Dear Mari-Ann & Gymbaroo,
I would personally like to thank you for giving my son & daughter the best possible start to their future education and life.
When my son, Joshua, was 2 we heard about Gymbaroo through friends and thought it may be a good learning experience to prepare him for school. That was 4 years ago! Now he is excelling in grade 1 and his place at Gymbaroo has been filled by my daughter, Alicia, now 3.
Alicia was only crawling when she started Gymbaroo. She was shy and reserved and wouldn't engage in activities with other children. She is now a very confident, graceful little girl who now possesses the necessary fine motor skills to perform gymnastics at a level above her normal age group. Maybe it is because she has honed her skills on all your fantastic climbing and balancing equipment!
Gymbaroo has also been a great educational experience for me personally as the handouts and teachings I have received over the years have helped me to understand the development phases of my children. It has given me the skills and confidence to help my children through these stages.
Even though Josh graduated from Gymbaroo over 2 years ago he still asks after Mari-Ann. The impression that you have left on him will last for a long time yet. I just wish that some of his school teachers had the skills and caring that you do. The world would be a better place if they did.
My children are not gifted physically or mentally, they have just been given a better start by attending Gymbaroo through the important development years.
Again, thank you Mari-Ann. And my children thank you too.
Father of Joshua & AliciaAdam - Vermont South
Our eldest daughter was 5 weeks old when we first attended Gymbaroo. I was looking for ideas of what to do with a new baby. I could think of things to do with a toddler, but what do you do with a new bub?! I got plenty of ideas for activities and received so much more than we went looking for : One of the great things about Gymbaroo is that it is not aiming to make "Superkids" but to ensure that each developmental stage is as rich as possible so that the kids have a solid foundation before going onto the next stage. Each kid can be the best they can. Variety of Activities - physical, musical, language, problem solving. Interaction with kids, parents and teachers - we've enjoyed friendships as a result. Positive, nurturing, encouraging atmosphere. Didn't feel like I had to be the perfect parent but plenty of tips to try and encouragement to keep trying through ups and downs of life with kids! Simple, inexpensive, effective ideas to do at home. Positive approach (realistic, too) eg "Remember your bag" instead of "Don't forget", Giving kids choice between two acceptable alternatives rather than dictating or leaving options too open, using specific praise rather than saying "Good girl" eg "good listening, well done, good effort." Parenting tips are invaluable - both general things discussed in handouts and specific times when we'd ask about what a child was doing now. Referrals to other services for special attention, where necessary. So much fun! Lovely to have time dedicated to focussing on child. Our kids are well co-ordinated and confident in their bodies' abilities. Children treated as individuals - some jump in straight away, some watch for a while, all are valued. Even kids "misbehaving" are treated respectfully, but clear boundaries set. This also illustrates strategies that may be helpful for parents to try. Advice given without strings attached. Parental Education in manageable sized pieces - weekly handout rather than reading a tome! Illustrations/examples to make it understandable plus practical ways to apply the info. More expensive than some activities you can do with kids, but we always felt we were getting value for our money. We valued it so much we started each of our three kids at around 6 weeks old. Even when the budget was tight, we made Gymbaroo a priority. Carolyn, Bill, with Rachel, Leah and ShaunCarolyn and Bill - Blackburn
When Dylan was born we wanted to make sure that we did everything possible to give him the best start in life.
We read as much as we could and ultimately discovered that pretty much everything we learnt about early childhood development was encapsulated in Gymbaroo.
We went along to a class and have been going ever since. That was over 18 months ago, and Dylan, who is now 3Â½, has been moving ahead in leaps and bounds.
We continue to put a lot of work into his physical and mental growth at home, but a lot of what he is now can be directly attributed to the Gymbaroo program.
This is not only due to the sessions Dylan has with Mari-Ann and the friendly staff at Gymbaroo Mitcham; it also comes down to the fact that we as parents are learning great ways to facilitate his development.
Effectively Gymbaroo becomes a double-edged program; it gives the child a period of learning, stimulation and fun each week, as well as equipping parents with the skills necessary to assist their child in every facet of their growth.
If we ever needed convincing about the benefits of Gymbaroo it was done for us the first time we went along. We were made to feel welcome, Dylan was made to feel special and there was a real sense that what we were doing was absolutely the right thing.
There is no greater gift you can give to your child than putting them a kick ahead of the game; Gymbaroo is without doubt one of the best things we have found to do that.
Dave and NatalieDave and Natalie - Ringwood
Gymbaroo was recommended to me by a friend and I started coming to Gymbaroo with Jemma when she was six months old. I thought it would be a fun activity I could do with my baby. It was fun but I soon discovered it was so much more. I was learning about my child's development and things that I could do to ensure that she was getting the best start in life and she loved it!
The knowledge, support, encouragement, and advice from the staff have been invaluable. Giving reassurance when I had concerns about development when all was normal and suggesting activities, strategies and external supports when required.
When my second daughter, Ashley, came along I started taking her earlier at just three months of age and she too loves Gymbaroo.
I have been coming to Gymbaroo for almost four years and I've seen my children develop many skills. Through the activities and routines they have learnt about rules and boundaries, to listen and follow instructions and they have developed confidence with climbing and other physical activities. At Gymbaroo they have access to equipment that they would not otherwise have. There is freedom for them to explore and utilize the variety of equipment whilst learning to use it safely. Sharing and taking turns is another important attribute learnt at Gymbaroo. They both love mat time with the music and dance and especially "upside down time". The activities at mat time are often "played" at home and new skills are proudly displayed to family and friends. They always look forward to Gymbaroo and insist on listening to the Gymbaroo music in the car on the way. It is wonderful watching your children enjoy themselves so much and not even realize that it is helping them in so many ways.
As a parent I too have learnt so much about the important stages of my children's development, their behavior and special interests. I have learnt techniques to encourage my children positively, how to discipline them in ways that won't quash their self esteem, simple activities to encourage their brain development and all while spending precious time with my kids.Debbie - Glen Waverley
27th May 2004
(Mum of Isabella, 3 year old Possum™, 11:00 am Wednesdays)
Isabella's eyes light up when I remind her that tomorrow we go to gymbaroo.
She enjoys the anticipation, listening to Gymbaroo music in the car, the set activities upon arrival, the new word for the day, the variety of play equipment and, best of all, the structured activities during mat time.
I enjoy spending time with Isabella and seeing her develop listening skills, coordination, balance, body awareness and being part of a group. I also see when she lacks confidence but is given support and encouragement by the skilled staff.
I have gained vital information about children's developmental stages and guidance to help me work with Isabella's particular needs outside the Gymbaroo classroom.
My advice to parents considering Gymbaroo is take advantage of any information/orientation sessions, buy the tape of Gymbaroo music to play at home and join in the activities at the classes. I sometimes feel silly, especially when I try to sing at mat time, but Isabella thrives on Gymbaroo. It is fun and it is a fantastic opportunity to help grow the skills she will need for her future life at school.Felicity - Forest Hill
Gymbaroo has been such a fantastic programme to be involved with. I have been taking our son since he was 4 months old. The welcome we receive every week from the team at Mitcham Magic Gymbaroo has made it a pleasure and an important part of our weekly activities. The developmental information we receive each week, allows us to follow up at home with activities and games. As a result of this knowledge and the nurturing approach at Gymbaroo, our son is thriving in all areas. He loves going to Gymbaroo and now sings the songs in the morning before our lesson! Another wonderful aspect has been the support and advice we have received from the staff when we have been moving through a new 'developmental' or 'difficult' toddler patch! The encouragement and practical strategies to deal with changes to our son's behaviour and varying levels of confidence as he learns new skills and makes another developmental leap, has been invaluable. As a primary teacher, specialising in learning difficulties and language development, I can see how important the neuro links focused on at Gymbaroo are, to overall childhood development and learning once at school. If only all children had access to such an effective and well focused, sequenced and supported developmental program from an early age. Thanks to all of the team at Mitcham Magic!Fiona Hall - Mitcham
I started taking my two-year-old son to Gymbaroo four months ago because I was looking for a fun program to help with his development in a way that would be enjoyable for both him and me. I had heard of Gymbaroo years ago from other friends with children and thought that I would see if it were as worthwhile as they said. It has proved to be so.
I have seen my son's co-ordination improve, his speech advance and his confidence grow. He is much more aware of his environment and his relationship to that environment and his ability to cope within that environment. I have also grown in confidence with my ability to deal with situations as they develop with him. As my son develops, I am more aware of the way that I respond to him. If a situation arises and I am not sure what is the best way to cope with it, I can always chat with one of the teachers at Gymbaroo and get advice on techniques to best help him achieve what he wants to do.
I started my son in a development program at the age of six months and would strongly recommend it to all mums of young babies. Although you can enrol your child at an older age, I think that, to reap the greatest benefits for your child, it is best to start them as soon as possible. There is no risk to a young baby as all of the equipment is baby safe and the programs are age- and ability-specific. You can encourage your childâ€™s development, confident that you are not pushing them too hard, too soon and that you are helping to build a stronger bond of love and trust between you both.
Mother of Mark, aged two.Gemma - Mitcham
I first found out about Gymbaroo from a friend who was going. It came highly recommended and I decided it was a great opportunity to spend some quality time with Cameron. Time that was free from interruptions and based on FUN. Cameron started at 10 months in Term 1 2000 and finished at just before he turned 4 Term 4 2002. Gymbaroo was a highlight of the week. I enjoyed the time we spent together and Cam loved the music, the singing, the dancing and the climbing. We bought the Gymbaroo tapes and the music was regularly used to comfort him both in the car and at night for bed.
Gymbaroo also provided an avenue to ask questions about physical and cognitive development from a different perspective to that of the health centre nurse.
Cameron is now involved in tennis, swimming, soccer and football and has good hand eye coordination as well as good phyiscal coordination which can be attributed to his early involvement in Gymbaroo.
Cameron also enjoys learning (reading and writing) and doing new things. I think this may have come from the Gymbaroo book and the new word each week.
Term 1 2003 we enroled our second child Rebecca in Gymbaroo, she is also enjoying and benefiting from Gymbaroo in the same way her brother did.
Kerrie with Cameron and RebeccaKerrie - Blackburn
Gymbaroo is more than child development. More than giving my child a good start. More than a truck load of fun. It's about understanding this pure ball of joy and love you have in your life and making that understanding real to them. My son and i travel 3 hours by car, train and bicycle to Mitcham Gymbaroo. It's created an adventure and a bond with my son i'll be forever grateful for. Thanks Mitcham Gymbaroo.Louise Schultze - Woodside
My son and I have been enjoying Gymbaroo since he was 6 weeks old. We originally joined after reading an advertisement explaining how the program lays the foundations for successful intellectual development. As new parents we thought wow this is want we want for our son. Attending Gymabroo for over two years as taught me valuable skills I can practice daily to enhance his development. Weekly we participate in a class filled with specially designed activities which are not only fun but challenge him physically and intellectually. I’ve learnt so much from our teacher who never fails to show enthusiasm and excitement towards the children’s achievements in class. I often sit back in class and admire my son. He has become more confident within the group, participating in most activities. He particularly loves the climbing time but has learnt to follow the structured program Gymbaroo provides. The supportive environment encourages him to attempt new tasks and I have learnt to feel comfortable and respect his feelings when he doesn’t feel like joining in. Although my husband cannot attend classes the regular handouts deepen our understanding of our sons stage of development, they make great bedtime reading. Gymbaroo is great !!!
Michelle KevillMichelle - Blackburn North
After not being involved with Gymbaroo now for at least 5 years, I'm revisiting it as part of study involving Early Childhood Enrichment Programs. It's now that I ask myself, "Is the start that Gymbaroo gave our eldest son the reason he now reads a least two years above his age level?" I have no doubt that it is. And the best part is what you learn with your first rubs off on the second...and the third. :)Mike and Bindi - One Tree Hill
I have been involved with gymbaroo for nearly three years now, having started my eldest daughter at five months and the youngest at six weeks. Being pregnant I am already planning how I will manage to involve my third child in the program too.
At first, I expected a simple exercise class for the children, aimed at their level and an hour out of the house for me. Having had it recommended by a few friends and family I decided to give it a go and I am very glad I did. It is certainly more than that.
The classes are carefully designed by well trained teachers specifically for our child’s particular stage of development. The children just feel like they are playing as the sessions are positive, fun and full of variety – dance, floor exercises, pre-reading activities, treasure bag activities, parachute, big equipment where the children go climbing and crawling and balancing and are challenged by a variety of different equipment., music, rhythm.
Both my girls love gymbaroo and ask regularly if today is the day. It is a social time as well as learning time, where the children look forward to seeing their friends and we as parents look forward to that too.
One thing I really love is that it provides such a supportive environment, where the children and parents are encouraged to reach their full potential without ever being compared to others. We all know that it doesn’t really matter when your child reaches their milestones, but in the early days I always felt concerned when someone the same age as my eldest child reached their milestone before her. My teacher would always be so encouraging with her development and skills that she was acquiring that I would be quickly reassured that she was fine and that we develop at different stages. What I also really appreciated was the home activities and reading which give you ideas to do with your child at home and further encourage their development.
My teacher is well educated in children’s development, not only physically, but also all round development and she is regularly being asked advice by different parents with varying problems. She is so approachable, positive, sensible, encouraging and knowledgeable that if I have a problem with one of my children I ask her advice and she has always given me good ideas to try.
Unfortunately, my eldest daughter has my genes and is not outstanding in the physical arena, but with the help of gymbaroo she holds her own with her peers. When we are at the park with her friends, she carries over the climbing, hanging and balancing skills that she has learnt and practiced at gymbaroo into the equipment there and confidently does many things that her friends can’t do or are reluctant to try. She oozes with pride when people comment on her skills. This confidence is something that she has developed over a period of time in a safe and supportive environment at gymbaroo.
As a primary teacher, I felt I was pretty well equipped in understanding the importance of brain development at an early age leading into school age and expected appropriate skills. I don’t think I was. At gymbaroo we have different activities to do with our children and an explanation of what it is doing for our children’s overall brain development, from exercises to massage. It constantly amazes me what we can do as parents to help in our child’s development. We are their best teacher and with the help of programs like gymbaroo to educate us to educate them, I think we can help make a great start.
I look forward to further involvement with Gymbaroo over the next 5 years.
RuthRuth - Forest Hill
30 May 2004
Simone (Psychologist), David (3½ years) and Stephanie (2 years)
Gymbaroo is a great educational process for both the parent and child in a group setting. We originally came to Gymbaroo when David was 10 months old to learn how to assist in his physical and mental development. I saw an advertisement regarding Gymbaroo in Melbourne’s Child and investigated several other programs before making a decision. Gymbaroo impressed me because it offers a holistic developmental approach in a fun and respectful environment.
We have never outgrown Gymbaroo and I find that there is continued learning and development. It is often the highlight of the week’s activities. It is a special time that I can spend with each child and invest in their potential.
Gymbaroo has given our children skills in physical coordination, a wide range of motor skills as well as confidence in group participation, language and following instructions which will assist their transition into kinder and school. Gymbaroo covers everything from climbing to rhythm and music, dance, language and ball skills. The equipment provided at Gymbaroo gives you access to experiences that you can’t provide at home or in the playground.
Thanks to many helpful hints I have confidence in knowing how to present activities to my children which allows them to be comfortable learning new skills and which is respectful of my child’s abilities. Gymbaroo creates a great learning experience and allows them to try new things without being afraid of failure. I understand how my child’s brain develops and what I can do to make the most of this window of opportunity.
I would strongly encourage any parent to give it a try and decide for yourself.Simone - Nunawading
Thank you so much for the wonderful experience you gave to Kobe and I whilst we were on holiday from Japan. Five weeks later, and Kobe still asks for his flash cards and to do the activities that we did at gymbaroo. He still gets so excited whenever we mention gymbaroo!! I look forward to bringing him back again next July. I just wish gymbaroo could start up near us in Japan.Tanya - Japan
My daughter is 2 years and 4 months old, she has been going to GymbaROO since she was 6 months old. It has been of the best things that I’ve done for her and myself. As a mum, it makes me feel good about the fact that I am giving my daughter the best start in life. It also makes me feel very proud of her as I get to see her grow in GymbaROO classes and out of them both mentally and physically based on what she has seen and learnt at GymbaROO.
For example, I was so proud of her when she automatically put her arms in the ‘parachute’ position while doing upside down (when she was much younger). Or in the car she requested the ‘hello song’ and dances to it well before she could talk. She would communicate by making sounds and swaying her head to tell me she wanted music, then by nodding in approval or shaking her head. If I sung something other than the hello song she would shake her head and frown (I have the cutest videos). Her second favourite song is the ‘goodbye’ song followed by the ‘treasure bag’ song even today (and she knows over 10 other songs)!
When I ask her “what will we do after nigh nighs (bed time)?” she mostly says GymbaROO! When we can’t make a class, I feel like I’m letting her down so we try to make the closest make up class. When the class has ended, she always wants a refresher stamp on her right hand so that she can show what the word of the week was to her Dad at home.
I feel fortunate that I have this history and future opportunity to see her grow in a classroom environment. I’m also proud of the way she waits for her name to be called out to collect her book (which will be nothing new to her when she goes to school) and how she recognises her name tag out of tens of other names every time.
She will be a big sister in August 2013. I am looking forward to taking my next little one to GymbaROO too!
Mitcham GymbaROOTina - Mitcham
Whilst I have you, just wanted to let you know that our daughter Olivia is loving Gymbaroo. She has learnt so much. Her favourite thing to do is to jump on the trampoline!! The teacher, Erin is absolutely wonderful and really encouraging. It's great that you can offer such a wonderful programe to the community. Good on you.
Kind regardsYvonne - Donvale