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School Day is Over--What's Next? Part 2 in Our Special Westfield Series

Marina P. Kennedy

Friday, December 21, 2012 • 10:46am

WESTFIELD, NJ--After school and on weekends, Westfield students have a large selection of programs to enjoy in their community. There are classes and events to please a variety of individual interests and skills including sports, games, the arts, academics and the opportunity for social enrichment. 

Today, in part two of our special series about Westfield’s enrichment opportunities, we’ll highlight four of these.

Preschool of Rock

Preschool of Rock serves young students in the Westfield area who enjoy musical enrichment. The program is located in “Creative Kids” at 300 South Avenue in the Kings Shopping Center in Garwood, with eight other elsewhere.

Preschool of Rock is an energetic musical experience for children three months and up. Through the use of Rock n' Roll rhythms, drum circles, guitars, big drums and world instruments, the program engages and captivates both students and adults. Preschool of Rock encourages investigation; discovery and creativity with all different types of music and instruments.

Founder Michael Napolitano is the former music specialist at The Blue Man Group’s Creativity Center (now the Blue School) in New York.  He grew up in a home filled with music making.  His dad, Tony Napolitano, had several top ten hits as a drummer with the ‘50’s Doo-Wop group The Ideals.

Napolitano's strong musical background, enthusiasm for education and unique programming ideas makes Preschool of Rock a perfect introduction to music for preschool aged children.  Preschool of Rock also does programs on location and schedules birthday parties.

Napolitano also has a new CD, “Everything Makes a Sound.”For more information about Preschool of Rock and their program schedule, check out the Preschool of Rock web site at www.preschoolofrock.org or e-mail them at info@preschoolofrock.com.

Surgent’s Elite School of Gymnastics

Surgent’s Elite School of Gymnastics has three state-of-the art facilities in Westfield, Garwood and Roselle. Their Westfield location is at 401 South Avenue East. All three locations are air-conditioned and equipped with the most modern innovations in gymnastics equipment. They provide a broad range of classes from that serve children of all ages. There are programs for boys and girls gymnastics, tumbling and cheerleading. Their classes serve every ability level from beginner to team competitors and they have broad daily schedule that includes weekends.

The school was established by Jim Surgent.  During the course of 36 years, Surgent’s Elite has taught over 50,000 children gymnastics. They have built an outstanding reputation as the best overall gymnastics and cheer facility in NJ.  Gymnastic education has many benefits for children.  Students can experience help with other sports, improvements in muscle strength and flexibility as well as cognitive benefits and more self confidence.

Surgent’s Elite Gymnastic instructors are safety certified, professional and experienced. They bring the newest knowledge in gymnastics, cheerleading and tumbling from all parts of the world. The school’s coaches and teachers include former World Champions, Olympic team members, NCAA collegiate competitors and Surgent’s Elite team members. Their first priority is to recruit instructors who have a strong love of children and the desire to make a difference in childrens' lives.  For more information about Surgent’s Elite Gymnastics in Westfield, call 908-317-0523 or visit their website at http://surgentselitegym.com/.

Classic Thyme

Classic Thyme is well known in Westfield for their cooking classes that are available for children, teens and adults.  Chef David Martone is the owner and executive Chef of Classic Thyme Cooking School. At a very young age, Martone had a keen interest in food. Classic Thyme embraces this interest in young people with a wide variety of classes that include Kids Cook Italian, Kids Cook Chinese, Ginger Bread House Workshop and Breakfast Brunch Favorites. Themed cooking birthday parties and cooking camps are also available at Classic Thyme. 

Martone opened the school in 1995. Classic Thyme we has a warm and inviting atmosphere fashioned on the concept of a rustic cottage in Tuscany. The atmosphere is welcoming to students and invites culinary creativity.

Chef David Martone has been featured in numerous publications, such as the Dining In section of The New York Times, Garden Plate Magazine, Savor section of The Star Ledger and New Jersey Monthly.

Classic Thyme is located at 710 South Avenue West in Westfield.  For more information, call 908-232-5445 or visit  www.classicthyme.com.

Just Bead Yourself

Just Bead Yourself is conveniently located in Downtown Westfield at 113 Central Avenue. The shop has opportunities for youngsters to create unique jewelry and beaded crafts that are one-of-a-kind pieces. They make unique items to treasure and for gifts. There are walk-in workshops, classes and group events for scout groups and birthday parties.

One of the popular programs is “Afternoon Tea with my Doll and Me” for three- to 12-year-olds. Children create a necklace for themselves and a matching one for their dolls followed by a tea party for them with lemonade and cookies.

Coming up this week, Just Bead Yourself is offering jewelry classes for kids during the winter break between Christmas and New Year's Day.

Just Bead Yourself also sells beads, tools and supplies for children who like to do crafts at home, and they repair jewelry. They have daily hours from Tuesday to Saturday and you can call in advance for hours on Sunday and Monday.  For more information about programs at Just Bead Yourself, call 908-232-3411 or visit their website at www.just-bead-yourself.com.  You can also e-mail owner Thea Jackson at JustBeadParty@yahoo.com.

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