: Gymboree class for 8-month-old or not?

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.

You should try out Kindergym. 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) Jeanne S.

You know Gymboree is at its cheapest for you right now, because classes for 10month olds (and younger) are unlimited for the monthly fee. You might want to try it for two months while you have this option. While I can't say I like going, my baby really does!

I am really thankful to Gymboree. We signed up when our child was 6mo old and it was a life saver for me. Not only was it a lifesaver as I was able to get out of the house and have something to do with my baby. But I also made some really great friends whose children were all very close in age and will probably be friends for life (for us and our children). At the time all of my friends were working and I didn't know anyone with a baby; it was very isolating. We signed up for a whole year because it was cheaper (per class) that way and you could go unlimited times each week. That meant that Dad could go on the weekends with baby and give me a break or at times it was also a nice family outing. At that age Gymboree also has a Q/A portion where they ask a question that pertains to the group and everyone gets a chance to answer and get to know one another. It's often advice Qs or Baby or Mama firsts... it's very nice. They also work on motor skills and you learn songs/games etc you can do at home with baby.

Our son is now almost 2yo and we did re-up for another year. He's active and at this age it's a looser class format so he can burn some energy. Judy at the Lafayette Gymboree is very nice and always has good advice if you're in need and there are some nannies, but there are also a LOT of Moms and Dads.

I would encourage you to try 2 months and see what you think. The 'open gym' times are also nice for when your child won't sleep or it's a rainy day or you just want to be somewhere contained to have them burn some energy. Happy To Have Met Gymbo

April 2007

My older daughter attended Gymboree when it was located on College Ave. in the church basement. My younger daughter is now one and I think she would really enjoy a gymboree-style class, but Gymboree moved over near Lake Merritt. We live in Berkeley and would like to go somewhere in the Elmwood or Rockridge neighborhoods. Does anyone know of a program in the area? Also, has anyone attended Gymboree in it's new space in Oakland? If you have, is it a nice space? Any information would be appreciated. Holly

My 14-month old dauaghter and I have attended Gymboree classes (at Judy Freeman's location on Lakeshore) since she was 8- months old. I think the space is great (I didn't see the space on College Avenue, so I cannot compare) - its a store front and I think the play space for the kids is large with lots of different ''stations'' for them to enjoy each week. Judy is a great teacher, with lots of energy and just the right balance of talk with parents and play with the children. Go check out a class to see if you like the new space - a new session begins on Monday April 16. Shauna

Feb 2000

I'm interested in taking my 4 1/2 month old to Gymboree classes and I'm wondering if anyone has had experience with their program. I have never heard of anyone taking their kids there so I'm wondering if it is a good program or if there are better options for a young infant who is bored around the house with mommy all day! (mommy is bored too!). Thanks Hadley

My daughters all loved Gymboree and I enjoyed the interaction with other moms and also learning new songs and fingerplays to use at home. Great tapes to play in the car, too. Gymbo was a favorite puppet toy in our house for many years. The program is a bit pricey, but, I felt, well worth it. Great for Dads on Saturday mornings, too. Another suggestion: join a play group or a parent support group, churches, community centers and such have them. Look in Parents Press for other such nonaffiliated groups. Time with baby does get to be more fun as they learn to do more things. Good luck! Xenija

My daughter, Heather, and I participated in Gymboree for about a year beginning when she was eight months or so and it was a good experience. She was at the time a very, very shy kid and it helped her connect well with another adult (the instructor) and promoted her sense of body self. When we would go home she would continue to try out body movements she learned there, practicing and developing her agility and coordination. It was nice for me to connect with other parents, just for casual conversation about developmental issues. Jane