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Are classes really necessary?

I was wondering how everyone feels about organized classes for infants/toddlers/preschoolers.

Where I live it seems everyone has their children in a variety of classes - Little Gym, Gymboree, swimming, etc. I did try a class with my son when he was young but he hated it - didn't like changing activities every 5 minutes, didn't like having to do what the group did, didn't adapt to the changes fast so just stood and watched mostly. Both this and the swim lessons I'm now doing with my youngest only have the types of games its real easy to do on our own at home.
So, what are the benefits to these group classes? Are they really necessary for any kind of development? Do we need to teach infants and toddlers to follow along with the group instead of playing in their own creative way? We do belong to Moms Club and do playgroups and many social activities, so to me the classes are not needed for this.

Answer Question

Asked by dottieanna29 at 12:26 PM on Feb. 26, 2009 in General Parenting

Level 3 (26 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • I don't think the classes are really necessary for the young chlldren

    I attend playgroups because I'm a SAHM and I like to get out of the house and interact with other mother's. I also like my child to interact with little ones so she can learn how to share, etc.
    As for ORGANIZED classes I FEEL they are completely unnecessary. JMO.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:29 PM on Feb. 26, 2009

  • Children need their parents at this stage of life. I was a preschool teacher, and parents are the vital resource missing in most kids lives. Classes are something parents think their kids need. Parents are the proven link to rise a happy child.

    Answer by ColleenF30 at 12:30 PM on Feb. 26, 2009

  • A childs most important teacher is a parent :) They do not need classes at all!

    Answer by TessaBianca at 12:32 PM on Feb. 26, 2009

  • I put my daughter in a gymnastics class specifically so she would learn the organization and to follow along before she went into school. She has a blast doing it, but I'm glad she is learning these skills

    Answer by kabbot01 at 12:32 PM on Feb. 26, 2009

  • Necessary? No. Fun and beneficial? Can be, yes.

    It sounds like the class you put your son in was a bad fit. Many young kids don't do well with quick changes and "you must do this / you must sit still" type classes. Mine doesn't. We tried a mommy & me music class - literally just singing songs (the parents sang) and playing with shakers or little drums. My daughter would not sit in my lap and participate and she (naturally) wouldn't stop picking up the little drums even though the teacher kept insisting. This was a class for 18 months to 2.5 years. Really - how could she expect them to NOT pick up what looks like a toy? When she started getting a little nasty about it, we dropped the class.


    Answer by kaycee14 at 12:40 PM on Feb. 26, 2009

  • Necessary no, good for a child to be around other peers their own age, yes, very. I think as an infant they only need their parents and family but as they get older it's a great idea to introduce your child to other children. It helps immensily in the transition from being home to going to school.

    Answer by happyathomemum at 12:44 PM on Feb. 26, 2009

  • What does my daughter get out of the classes we do take? She is slowly learning to follow a short group activity, to listen to a teachers directions, and to share equipment with other children.

    We take a mommy & me art class that simply has three tables set up with a different activity at each table. The kids are free to wander from table to table and do the activity any way they want. There is no "right" way to plop paint on paper.
    We take a mommy & me PlayBall class. We run around and practice listening to the teacher, chase hoops, throw & kick balls, etc. Very basic sports skills.
    We take a mommy & me gymnastics class. It starts with a short group activity of warm up exercises all designed to help keep little ones interested. Then it's just free play with the kids running around playing on the mats and equipment.

    A good class needs to match your child's age and abilities. Then it's worth it.

    Answer by kaycee14 at 12:47 PM on Feb. 26, 2009

  • infant and a lot of toddler classes I dont really "get" but at the age of 3 or so I think children SHOULD start to get some experience following simple directions, and start to build their attention spans. Especially if they are only children, playgroups, IMO can be a great and inexpensive way to accomplish this, as can little classes like you described. Like other posters have said you just have to make sure the class "fits" you and your child!

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:46 PM on Feb. 26, 2009

  • Always do what is best for you and your child. Every family and child is different and has different needs and enjoys different things. When they are young it may be hard to find a good fit. Wait another year and try again. I will say from my own experience that as they get older classes and sports etc are very beneficial. All 5 of my kids are into something different. Violin, soccer, art whatever. Leaves them very little time to find trouble.

    Answer by salexander at 2:52 PM on Feb. 26, 2009

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