2018 Orientation: Jayla Jackson

Editor’s note: During each Chips Quinn orientation and multimedia training in Nashville, Tenn., in May, scholars are required to complete a multimedia reporting assignment. Their work is displayed here.

Video: Gymboree Play & Music, Nashville

Jayla Jackson

Child-development program offers interactive activities
by Jayla Jackson

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — For Katie Schottingre, managing the energy her 7-month-old daughter Ruth carries around can be trying at times.

“Every day I hope she burns off some energy so she can go home and sleep,” Schottingre said.

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Ruth Shottingre tests her upper-body strength by holding herself up during an exercise designed for infants at Gymboree Play & Music in Nashville, Tenn.(Photo: Jayla Jackson)

That’s one reason Schottingre and her infant daughter paid their first visit to the Gymboree Play and Music franchise: so that Ruth can burn calories, and do so in a classroom setting while gaining new skills.

The Baby Lab program aims to help parents learn about their infant’s cognitive, physical and social development in an interactive way.

“I like the different stages and areas … The pacing of the class was quick, and not only would I like her to interact with babies, but be able to crawl in a safe place at home,” Schottingre said.

During the class Ruth took a crack at crawling through a tunnel, which is designed to help with spatial development. The room also has small ramps for babies to crawl on to build upper- and lower-body strength.

“Sometimes tunnels are long, dark and a little scary,” said Jenny Kline, a Gymboree instructor. “Whenever a kid sees their grown-up at the end of that tunnel it encourages them to try new things.”

Kline has incorporated music into child-development exercises since 2015. And the curriculum uses games to enhance a child’s cognitive skills.

“Everything we do has an educational goal behind it,” Kline said.

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Ruth Shottingre crawls on a play structure, improving her balance. (Photo: Jayla Jackson)

Nashville Gymboree owner Nicole Khalaf introduced the program to her son when he was younger and has enjoyed providing opportunities for other children to develop their sensory, auditory and visual skills while playing.

“They bond with other kids but know that mom is coming back. It’s a good class for first-time moms,” said Khalaf, whose 3-year-old daughter currently attends classes.

“It’s nice to see the kids grow up and have a smile on their face,” said Khalaf.

The Gymboree Play and Music franchise, which offers programming for children up to age 5, has operated across the country for more than 40 years.

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