Charlotte families are lucky to have many options when it comes to choosing activities for their little ones. For many years, we offered the typical “one class per week + several hours of open gym” model. However, we found that very few families really got the full value of their monthly membership, due to things like:
Constantly changing nap and other schedules
Beautiful weather that always seemed to happen on scheduled class days (even if the weather always seemed rotten on days that Gymboree wasn't an option!)
Afternoon traffic that peaked during our afternoon "Open Gym" times
A kiddo just having a bad day
Any myriad of other unpredictable things that come with having a baby, toddler or preschooler (since once you find their shoes hidden in their toybox, the class is over!)
Though we offered a liberal make-up policy, families found managing make-up classes to be frustrating and inefficient. In addition, we noticed that families would bring mildly sick kids to class and tell us that they did so to “avoid losing what we already paid for.”
Families also found the cost of our programs quite high, given that they were only able to use our facility a few hours a month. This concern was even greater for families with more than one child.
So, what did we do about it?
In January 2016, we decided to stop trying to convince parents that our outdated model was the best one for families. Instead, we used extensive feedback from hundreds of families with children ages 0-5 years to create an entirely new alternative for Charlotte families – one that is designed to precisely meet the needs that today’s families told us were not being met. We started from “What would your dream place look like?” and built from there.
Families overwhelming love the new model. They have infinite flexibility and can come on days that are rainy or too hot or too cold to be outside. They can come for 15 minutes at the end of the day or for three hours to help burn off toddler energy! They love that we include art and music in our pricing and always have something new for their little one to explore. They enjoy inviting their friends to join as well, making play dates a cinch! They love that we've found the perfect balance between structured and unstructured time, with optional teacher-led activities every 15 minutes and lots and lots of free play in between. They enjoy having stretches of free play that allow moms (and dads!) to chat and get to know one another, making friends at the same time their child does. They love our very fair pricing and no contracts policy. Overall, they just plain love it!
Oh, and maybe most importantly, there is no longer any pressure to bring "kind of" or "might be getting" sick kids into the site! Between our extremely thorough cleaning protocol and our model that creates no reason to bring sick kids into our site (because there are no scheduled classes to miss!), you can be more confident than ever about bringing your little one to Gymboree! In fact, one mom recently plopped her toddler daughter on our front desk after a long play session...and asked us to look at what had happened to her pants. We were confused because her pants looked just fine to us! The mom laughed and said that was her point - after two hours of crawling and shimmying and climbing, her daughter's white pants remained bright white! We had a good laugh too!
The best way to learn what makes us different is to come to see for yourself! Ask lots of questions and talk to currently-enrolled members.