When Isis Parenting closed this past January, we wanted to make sure we were part of the effort to keep their fantastic classes and experts in circulation, and we’re delighted to be presenting Cecilia Matson’s Galoop classes at Magic Beans Brookline, starting this September!
Cecilia has 20 years of experience working with young children and her families, and was one of the key creators of their renowned curriculum for child-development classes and Spanish language classes. While she was at Isis, starting in 2006, she conducted parenting consults and trained and supervised new instructors, while working with kids and proudly participating many of their “firsts”: first steps, first words, first sharing. And parents raved about her classroom environment: a relaxed, fun, engaging place where children, parents, and caregivers could all learn and feel supported.
After Isis closed, Cecilia started Galoop in Brookline, where she lives with her own family, including her own two young kids. Her new classes offer developmentally appropriate activities for babies and toddlers. Each class is an hour long and involves circle time, parachute play, structured activities, free play, discussion for parents and caregivers, story time, and goodbyes. This balance of structure, repetition, and novelty helps young children explore, gain confidence, learn, and have a great time.
To welcome Cecilia to the team, we asked her a few questions about her new classes and what she’s excited for this fall!
Q: Hi Cecilia! We’re so excited that your classes will be coming to Magic Beans. Tell me a bit about how and why you chose Magic Beans as a venue for Galoop.
A: Magic Beans is such a great resource for the parenting community in Brookline. You really take care of your customers, especially when they are sleep-deprived and have a newborn strapped to them in a baby carrier! And that is how I take care of my Galoop families. I believe we are a great compliment for each other.
I also feel a very personal connection to Magic Beans; you opened the Brookline store 10 years ago now, when my daughters were just 1 and 3 years old. I went to the store almost every day, my girls just loved going and I always found great options on toys and products. Now I find myself recommending Magic Beans to the Moms from class as a wonderful resource almost every day.
Q: You founded Galoop in February 2014 after your former employer, Isis Parenting, closed unexpectedly. Tell us more about why you chose to start your own business, and why being in Brookline was important.
A: I had worked at Isis Parenting for almost 8 years when it suddenly closed in January, and I loved my classes and the strong connections I had formed through the years with the families from class. When Isis closed, I knew I wanted to keep working with babies and toddlers and their caregivers, and all the families that knew me kept asking me if I was going to teach again, so almost immediately I decided to start Galoop – child development classes for babies and toddlers and expert advice for caregivers, in Brookline.
I feel strongly about the Brookline community, I am a resident since 1999 and both my girls attend Brookline schools, but most importantly, I feel strongly about helping Moms, nannies, and all caregivers of young children feel supported and connected.
Q: What is most rewarding about Galoop?
A: The babies and toddlers in my classes bring me so much happiness, nothing compares to the innocence and spontaneity of young children, they are truly special. We all know how creative and imaginative young children are at play, and I cherish the opportunity to offer a class for them in which they are free to explore in an environment that provides a developmentally appropriate amount of stimulation. But, as wonderful as young children are, we also know how difficult it is to care for them, there are always a million questions to be answered, and I try to address every single one of them. The support and reassurance that caregivers find in my classes are incredibly rewarding.
Q: Walk me through what a typical Galoop class looks like.
A: Galoop classes meet once a week for one hour. I greet both caregivers and children as they arrive to class and the children soon feel at ease as they engage with an age appropriate toy that is set up in the center of the room. I connect with them as they play, and I check in with everyone about their week: any exciting news? any challenges?
Then, we have a circle time with fun songs, props, and parachute play. After circle time, we engage in an age appropriate activity that ranges from fun sensory play (sand, water, felt, pom poms), to art activities (painting, stamping, collage), to fine motor and gross motor play (crayons, stickers, puzzles, tunnels, slides, balls), to name a few. I also address questions and provide discussion topics for caregivers at this time.
Then, we clean up, read a wonderful book, blow bubbles, and say goodbye to each other. Oh, and I almost forgot, we sing “Galoop went the little green frog one day,” while placing rubber froggies on our heads, and make them fall to the ground with a big “achoo!” in almost every class!
Q: What’s your favorite product for babies that you’ve seen at Magic Beans?
Babies just love Sophie the Giraffe! They hold it, chew on it, look at it, sleep with it, you name it. It is such a favorite – it has been around since 1961 making its way from Europe to the US.
Another favorite is the “infant baby banana brush teether”: it’s a tooth brush to start healthy teeth brushing habits early, but babies and young toddlers also love to hold it and chew on it, and you can freeze it and it becomes a teether. I can’t tell you how many of my little ones bring it to class!
And, finally, not necessarily a child’s favorite, but a Mom’s necessity: the Nosefrida “snotsucker” nasal aspirator, it does the job fast and gently.
A: I love the “SmartMax” magnetic building sets! They’re such a fantastic toy. Toddlers are fascinated by building all sorts of different things through magnetic force, will they stick to each other or reject each other? It is engaging and fantastic to work on spatial skills. And best of all, you can add home materials to the fun: cookie sheets and the fridge door work as wonderful magnetic bases.
And of course I can’t leave out the “Melissa and Doug pizza party.” I remember my own girls playing with it nonstop all those years ago, cutting it, adding different toppings, having their stuffed animals have a pizza dinner. It’s a fantastic high-quality wooden toy that enables wonderful symbolic pretend play.