Early Childhood Education: Gymboree vs Kizsports

On Thursday, I took Gavin back to Gymboree for a play date with his friend A.  The last time he was there was A’s birthday party, which has been a rather bad experience for him.  Not to be discouraged, I figured a bit of time away from the place would mellow his memory and once he discovered how fun it really was, he would start to enjoy going there.

We arrived at Bangsar Village early so I took him past Gymboree and said, “Gavin, we’re going there to play later, ok?”  To my surprise, he shook his head vehemently and said, “No! No!”  Then he pointed towards Toys ‘R’ Us and indicated he wanted to go there instead.  Thinking that perhaps he just wanted to go to Toys ‘R’ Us first, I took him there and let him run around for a bit.

Incidentally, I discovered they are now selling the Thomas the Tank Engine Musical Toy which I was sorely tempted to buy except that I discovered Toys ‘R’ Us are selling a lot of the Thomas toys at a premium.  For instance, the Thomas and Friends set that I saw selling at Isetan for RM69.90 was going for RM79.90 at Toys ‘R’ Us.

I digress…  After our visit to Toys ‘R’ Us, I took him back to Gymboree and asked him again if he wanted to go in.  Again I received a firm “no”.  When A and C arrived, I tried again to take Gavin into Gymboree and he started crying.  I tried to cajole him and pointed out the giant ball and the slide – two objects I knew he would love to play with – to no avail.  I couldn’t believe how strongly he was reacting against Gymboree.

My friend C told me that Kizsports had a new branch that had recently opened in Bangsar Village 2 just above MPH Bookstore so we went to check it out.  They have already have two branches - one in 1Utama and the other in Great Eastern Mall.

Although some are not listed on their website, Kizsports runs the following activities:

  • Playland – which is just a large jungle gym for kids to run around and play at their own leisure
  • Early Fitness Academy – which is the same as Gymboree’s gym classes – (they have different programs for kids from 6mths – 13 years)
  • Shito-Ryu Karate-Do (5yrs+) – not available at Gymboree
  • Tae-Kwando (4yrs+) – not available at Gymboree
  • Kindermusik (0-3.5yrs) – according to C, who took her son A for a trial class, Kindermusik at Kizsports is more structured than the one at Gymboree
  • Wushudao (4yrs+) – not available at Gymboree
  • Craft (3yrs+) – Gymboree offers art classes for kids 18mths and up
  • Baby Signs (6mths to 2yrs) – not available at Gymboree
  • Speech and Drama (4-12yrs) – not available at Gymboree
  • Early Learning Academy – which is basically Kindergarten style classes

However, Gymboree has Yoga classes, which Kizsports does not.

Basically, I’m only interested in the Playland, the Early Fitness Academy and Kindermusik.  At 18 months and already having learned quite a bit from his Signing Time DVDs, I’m not sure he will learn much from the Baby Signs classes.

We took a tour around the place and it is much larger than Gymboree.  When I asked Gavin if he would like to play there, he nodded his head, so that’s a plus.  He even made himself at home in the music room during our tour and I had to forcibly drag him out.

Although Gymboree is no longer an option since Gavin refuses even to set foot inside their premises, I thought it worth while comparing the prices of the two venues.

At Gymboree, there is an annual family membership of RM150 per family which I believe is on top of the other costs.  The yearly package costs RM1780 for 48 weeks for one child under age 3 (it costs more if your child is over 3 years).  It includes:

  • 24 gym sessions, 12 music sessions, 12 arts sessions
  • 10 vouchers to play on the gym equipment
  • 6 additional classes of your choice
  • Gymboree t-shirt (which I really couldn’t care for)
  • RM150 off the birthday party package

If you wanted to pay for classes individually, it would be:

  • Family Annual Membership – RM150
  • Gym sessions – RM395 for 12 weeks
  • Music sessions – RM395 for 12 weeks
  • Playgym – RM12 per hour for members

Total = RM1084 (assuming you take 10 playgym passes)

At Kizsports, there’s no package.  The individual classes would cost:

  • Gym sessions (EFA) – RM40+160/mth (also gives your child unlimited play on the playgym)
  • Kindermusik – RM40+450 (for 15 weeks semester)

Total = RM1010 (which gives you unlimited play at the playgym and 3 extra music classes)

So Kizsports is slightly cheaper.

I’ve also heard of another play gym called Tumble Tots, but I haven’t been there.  The venues are The Curve, 1Utama and Great Eastern Mall – not exactly places I want to go to on a regular basis, so it looks like it’s Kizsports for Gavin…

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About the author

Shen-Li Shen-Li is a stay-home mum to two boys who have been the inspiration for her interest in early childhood development and early child education. She searches for the balance in child development methods and the educational philosophies that will enable the nurture of happy, confident and successful children. She shares her views and findings at Figur8.


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Comments

  1. nadnye says:

    Thanks for the review anyway..

  2. figur8 says:

    I think you’re right. Gavin doesn’t seem antisocial when meeting new faces in small groups or even being in large crowds (which we often face at the malls). It’s just the classes that he doesn’t seem to like.

    Been taking him to the mall to walk/run around. It’s been pretty effective – tiring for Mummy, too! :p

    Well, he likes Playland so I think I’ll continue to take him there for a bit of jungle gym activity…

  3. Well, frankly I think 18 months is a little young for classes. Even at almost 2, Jack didn’t quite enjoy a children’s party. At 3-4 is when they start enjoying parties methinks. Don’t worry. Gavin’s a real sociable boy. He’ll be great in groups when older.

    For now, I think the boys love one-on-ones. Jack says he would love to play with Gavin again. :D

    Ah you know, Gavin’s fave playmate now is Mommy. :D So take him to the mall and chase him. I think that would wear him down. (Worked for us!) Hehe!

  4. figur8 says:

    Yes, they are rather tiring, aren’t they?

    The whole idea of going for them was to wear down Gavin’s excess energy and to give him something fun to do…

    Looks like he doesn’t find it all that fun after all.

  5. I’m too damn lazy to go for those classes. :p

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