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All Hail The “Naughty” Children

August 18, 2011

A Gymboree co-teacher showed me a blog entry last week. In it, the mom recounts her experience with a certain dance school where she took her 3-year old daughter for her first ballet class. In a nutshell, the little girl’s ballerina dreams were crushed because the dance teacher said things like, “Put her in her place”, “I am getting mad”, “She does not know how to obey” and finally…

“We will show her we are disciplined here and naughty kids go to Gymboree.”

WOW. Three years old. She was lifted off the class floor and unceremoniously dumped in her mom’s arms, from what I gather. “Give her mom a refund”, the teacher said.

Needless to say, the poor child was heartbroken and my own heart was crushed. All she wanted to do was wear a tutu and pink slippers and dance, dance, dance. Apart from that, my eyebrows shot up a mile with the statement regarding Gymboree. We’ve always been proud in the way we relate to children and their parents. We’re very hands-on and their children become a part of our lives. In my ten years of being a Gymboree teacher, never have I heard that Gymboree is for “naughty children.” It was said so pointedly and even the other children were parroting it – “Naughty children go to Gymboree!!”

In Gymboree, we sing a welcome song, clapping our hands, encouraging the children to do the same. Some of them will do so, but most of them will not. Most of them will stand up and dance the Welcome song instead. When I ask my kids to roll the ball down the slide, they sometimes throw it over the side in delight. When I ask them to walk in a circle, they sometimes wander off to sit on the Rocky Horse or stand by the bridge and watch us from there. We don’t raise our eyebrows at them, or ask them to put their hands behind their back while they stand. How can we, when us teachers sometimes look like this:


Hey don’t get me wrong. I am ALL for discipline and I abhor self-entitlement. But I believe there’s an appropriate disciplinary style for each stage in life. And asking a three-year old to stand still and “behave” while she is in a beautiful pink tutu and ballet slippers with beautiful music filling the room is not just wrong, but cruel.

In Gymboree we encourage our children to explore with their senses –  to feel, to see, to hear, to sing. We guide them up foam steps and over wooden platforms, go under boxes and peer through rungs while pretending to be a sleepy bear. We fly parachutes over their heads and tickle their tummies with streams of bubbles and feathers and foam. We stamp their hands, feet, foreheads and noses, paint their fingers, faces and arms, getting splashed with color from head to toe. Along the way they learn to grope and to grasp, not just with their hands and fingers but also with their minds and hearts. We sing at the top of our voices, make silly faces and animal sounds, throw scarves in the air and hide in tunnels. The children learn that a circle is not just a shape but also a place to gather with friends. They discover that foam blocks can turn into igloos and skyscrapers, that balls can be apples today and pumpkins tomorrow. What we call socialization, dynamic balance, concept development and fine motor skills, they call play. For us teachers, seeing these babies blossom in front of our eyes is a privilege and a gift.

The children love music and they love to dance. They love to sing, they love to paint and they love to jump off platforms. So would that be the definition of “naughty”? Then if that’s so, well then.. C’mon naughty children!! Let’s all go to Gymboree!!!

24 Comments leave one →
  1. August 18, 2011 10:11 am

    Horror naman yan. If that is a ballet school in the Philippines, please tell me where and who this teacher is so we can avoid it (as Sam wants to “do ballet” already).

    Although I did ask here about the structure of their ballet class for 3-year olds and from what I gather it is completely the opposite of the strict structure — they teach ballet movement and grace through creativity and free dance. Let you know how that goes.

    Love the outfit by the way! Ibang level na yan! hahahaha.

    • Eliza permalink
      August 18, 2011 10:20 am

      I shall DM you on Twitter. The ballet school you described sounds like the perfect way to instill a love for movement and dance in a child. Go go go!

      Nice my outfit no? I would wear it more often pero mainit eh. Sayang. Tsk.

      • August 18, 2011 10:32 am

        Yes I will blog about it after we start on Sept 9.
        Sige see you on Twitter.

  2. August 18, 2011 10:13 am

    Even when I didn’t know yet that you taught in Gymboree, I’ve always dreamed of sending my kids there (when I have kids haha). I have friends who send their kids to Gymboree and their kids are the happiest, most active, delightful children I know. So maybe I prefer naughty children 😛 Deadma sa snooty teachers.

    • Eliza permalink
      August 18, 2011 10:20 am

      I shall wait for you and your kids in my class. Wag naman sana na lola na ko ha.

      • August 18, 2011 6:04 pm

        Nakakaloka ang pressure magkaanak! hahahaha :p

  3. Tine permalink
    August 18, 2011 10:30 am

    I went to a ballet school with a super strict teacher for 12 years! BUT she was never mean or malicious. I’m trying to remember what it was that she did or how she did things such that we all felt that she had the warmest of affections for us. She yelled a lot but it was more to push us to do our best. She was so galing talaga, too bad she doesn’t teach anymore.

    Another thing…I love Gymboree!!! And so does my Thiago! who’s not naughty, kulit lang ;P

    • Eliza permalink
      August 18, 2011 10:43 am

      I remember you, the ballerina! Yes I believe there are ways to discipline without being a dream-crusher. The right teacher will inspire you to be your best, not scare you into it!

      Hey where do you bring Thiago?

      • Tine permalink
        August 18, 2011 11:24 am

        Eastwood. Where do you teach? We should catch up = )

      • Eliza permalink
        August 18, 2011 8:04 pm

        Shang! 🙂 Yeah we should catch up! Lunch tayo with Kris!!

  4. August 18, 2011 10:34 am

    I read that post! Horrible. What kind of a person takes pride in humiliating children. She is just one big bully, a huge bitch and a bad for business.

    • Eliza permalink
      August 18, 2011 10:44 am

      I saw your comment! Yes she is “a bad” for business. Green tea?

      • August 18, 2011 12:01 pm

        Hahaha. No green tea to blame today.

  5. Yanna permalink
    August 18, 2011 12:00 pm

    Okay, first off, I have to say that I love the Gymbo outfit! Sahaya is crazy-in-love with the Gymbo stuffed toy in our class (we go to Greenbelt 5), she might never let go of you if she ever sees you wearing that. Haha! Where do you teach? We’d love to be one of your classes! 😉

    Anyway, that ballet teacher is just HORRIBLE. I can’t believe anyone with that kind of temper is allowed to teach a children’s ballet class. Please do DM me where this is… Sahaya and I am on the hunt for other baby classes, and we’d like to avoid ever encountering someone like that. Baka ako ang mag-tantrum, haha!

    And yes, you’re right. All hail the “naughty” children—they are active, inquisitive, adventurous, playful, and sweet. I’m a proud mommy of a very naughty baby!

    • Eliza permalink
      August 18, 2011 8:09 pm

      I teach in Shang! 🙂

      The story really broke my heart. Picking on 3yr olds is shameful. I got a message from a friend that the same thing happened to her and her daughter.

  6. August 18, 2011 3:11 pm

    You teach at Gymboree na ulit? (I remember reading in one of your posts that you don’t anymore for a while). I’m planning to send my daughter there baka next year (branch in Trinoma). Mga 2-3 sessions per week lang para masanay sya to interact with other kids before she starts school near our house in June. That ballet school.. can you tell me (via email) which one it is? Because my niece is going to a certain ballet school in Q.Ave next summer (she’s also 3 years old) and I would hate for her to experience something like that. Plus, I’m sure mapapaaway mommy ko pag nagkataon na sya yung kasama ng niece ko.

  7. August 18, 2011 7:05 pm

    Kumulo dugo ko ha! That teacher is a bitch, dapat i-fire yan. It’s a three year old little girl! Wawa naman yun batang yun… I would have fight back. Grrrr..

    Where do you teach Gymboree? Shang? 🙂

    • Eliza permalink
      August 18, 2011 8:21 pm

      Yes, Shang. 🙂 I was saying pa naman how convenient if ever Basti wanted to take dance. I have So You Think You Can Dance ambitions for him kaya!

      • August 19, 2011 9:26 am

        Hahaha! Ako din may ganong ambisyon kay Y.. ngayon pa lang lagi na sumasayaw si Y to any tune ha.. maghalo lang ako ng kape sasayawan na nya yun LOL!

  8. August 19, 2011 3:03 am

    that teacher and the school that allows that kind of a teacher is just awful 😦 my kid goes to kindermusik naman which by that teacher’s definition is also a school for naughty kids.

    people like that teacher should not be allowed near children!!

    • Eliza permalink
      August 21, 2011 12:38 am

      Buti na lang talaga these days we have a choice! When we were small, I think toddler learning centers were more of this obey-stay-still kind than Gymboree/Kindermusik. Inggit nga ko eh. Haha!

  9. August 22, 2011 9:52 am

    people who don’t like kids shouldn’t be teaching them in the first place! oh, this made my blood boil! and how dare she make that remark about gymboree, which vito still calls the happiest place on earth (he hasn’t been to disneyland yet). gymboree gave him confidence and a love for learning. he still wishes he could go to gymboree until high school. wahahahah! =)

  10. Marie permalink
    September 10, 2011 3:13 pm

    Now I’m scared to let my daughter enroll in a ballet class! I just inquired a ballet school last week here in Cebu and ang daming guidelines! I enrolled my daughter in Gymboree for a year but I stopped her na kasi it’s so mahal! But, yes, ang dami nya natutunan at yung pag ka shy nya nababawasan! You should have put the name of that ballet school para maraming mga mommies na ma discourage to enroll their little girls there! Now I feel bad for that little girl! Imagine if that were my baby! I would really scold the teacher in front of all students and mommies din para mahiya naman cya! Siya lng ang may alam! Hindi ako papayag na hindi ako magsalita for my daughter!!!!

    • Eliza permalink
      September 11, 2011 12:01 am

      It’s pretty upsetting no? Since it didn’t happen to me personally I can only react to what I read on that other mom’s blog.

      The owner of Gymboree Cebu is a good friend. She sends her daughter to a ballet school there. Just interview and observe the class before you commit!

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