How Classes Help Me Bond With My Toddler

I’m a thrifty mama by nature. So when presented with the prospect of signing up for music, gym or swim classes with my toddler, I balked. Shell out my hard-earned cash for a half hour of fluff? I figured anything that was being taught or demonstrated at these kiddie classes I could easily do myself at home. Singalong with shaker instruments! Tumble and jump and run around in a safe environment! Get comfortable in the water and maybe even dunk your little one’s head under! Errr, in a bathtub or backyard plastic pool at least. At more than $25 a class, the investment just didn’t seem worth it, especially when there’s so much to save up for, like diapers and organic milk and college.

“If I want to meet other stay-at-home moms and their babies, I’ll just run into them at the library,” I kept telling myself, intent on staying out of the class scene and saving my pennies. Then, my daughter turned 1 and simultaneously I ran out of steam to entertain her all the time while realizing that I was not enough of a stimulating presence to meet her needs. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t sit around and twiddle my thumbs while having a staring contest with my child. We read books and listen to music and race cars and trucks across the hardwood floors. We practice making animal sounds and even bake muffins together. We’re around other children all the time too, on play dates and at playgrounds. But something about the class atmosphere with all the tots focused on the same goal and another (neutral) adult in charge, is good for both of us. It allows us to work together and also to give each other space at times. But, perhaps most importantly, it helps us bond.

When I first signed up my daughter for music and gym class, I never considered how they might bring us closer together, but the experiences we’ve had have helped us connect in new ways. Spending 45 uninterrupted minutes as a twosome – away from constant house chores and a frequently buzzing cell phone – does wonders for our shared state of mind. Plus, the structure and repetition give us a solid means of reference well beyond the class time. We recite songs from our Music Together Class on car rides and while waiting in checkout lines at the grocery store. My musical mini even finishes some of the rhyming lyrics, which thrills me to no end. At home, we do baby planks and play airplane on the living room carpet, just like we learned in our gym class. That’s actually where my daughter started to pick up some sign language. The gym class instructor signs her way through all of the exercises for all of the keenly observant children to watch and learn. When my daughter started to do the sign for “again” after we read her favorite book one evening, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Today, she signs all the time, asking for “water,” demanding “more” and saying “please,” all thanks to our gym teacher. It’s opened up a whole new world of communicating and understanding one another.

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Classes are now the highlight of our week, and we’re both a little down whenever we skip a session for a holiday or when the semester finally comes to an end. I’m just glad we’ve discovered all there is to learn and discover and bond over beyond the four walls of our home.

Whitney C. Harris is a freelance writer living in Westchester, NY, with her husband and 18-month-old daughter. Find her at whitneycharris.com.

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<p class="p2" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif;">That's Mandarin is one of the oldest Chinese language schools in China. With a unique approach to language learning and our own in-house teaching methodologies; we aim to be not only the most experienced, but also one of the best Mandarin schools in China! We focus on providing the smoothest service and the best teaching experience to all our students; no matter whether they are studying Chinese online with our innovative online language learning system or at one of our Chinese language schools in China. Founded in 2005, That’s Mandarin has been delivering excellence in Chinese teaching for over 15 years to more than 30,000 students of different nationalities. We now have schools in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen with plans to open more locations in more cities soon.<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></span></p> <p class="p2" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica;"> </p> <p class="p3" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif;"><strong>COURSE INFO<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></strong></span></p> <p class="p2" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica;"><span style="font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Learn Chinese online and enjoy private online classes with our <strong>professional native Chinese teachers </strong>anytime, anywhere. </span><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Our Online Chinese Course is perfect for students abroad who want to learn Chinese <strong>remotely</strong>. Besides, online Chinese classes are also a great opportunity for those who <strong>don’t have enough time </strong>to come to our Mandarin school. By using That’s Mandarin <strong>special learning platform</strong>, you can have online Mandarin classes with our teachers <strong>anytime </strong>and <strong>anywhere</strong>.<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></span></span></p> <p class="p2" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica;"> </p> <p class="p2" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt;">We Offer:</span><span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></strong></span></p> <p class="p2" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica; padding-left: 40px;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; 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font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica; padding-left: 40px;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif;">• Classic literature, opera & art<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></span></p> <p class="p4" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica; min-height: 13px;"> </p> <p class="p2" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif;"><strong>HEATED DISCUSSIONS<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></strong></span></p> <p class="p2" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica; padding-left: 40px;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif;">• Discovering interesting topics<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></span></p> <p class="p2" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica; padding-left: 40px;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif;">• Discussing global topics<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></span></p> <p class="p2" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica; padding-left: 40px;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif;">• Social phenomena<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></span></p> <p class="p2" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica; padding-left: 40px;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif;">• Cultural differences<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></span></p> <p class="p2" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica;"> </p> <p class="p2" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif;"><strong><span class="Apple-converted-space">How</span></strong><span class="Apple-converted-space"> <strong>much? </strong></span></span></p> <p class="p2" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica;"><span class="Apple-converted-space" style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif;">The price starts at $24.</span></p> <p class="p2" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica;"> </p> <p class="p1" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif;"><strong>When?<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></strong></span></p> <p class="p1" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif;">The schedule depends on your availability as the course is fully customized.<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></span></p> <p class="p1" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica;"> </p> <p class="p1" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif;"><strong>Where?<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></strong></span></p> <p class="p1" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif;">We use our in-house <strong>digital platform NihaoCafe </strong>to help you connect with your teacher, review class notes, and schedule classes.<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></span></p> <p class="p1" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica; padding-left: 40px;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif;">• Online Chinese Class content and teacher’s notes automatically get recorded into the system, so it’s easy to <strong>review your classes<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></strong></span></p> <p class="p1" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica; padding-left: 40px;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif;">• There’s a huge teaching <strong>resource database</strong>, so you can prepare for your future online Chinese classes in advance<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></span></p> <p class="p1" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica; padding-left: 40px;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif;">• There is an online course <strong>arrangement system </strong>that manages your booked Chinese classes – to guarantee that wherever you are, you and your teachers can stay informed about the online Mandarin class schedule and changes<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></span></p> <p class="p1" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica; padding-left: 40px;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif;">• Teachers can also add their <strong>own courseware </strong>including webpages, PowerPoint presentations, videos, etc. into the system anytime<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></span></p> <p class="p2" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica; padding-left: 40px;"> </p> <p class="p1" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica; padding-left: 40px;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif;">• Our professional <strong>IT team </strong>is online 24 hours a day, ready to solve any unexpected issues<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></span></p> <p class="p1" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica; padding-left: 40px;"> </p> <p class="p1" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica; padding-left: 40px;"> </p> <p class="p1" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif;"><span class="Apple-converted-space"><strong>CONTACT</strong>:</span></span></p> <p class="p1" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica;"> </p> <p class="p1" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica;"><span style="font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt;">Website: https://www.thatsmandarin.com<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></span></p> <p class="p1" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica;"><span style="font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt;">Email: [email protected]<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></span></p> <p class="p1" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica;"> </p> <p class="p1" style="margin: 0px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica;"><span style="font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt;">Phone: +86 10 8448 9799<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></span></p>

Speakitaly NYC

<p>SPEAKITALY NYC offers stimulating and entertaining lessons for children 0 to 16 years through a wide combination of activities based on the communicative approach anchored in the Common European Framework of Reference: active learning (group work, role plays, etc.) and practice exercises aimed to improve listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Kids will start speaking and using Italian in a very natural way.  Small classes capped at 6 students to make sure each one gets the needed attention and facilitate learners' progress. </p> <p>Our method is driven by a didactic method that is the result of constant updates, professional certifications and more than 10 years of experience in working with non-native speakers from different native languages and levels of knowledge.</p> <p>Our aim is to develop a range of Italian language skills while improving accuracy that will enable the students and participants to interact without stress or feeling rushed. We want to help those in the community really embrace not only the true culture in Italy but the Italian culture within New York City… Who doesn’t love what Italy represents in the kitchen, in history & in the arts?</p> <p>Speakitaly wants to support multilingual families who want to learn a new language or pass along their ancestor’s heritage and culture. Raffaella, the founder said: "We see language awareness and intercultural sensitivity as the milestones for an inclusive society. Italian, like all other languages, is an enrichment and a growth in every way. Vi aspettiamo!"</p>

Broadway Dance Center Children and Teens

<p dir="ltr">With more than 35 years of experience, Broadway Dance Center Children & Teens provides young movers ages 3-18 with exceptional training. BDC delivers the finest all-around dance experience for students by offering a wide variety of styles and levels, performance opportunities, and the highest caliber dance instruction that only New York City and BDC Children & Teens can provide.</p> <p dir="ltr">This studio is so much more than a training course for young dancers; it is a diverse, family-friendly community for budding creatives. It has an exemplary faculty who follow the vision to not only develop a dancer’s love and ability in dance, but to do so in a nurturing and supportive way.</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-16583089-7fff-d8a9-61c2-8f689f7348b2"></span></p>