Even the littlest among us crave socialization, and organized classes for babies and toddlers offer the chance to get out and about.
Here are six options that go beyond the typical music parent-and-me classes to focus on special interests or niche activities, such as ballet class open to children as soon as they can walk. “Even at that age, I believe you should teach it properly so they learn good habits,” says Nicola Ciotta, owner of Baby Ballet Long Island.
Many of the venues are limiting class sizes, requiring masks for adults or limiting each child to one caregiver, so be sure to ask about individual precautions.
Bowie Mae Searles, 2, shares a moment with ballet instructor Nicola Ciotta as she participates in a “mommy-and-me” dance class at Dance House Studios in Commack. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca
Children ages 18 months — or fully walking — can chasse into class to learn basics of ballet such as pointing the toes and tiptoeing. Participants wear little ballet slippers or socks with grips, and some even wear tutus. The children are exposed to Classical music, and there’s a warmup at the beginning of class and jumps and a curtsy at the conclusion. “They learn the structure of a ballet class,” Ciotta says. Classes are offered at various dance studios, play spaces and libraries as far west as Great Neck and Rockville Centre and as far east as Commack. The cost for a 10-week session depends on location but starts at $250. 516-582-2132.
Fun with speech and language
Children ages 6 to 18 months and their caregivers can focus on developing vocabulary and communication together during the Speech and Language sessions offered by Happy Feet Suffolk, which is opening in a new location in Speonk. The class is designed for children with typical speech and language development and is meant to support their development and milestones, says owner Christie Andreassi. It is led by a speech pathologist.
“The speech pathologist is going to be planning activities for the children to do and help the parents guide them through it,” Andreassi says. For instance, the speech pathologist will show parents how, when reading books to their children, they can encourage them to point to things, help turn pages, and to talk about the story, Andreassi says. “It’s just modeling activities you could do at home,” she says. The four-week sessions cost $110. Happy Feet also offers other parent-child classes. 295 Montauk Hwy., Speonk; visit happyfeetsuffolk.com.
Waylynn Burt, of Syoseet, then 9 months old, attended the infant Messy Art class at Oh My Goodness children’s wellness center in Garden City in July. Credit: Oh My Goodness
Messy Art is the most popular class offered at Oh My Goodness children’s wellness center in Garden City — and families will be able to …….