Late last summer, when Liam was around 6 months old and everyone was enrolling in various classes for the fall semester, I had a sudden panic that we hadn't signed up for one. Oh no, my son was going to be "behind" for the rest of his life!
Ok, it wasn't quite like that, but I did become obsessed with researching the numerous options and at least trying a few out before deciding one way or another. We went for a free sample class and it became quickly apparent to me that it would be good for Liam to be in a social setting slightly more structured than our mom's group, especially as I wasn't planning on putting him in daycare or anything for a little while.
We tried a few different classes, some more expensive, some less expensive, but ended up enrolling in the "Bugs" class at The Little Gym of Brooklyn Heights. We've been going ever since, and while I felt at first that it might be a little silly putting a six month old in a gym class, I have since become convinced otherwise.
Not every kid is going to like the same thing. Some of the classes we tried were obviously great for some of the babies but weren't quite Liam's cup of tea. He really took to his gym class right from the start though, and it's been so great seeing him grow and thrive, learn new things, and develop physical confidence through the class.
Do I care that he learn certain gymnastic skills, now and in the future? It's fun, and I'm proud of his developing capabilities, but what's more to the point is that the class has really built his and, perhaps more importantly, my confidence in his physical abilities. I know how to safely help him do (assisted) rolls and somersaults and pullovers, and to walk along the beam and, frankly, do stuff I was never comfortable doing as a kid! I hated gym class when I was growing up - I had more of a music and arts upbringing and I want Liam to have that too, but I feel more comfortable giving that to him myself. As far as gym, and physical activity in general goes, it would be nice if he had more confidence than I did and frankly, I think he already does!
We have had and continue to have a great experience with The Little Gym. The instructors are young and energetic but also very knowledgeable about developmental stages and abilities and they all seem to be really into what they do. I also really like the other parents, caregivers and kids we've met both in class and at open play - everyone is very friendly, down to earth and engaged with their children and everyone seems to have a great time! The Little Gym really creates a great environment that I enjoy being part of every time, and it helps that they take care of little details too, like helping people in and out with their strollers, or having wipes at the front desk, always handy when you don't want to rummage around in your bag for your own!
So, for all of these reasons, I am especially delighted to announce that I am now partnering with The Little Gym to offer special discounts to members! All current members can pick up a $50 print credit from the TLG front desk and, if you enroll by June 20th for the fall semester, not only will you receive $50 off the class fee, but you will also receive a $100 print credit AND the chance to win a $300 alethea cheng fitzpatrick photography gift certificate! IF you're interested in beautiful family photos and are looking for a class for the fall, this is a great opportunity to get both! You can try a free sample class before you sign up so give it a try - you have nothing to lose.
The Little Gym also offers birthday parties in their space at the weekend - and it's not just space they provide, but the staff, music, activities, equipment and clean-up. I photographed a six year old's birthday party there a few weeks ago, and let me tell you, those kids had a BLAST!!! I was so impressed and let me tell you, it was quite a thing to behold, let alone photograph, all these kids just running around NON-STOP having fun. Six year olds have a LOT of energy! I'm looking forward to sharing some of those photos with you shortly but in the meantime, if you book a party at The Little Gym, you can take $50 off my session fee and have me join you to take care of photographing the festivities so you can just relax and enjoy yourself.
All the photos in this blog post are from Liam's class graduation back in January. It was a cold snowy day so only one kid in the class showed up, but it ended up working out well as the two of them had a blast, although were significantly less impressed with the graduation ceremony than their parents were!
Thanks to Kate for taking this last photo! You can view the entire slideshow here.
Disclosure: although I am partnering with The Little Gym, this review was not written as part of that agreement - it was written as a happy parent!
nyc baby, child and family photographer alethea cheng fitzpatrick is based in brooklyn and specializes in contemporary, natural light portraiture. view her portfolio of babies, children or families or send her an e-mail here!