Toddler Classes – Yes Or No?

Am I alone in my frustration with some toddler/children’s classes? Yesterday I took my 20 month old to a singing group that cost £4 (not a lot I know, but £4 is £4). For this sum my son was entertained with 4 basic kids songs, was given a shaker to shake and then had some bubbles blown at him. This occurred amongst the chaos of 15 kids aged between 3 months and 3 years screaming the place down over the long drawn out time of 50 minutes. By the time I got home I was all for having a Valium.

My five year old recently fared no better at a ‘drama’ taster class where for £10 she said she had to sing ‘baby songs’, roll about on the floor pretending to be a worm, and stand up and hop on one leg for “Like forever mum”.

Now don’t get me wrong, some toddler/kids classes are fantastic. I am a huge fan of Monkey Music. These classes are brilliant, well structured, amazingly organized, and always run on time (something I need as a working mum). But best of all they are perfectly placed at specific age groups (4 different classes for ages 3 months to 4 years) and as a result my son joins in and loves both the teacher and the class.

However, this class seems to be the exception to the rule. Having spoken to a number of people who run a variety of kids classes I’ve tried over the years I am amazed that so many have no experience of keeping kids entertained. It reminds me of the time a storyteller we went to see broke down in tears because none of the children would listen to her. She later confessed she hated reading aloud but there was a ‘real gap in the market for storytellers.’

In these hard times when all of us are counting the pennies, all I’m looking for is value for money from classes whether I am paying £4 or £140.00.  I expect my kids to be entertained, but also I want them to be in a calm atmosphere where other kids aren’t tearing the place up and group leaders aren’t wandering around looking exasperated.

Am I asking too much? What’s your experience of toddler classes? Can anyone recommend any good ones? Let me know.