Family learning center offers ways to expand child’s mind, body - East Valley Tribune: Chandler

Family learning center offers ways to expand child’s mind, body

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Posted: Friday, February 28, 2014 6:00 am | Updated: 9:02 am, Fri Feb 28, 2014.

Expanding a child’s mind and body are the two tenets Connect5 takes to heart.

The family center opened last year in Chandler and utilizes five “neighborhoods” to accomplish its goal:

• Discovery Park offers kids the chance to run, jump and play through developmental activities.

• Mind and Motion uses a variety of enrichment activities designed to strengthen and stimulate.

• Villari’s Martial Arts is a fully-equipped modern martial arts experience that specializes in personal growth.

• Spotlight celebrations will host any event or party.

• Kicks Cafe offers nutritious food and a place for parents to relax while their kids take in the rest of the center.

Connect5 puts all of this in a 7,800-square-foot facility at 222. E. Warner Road, Suite 5.

“It’s a preschool where the parents have to stay,” said director of operations Lisa Napoli, who opened Connect5 late last year. “There was a need in the area. The demographics showed a boom area between Chandler and Gilbert.”

The Discovery Park, with an indoor playground, bounce house, pop-a-shot, air hockey and toys for toddlers is popular for those with memberships as well as daily walk-ins. Memberships run daily ($4.95), weekly ($14.95), monthly ($49.95) and quarterly ($149.95).

The martial arts classes focus on body control, communication and collaboration. Classes are offered for 3-year-olds up to adults and three-week trial classes are available for kids to test out. Memberships run from $74-$134 per month, with discounted family plans as well as plans for children under 5.

While those are the two most popular areas of the facility that used to be five empty units in a strip mall along Warner Road, Connect 5’s parties are Napoli’s favorite.

Themes can run from Disney princesses to Dr. Seuss to Monsters Inc. to Mickey Mouse to Toy Story and supper heroes. Each party features a host, food and decorations that include hand-sewn seat covers from Napoli.

“I guaranteed no one else in the state does a birthday like we do,” Napoli said. “I’m very proud of our parties.”

Business has been brisk and feedback overwhelmingly positive, Napoli said, and she expected the summer to offer “booming” traffic.

“We plan to increase our staff (currently at six) before the summer to accommodate,” she said. “We were packed on Presidents’ Day and the response has been great.”

Connect5’s corporate headquarters are in Florida and franchises are available, though the Chandler location is run by corporate.

For more information, including updated class and workshop schedules, call (480) 699-2122 or go to connect5fc.com. The facility also created its own Facebook page.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6549 or cgabel@evtrib.com.

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