What should I do before my child turns two and ready for preschool? How do I provide an enriching experience? Should I consider a toddler class? If I do, which ones, where do I even start?
And many more questions ran in our mind few months ago and Little did W3 knew that NYC had over 4800 toddler classes and over 20 enrichment areas to choose from. Damn, this felt like we were in one of those make to order yogurt places with unlimited toppings and flavors to choose from.
Recently, I received quite a few questions around what classes does Siya goes to and how did we choose. Ultimately, it’s about engaging in the right activities with your toddler that can increase his or her readiness for preschool and kindergarten while providing valuable bonding experiences for both of you. We are no experts in this field, but thought about sharing our experience and tips that might be helpful.
Where to Start
Just like you, Little did W3 knew where to start and how to maneuver through this maze. We were stuck in a classic phenomenon of overchoice; when many equivalent choices are available. Talking to my mom, I got my first break-through in debugging this paralyzing process of too many choices. She simply told me two things; what do you want for Siya to be? and What does she enjoy?
- What life skills you want your child to have?
Nikhil and I don’t know what Siya will be and where she will end up? However, we know the key life skills we want Siya to have; Problem-Solving (think critically and be curious), Reading (learn new things and test understanding), Collaboration (value of teamwork and empathy) and Communication (share thoughts succinctly and diplomatically).
2. Know your child
The life skills and what Siya likes to do became the basis for us to identify the enrichment areas. Siya has always been curious, enjoys athletic activities especially involving her favorite word “ball”, is interested in how things fit together, and wants to learn the world through books, music and observation.
Siya’s Enrichment Areas
|Reading||Story time, Music|
Narrow down your choices
For us this was not a big criterion because midtown west does not have many choices so we decided to define our boundaries based on where Via or Uber could take her 😊!! a.k.a. within the limit of Manhattan island
I causally started researching using my favorite friend google and typing the enrichment areas and available classes in NYC. I also tapped into some great local resources listed below.
- The Parent League of New York has an amazing “Let’s play” guide book that has list of classes and different activities that are available in NYC.
- Mommy Poppinsis another great online resource to see the different classes and activities happening in NYC.
- New York Public Libraryis a great free resource for fun story times, puppet, art& craft and lego activities
Try it Out
Most of the classes offer a free trial classes so definitely try few of them and see if your child is enjoying it and also you liking. You can also use Kidspass; it is a great resource to help you try multiple classes without commitment and it helps add variety in your toddler’s life.
We tried over 20-30 classes and may be 4-5 in each enrichment area to ensure that we were picking the best that worked for us. For example, for Music we tried James with Music, Gymboree Music and ABC Do Re Me and we liked ABC DO Re Me so we signed up for their seasonal pass.
Siya loves her toddler classes and she is always excited to go to them whether it is a day at the library with her favorite Peppa book or mingling with her friend in her Parkbench class to her being a curious innovator in her STEM class to finally swimming like a fish at her swim class.
If you don’t know have too many choices in your area for enrichment classes then go to the local library/book store for story time, you can buy couple toddler sports equipment at home such as basketball hoop, golf, etc.
Feel free to email with any questions or just reach out if you want to someone just hear you and we’d love it if you would share your experience!!