Fun, unusual, and brainy kids’ classes
What kid would actually want to attend yet another class after school? Quite possibly, the kid you call your own. We’re not talking about the soccer, gymnastics, or ballet they proffer in other places. Your progeny could be learning Russian, quantum physics, or perfecting a soufflÃ© on any given weekday. Here’s a look at some of the county’s coolest kids’ classes.
For: Yogic Youngsters
Where: Little Buddha Family Yoga Center
260 Katonah Ave, Katonah
(914) 232-2732; www.littlebuddhayoga.com
Classes offered: Classes for kids ages 2 to 3 (Mommy & Me) and 3 to 4 combine simple yoga poses with songs, games, stories, and puppets; for ages 5 to 7, classes include games, art, and music in addition to yoga; ages 8 to 10: visualization and breathing exercises take center stage in this group; ages 11-13: yoga postures, flowing sequences, breathing exercises, and relax-
ation techniques. Teen classes serve as a bridge between kids’ and adults’ classes.
Cost: Mommy & Me (2-3 year olds), 16-week series, $350. Mommy & Me 10-week series, $215. Kids and teens, 16-week series, $290; Drop-in from $20-$25; reservations required.
For: Budding Tolstoys and Dostoevskys (and little ones whose parents would rather hear “nyet” than “no” a thousand times a day)
Where: Evrika Learning Center
735 Anderson Hill Rd, White Plains
(203) 975-1134; www.evrikacenter.com
Sure, your neighbor’s kid can order from La PanetiÃ¨re’s menu in French, but let’s see him plough through a copy of Crime and Punishment in the original Russian! Okay, that may be a strech, but this center offers after-school and Saturday classes in Russian and once your rookie Ruskie becomes fluent, he can pursue a variety of subjects—mathematics, art, music, and theater—all taught in his adopted tongue. Ready? Set? Nostrovia!
Cost: White Plains location: $160 to $416, depending on length of class. Tuition at other locations may vary; call for other locations.
For: Aspiring academic leaders and offspring of driven parents
Class/curriculum: 12 Subjects
(914) 937-6977; www.fastrackids.com
Not only does FasTracKids have astronomy, biology, economics, and Chinese and Spanish immersion, but it also teaches the fine art of independent thinking (a skill that will come in handy when your little one is President). “Our goal is to get kids to think, not just memorize,” says owner Albert Diaz.
Cost: Core program (40 weeks, September through June) is $1,850 (paid in advance), or $995 per semester, or $225 per month. Language courses (weekly/12 weeks) are $360. Music courses (weekly/12 weeks) are $245 plus $45 for materials (CDs, instruments).
For: Kids who can really fake a cold
Where: The Play Group Theatre
200 Hamilton Ave #9B, White Plains
(914) 946-4433; www.playgroup.org
So your little girl can cry on cue more convincingly than Meryl Streep? Then this is a great place for her to perfect her craft—in front of an audience, no less. This not-for-profit theatre company-cum-theatre school offers a training program for potential actors (or just for fun), as well as loads of performance opportunities and classes. Even tiny tykes can take part: Little Theatre is a series of classes for preschoolers. Saturday performance workshops are available (ages 6 to 18), as is a summer theatre program.
Cost: $250 for 8-week course. There is a $75 discount off each additional registered class for the same child.
For: Pint-Sized Picassos, Mini Mozarts
Class/curriculum: Arts & Music
Ages: All ages
Where: Rye Arts Center
51 Milton Rd, Rye (914) 967-0700
Forget tongue-depressor jewelry boxes and oatmeal-box “drums.” This not-for-profit volunteer organization has a variety of art and music classes, workshops, and programs—everything from photography to acting to music production to digital animation to mixed media. Private music lessons are also available.
Cost: Varies widely depending on class and duration. Call for details.
For: Little Linguists
Class/Curriculum: Foreign Languages and ESL
Ages: 6 months through 8th Grade
Where: Little Language League
22 Purdy Ave, Rye (914) 921-9075
www.languageleague.com (Other locations in
Little Language League offers second-language immersion classes and English literacy programs for children as young as six months old. Class size is small (eight kids or less) and native-speaking teachers instruct all classes. Languages taught include English as a second language, French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Mandarin Chinese. Language Through Music, available in Spanish and French, combines the core curriculum with music. Language Through Theater is available in Spanish, Italian, and French.
Cost: Fees vary according to class type, length, and location; 12-week sessions generally range from $280 to $365.
For: Curious Curies and Eager Edisons
Class/Curriculum: Hands-on Science
Ages: Preschool, Elementary and
Where: Mad Science of Westchester
56 Lafayette Ave, #380, White Plains
Pretend, for a moment, that you’re a 9-year-old boy. Now, imagine a class where you’re encouraged to make a mess, mix gross concoctions, play with slime, and fire off rockets. Heaven? We think so, too. Especially since, in the process, children learn about chemistry, biology, and physics. Mad Science offers an array of after-school programs and workshops, as well as preschool and summer programs. What makes it different than many other programs? It has a “we come to you” policy. The programs are taught in more than 40 Westchester towns, at elementary schools, day-care centers, recreation centers, and more.
Cost: Varies according to age, class, number of sessions, and location. Call for more information.
For: Emerging Emerils
Ages: Toddler to Teen
Where: Kids â€˜r’ Cookin’
(914) 937-2012; www.kidsrcookin.com
You love the fact that your little one wants to be in the kitchen with you, but you’re less than thrilled that he wants to use your All-Clad copper pots to mix dirt together with worms, Jell-O, and yogurt. Here’s an easy solution: sign him up for a Kids â€˜r’ Cookin’ class. He’ll learn basic kitchen skills and fundamentals of healthy cooking and eating in a fun, fast-paced, age-appropriate way. In these classes, offered as after-school and special programs, and in cooking clubs and schools, children learn about food safety, measuring, following recipes, meal planning, the proper (and safe) way to use utensils, as well as various cooking and preparation techniques. They will also get to prepare meals. (You may want to stow away the All-Clad.)
Cost: Varies. Call for information.
For: Gym Wallflowers and Couch Potatoes
Class/Curriculum: Fitness and Weight Management
Ages: â€˜Tweens and Teens
Where: Underground Fitness
140 Garth Rd, Scarsdale
(914) 725-8200; www.undergroundfitness.net
This 5,000-square-foot facility offers weight-management and fitness training for children ages 10 to 18 in a cheerful, safe environment filled with state-of-the-art equipment (such as hydraulic equipment to ensure there’s no damage to kids’ growth plates) designed especially for them . Kids can spin to their hearts’ content on PlayStation-equipped bikes and, though traditionally “competitive” sports, like boxing, are offered, “the only competition here is between the child and his or her own personal goals, which we help them formulate,” says co-owner Marla Past. Classes (spinning, rebounding, the popular dance program Dance Dance Revolution, and more) are small (generally five kids to one teacher) and Underground Fitness has six to 12 trainers on staff at any given time.
Cost: Three-month membership is $135/month; six-months is $125/month; and one-year, $99/month. Drop-ins ($20)
are welcome; written parental consent is needed.