Gymboree’s Early Education Programs Bring Out the Best in Young Learners

Founded more than 40 years ago in Northern California, Gymboree has grown to become one of the world’s leaders in early education, with branches throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia. 

The school’s teaching philosophy makes learning fun and engaging, with lessons that focus on discovery, exploration, problem-solving, and decision-making for children zero to six years old. Their mommy and me lessons follow the same global theme rotation and activities, which gives Gymboree families an immediate connection with people around the world. Gymboree’s unique play equipment was created by Jay Beckwith, an experienced playground designer, and equipment layouts are changed every three weeks for a total of nine playground layouts to encourage excitement, challenge, and failure. The school’s original music program features genres ranging from African and Indigenous Nations of America to Abba, Queen, and Broadway.

Gymboree’s curriculum helps children gain the key physical, social, emotional, and cognitive skills they need to be prepared for school and a lifetime of learning. As Nicole Yamada, vice-president and COO of Gymboree International Preschool & After School, explained, this is particularly crucial when it comes to social skills. “A very important part of our program is to help children develop the seven key social skills—confidence, self-control, communication, intentionality, relatedness, curiosity, and cooperation—which will help them succeed in life. At Gymboree, we believe that between the ages of zero and five years is the best time for children to gain self-confidence, discover their interests, and develop a global mindset.”

Through their original Global Kids program, Gymboree teaches children about diversity and respect for others through culturally themed music and art activities. During the kindergarten class circle time, children take turns pulling a flag out of a hat and they are taught where the country is located on the map, how they say “hello” in the country’s language, and are introduced to the culture through music, photos, and videos. This internationalism is brought to life by Gymboree’s diverse teaching staff and student base. 

Putting the Child at Center Stage

One way Gymboree differs from other schools is that their play, music, and art activities are child-led, which gives young learners the freedom to explore, discover, and express themselves independently. As Yamada explained, “Our art classes focus on free art and group murals or projects, and free movement and instrument exploration are an important part of our music and dance classes. At Gymboree, children are encouraged to be creative and use their imaginations instead of copying the teacher. Giving children the opportunity to make their own decisions and take turns leading the class not only makes our program unique but also helps children develop self-confidence and a sense of belonging.” 

In addition to being a school for children, Gymboree is a global community where parents can meet, mingle, and learn from each other’s parenting experiences. Their daily open playgyms are a great place for children and parents to make new friends and interact with families from around the world. All members are also invited to attend a variety of seasonal events held throughout the year. Given Gymboree’s long history around the world, the school in Tokyo currently has teachers and students who have attended Gymboree in other countries.

With a unique and well-tested curriculum, a whole-child learning philosophy that puts children first, and a warm, welcoming environment, Gymboree Play & Music and Gymboree International School programs offer an unrivaled early educational experience. 


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