For more than 16 years Ahwatukee Board of Management has offered classes to keep toddlers busy on weekday mornings, but a recent drop in enrollment has the teacher, Mary Woodmansee, baffled.
"It's definitely crazy this year, there's no doubt about that," Woodmansee said.
Ahwatukee Board of Management (ABM) usually offers four classes for four different age groups, with a maximum of 10 students per class. This year they've only had six kids sign up, all for one class.
Woodmansee suggests it could be the economy or just an aging neighborhood. Younger families often tell her they didn't know the classes existed.
It's not just at the ABM Woodmansee has seen a drop. She also teaches tumbling at dance studios nearby, and class sizes have dropped there as well.
"All the classes are much smaller than they used to be," Woodmansee said. "We used to have very popular classes, but it goes through spurts. A couple years ago a few of my classes would be full. Now, we try to just accommodate whoever comes in."
ABM hasn't raised prices in the past few years. It still offers a class for 2 year olds and their parents for $7.50. For 2 1/2 year olds without parents it's $8.50. The class for 3 year olds is an hour and a half long for about $11 per class, and the two-hour class for 4 and 5 year olds is about $13.
The classes are open to the entire community, but there may be an extra charge for non-ABM members.
Each class begins with some free play time with toys. That lasts 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the age group, it's time to clean up and move on to the calendar for counting, letters, days of the week, and story time. Once they go through a short lesson the class moves on to do some writing, or a craft. There's a theme each day for the kids to learn about. The class ends with music time where the kids learn a song and some type of movement to go with it.
Class sizes are always kept to fewer than 10 kids so that the kids can have personalized attention and Woodmansee won't get overwhelmed. In the past few years, Woodmansee says class sizes have been about six kids, which is a good size, but she hopes to offer more classes on more days of the week.
"It's such a fun class," Woodmansee said. "The kids are adorable and they just love it."
For more information on the classes, contact ABM at (480) 893-3431 or stop by the community center at 4700 E. Warner Road.
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