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Teaching At Age Zero

Oct 23 · Acorn Activities

Early childhood expert Sebhia Dibra speaks with Acorn about newborns, iPads and that tune we all can’t get out of our heads

How early is too early to start at Gymboree?
We get 20 day-old babies starting here at Gymboree. Ninety percent of neuro pathways are set in the first year of life. It is very important to get babies in new environments and teach parents how to stimulate their child as early as possible.

What can a 20 day-old baby learn?
When we turn on the bubble machine, the babies are staring at bubbles in the air and learn about spatial awareness. When parents touch their babies’ noses, it is about sensory development. Parachute time is about understanding distances. This all helps gross motor skill development. We see babies kicking, moving about, pointing their fingers, all signs of early communication.

What are today’s Brooklyn parents like?
Brooklyn parents know early on they need to sign up for kids activities as soon as possible. And new moms and dads need to learn from eachother for survivial. In Park Slope, Brooklyn, where we have a lot of educators, they understand the importance to equip their kids with these tools from the get go.

What do you do when you see parents or caregivers more involved on their phones than on their child?
Research says when a child is ignored by adults who are busy on their phones, it is the equivalent of negligence. It does the same or similar damage to the child as neglect does. Symptoms such as meltdowns or ADD can manifest and this could make a child more insecure.

What’s it like to teach a child in the age of iPads?
Our gym is made for pre-schoolers and we focus on teaching awareness. Our students work on something for one hour, and in that one hour they are so focused. When they are finished with a task, they take a break then move on to the next task. That’s more focused than a regular six hours in that child’s life.

What do you do when a child won’t follow instructions?
This one child could not sit in a class, but he was really good at snowboarding and math. Luckily, he was recognized and rewarded for his talents when he was young, and not made to feel shamed for not behaving like other kids. Now he is working with a leading snowboarding company developing pitches and concepts for kids who cannot sit still.

Gymboree focuses a lot on music as well. What are the new classics in baby music?
When we play Baby Shark in our concerts, all the kids get up and dance. The YouTube videos are so addictive.

Book a play session at Gymboree Park Slope here

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