One way to get to know your prospective suburb is by meeting and mingling with the suburbanites, so check out a drop in class in you ‘burb!
If you live in NYC, kids classes are no doubt a part of your every day life. Music, art, sports, dance, yoga and a host of niche kiddie courses start enrolling the city’s littlest dwellers as young as 3 and 4 months old—so if you’ve got a toddler or preschooler, these weekly sessions have long been a major piece of his life for as long (longer, even!) than they can remember.
Moving to the ‘burbs means finding a new crop of classes—but no matter where you’re going, you’ll have no challenges identifying equally exciting extracurriculars in virtually any area of focus. With that in mind, many almost-suburban moms and dads are popping in for “drop in” classes in prospective towns, using these free or low-cost sessions to check out like-minded families and kids. The thinking is simple: if your child loves soccer, for example, you’ll likely be enrolling her in a league in your new town—and you’ll be seeing these parents and families on the sidelines for, potentially, years to come. So now’s the time to pop in and get to know your (potential) new neighbors!
As you’re investigating, pay attention to the types of drop in classes offered. Is this town very athletic, with clinics, workshops and private coaching, even, starting at 4, 3 or even 2 years old? Do kiddie classes mimic mom and dad—think yoga, pilates, cooking, writing circles and even DJing? Or do activities tend towards the traditional and pop up in more expected places—the library for preschool story time, the park for “messy play dates” or the rec center for sports dabblers? Do parents stay or is everything a “drop off?” Are there waitlists, high admission fees or membership requirements? And what about the area schools? Every high school and virtually every middle school has extracurriculars, teams and clubs but, more and more, elementary schools are getting in on the action and providing musical, theatrical, artistic and even athletic offerings to students.
Popping by a weekend drop in class is a great way to gauge the landscape of family life in your prospective new town. Meet, mix, mingle and, in this casual environment, feel empowered to ask questions of other parents, instructors and caregivers—no doubt they once had the same questions as you!