What is it: Aikido is one of the younger martial arts, developed by Morihei Ueshiba. He created it by combining several of the older, traditional martial arts. The basis of aikido is containing and controlling an attacker without hurting him or her. It's a peaceful martial art and the techniques are designed to teach people to protect themselves without harming others. For instance, children learn to break their falls and roll, and to see rolling away from an attacker as an opportunity rather than a loss. All very philosophical, but very positive for children, as it teaches strategic solutions for conflict, in which power and speed are not always central. There are no competitions in Aikido, and therefore no winners or losers, which can be very appealing for certain kinds of (highly sensitive and/or non-competitive) children.
For: children from 5 years on (There is a group from 5-8, one from 8-11, and the 11+)
When: Saturday morning for 5-11 years; 11+ on Monday evening
Cost: Costs for young children (5-7 years old) €110 - ½ year fees or €200 for a full year + €10 registration fee (one off) and a yearly €15 membership contribution to the Dutch Aikikai foundation.
Costs for slightly older children (8-11 years old) €140 - ½ year fees or €250 for a full year + €10 registration fee (one off) and a yearly €15 membership contribution to the Dutch Aikikai foundation.
Where: P.C.Hooftlaan 13
Review: We were looking for a martial art for our son. He is not very athletic, not interested in sports, and a bit clumsy. As one of the only little boys in his school who wasn't playing football, hockey, or judo, he was becoming increasingly left out. However, he had absolutely no interest in competition of any sort and is not into fighting at all. We did some reading and came across aikido. We signed our son (age 7) up for a trial lesson at the Aikido Centrum Leiden and he loved it immediately.
Marc, one of the owners (along with his wife, Carolien), is an amazingly calm man who makes children (and their parents) feel immediately at home. He helps the children learn the basics of aikido by playing games. Each child takes turns playing the attacker and the defender, and together they find ways to solve a problem - the attack. It is a class completely free of the need to compete and win.
Our son has been so proud of himself and loves to go to class. A concrete positive outcome was that our son (finally!) stood out in his school gym class. He usually dislikes gym a great deal. However, last week the class was practicing judo. The goal was to take turns getting a child who is very good at judo off the mat. No one else could do it, but our son could, using some aikido techniques. Of course, this is a bit competitive - not the point of aikido - but helpful for a non-athletic little boy who often feels bad in gym.
What is it: The former European champion of Judo is giving lessons in Judo, Karate and Jiu-Jitsu.
For: "Stoei- en tuimeljudo" from 3 years on; Karate from 5 years, Jiu-Jitsu self-defence from 10 years
When: Judo for 4+ on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; "Stoei- en tuimeljudo" on Saturday; Jiu-Jitsu on Friday; Karate on Saturday.
Cost: € 150 for half a year of Judo and Karate; € 180 for half a year of Jiu-Jitsu
Where : Einsteinweg 6 ( University Sportcentrum)
What is it: Judo classes and Sodurado - that's a relatively rare and recent defensive sport, a mixture of different martial arts. It's supposed to increase the feeling of security.
For: Judo from 4 years on, Surado from 7 years on.
When: Tuesday and Wednesday (Judo 7-12), Thursday (Sodurado 7-12), Friday (Judo 6-9), Saturday (Judo 4-6)
Cost: € 17 per month if you go once per week
Where: Groenesteeg 107 (Leiden Center)
Review: My two sons both do judo, since a few years at Budokan with teacher Melchior Groeneveld. Before that they went to Aad van Polanen, but he moved his classes from the city center to the university sports building near the Bio Science centre.
Judo at Budokan with Melchior is a bit more serious, but also very playfull. I'm really enthousiastic about it, it's fantstic for kids. Melchior is a very kind and sensitive teacher. Enroling, trial periods, changing classes to other days in the week, it is all very flexibel. (Ankie)
What is it: Playful Judo for kids from 4 years and up.
When: Friday evenings; there are different groups for the different ages.
Cost: 10 Euro per month
Where: Gym upstairs at the corner of P.C. Hoortlaan and Vondellaan
What is it: Judo for children and adults: 4/5, 6-15 and senior. Also Aikido, Qi Gong, Tai Chi ...
When: All sorts of times
Cost: €55 per quarter for children, €68 for adults
Where: Geversstraat 5, 2341GA Oegstgeest
Review: Rob and Karel David and their colleagues are excellent teachers for children of all ages. Our daughters loved it and made very good progress. Plenty of encouragement to join internal and external tournaments. Lots of emphasis on participation and good sportsmanship, which is good to see. (Alice)
What is it: Jahn Leiden is a huge club for all sorts of gymnastic. They are offering their lessons all over Leiden, mainly in school gyms. Check their homepage to find the nearest location
For: Children from 2 years and up. You can start with "Peutergym", then go over to "Kleutergym"; from 7 years on you have "Turnen", and so on.
When: Monday through friday
Where: Different locations - between others Brahmslaan, Opaalstraat, Ant. Duycklaan, Molensteeg, Ant. Klynstraat....
Cost: Depends on the type of lessons. Peuters pay for a whole year € 100 (lessons of 45 min.), children 4-12 pay € 120 (lessons of 60 min.)
Review: Our daughter (age six) attends gymles on Thursday afternoons at 4pm sharp. Duration is an hour. The hall is accessed from the Vliet/Lucas van Leiden bassisschool . You may have a try out class before making a commitment - the children are aged from four to six with older children arriving for following class starting at 17,00.
The children listen, take turns, run, balance, climb and learn controlled movement and tumbling - essentially the foundations of gymnastics. It's a lot of FUN. There is also a Sinterklaas and year end party. Highly recommended for all children with lots of energy! (Esther)
What is it: This small and very personal ballet school in the historic part of Leiderdorp is offering mainly different classes of classical ballet and free style jazz. The three teachers are friendly and very motivated. In the end of every school year the kids show a big, colourful ballet piece like Pinocchio or Alice in Wonderland at the "Stadstheater Zoetermeer"
For: children from 4 years on. For even smaller ones of 2 and 3 years ("Peuterdans"), check the section for babies and toddlers.
When: Monday through saturday; check the homepage fort he exact times oft he different groups.
Cost: € 147,50 for half a year, weekly
Where: Kerklaan 13 (Leiderdorp!)
Review: My daughter has been doing ballet here for several years. The peuterdans is great fun (the parents join in), and after that they slowly move from fun exercises towards more classical ballet. Juf Margriet is a brilliant teacher, quite strict but funny and kind, and the children love her. She is particularly recommended by children's physiotherapists for her careful and responsible teaching, and my daughter (who is hypermobile) as really benefited from this approach. As the children get older there are more types of dance available, such as modern dance, jazz and world dance. Harriet
What is it: This Dance school in the Merenwijk area is offering a wide selection of different dance styles for all ages; not just classical ballet, but also streetdance, musical/show/jazz, "Algemeene Dansvorming" (General dance education) for kids from 4-5... and an extra class for boys from 7-13 with urban dance, stepping, etc. There are also various classes for adults. At the end of the year they are doing a big show.
For: children from 2 years on
When: Monday through Saturday; check the homepage for the exact times of the different groups. You can start any time of the year!
Cost: For the whole dancing season from September until June € 210 (for lessons of 45 min.), € 250 (for lessons of 60 min.) or € 290 (for lessons of 75 min.). They give a reduction for siblings.
Where: Broekplein 6
What is it: This big dance school in the city center of Leiden is offering a wide selection of different dance styles for all ages: Classical Ballet, Jazz Fusion, Moderne dans, Hiphop, Tapdans, Streetdance - you name it, and they will probably have it. There are also extra classes for adults - and for boys from 9-14. In the summer they are having an extra timetable for everyone who wants to continue dancing during the vacation.
For: Children from three years
When: Monday through friday. Check the homepage for the exact times of the different groups.
Cost: For children 25 Euro per month (45 min. lessons), if they come once per week. Siblings receive a discount.
Where: Caeciliastraat 18 (Leiden Centre)
Review: Our eldest began dance Wednesday at 13.15, so we'd take lunch with us directly from school; there is a large cafe next to the studio where class is held.
Our daughter loved moving like various animals. She began at four, but you can start at age three if there is no waiting list.
It can be very busy before and in-between lessons with children running up and down the wide hall. It's fun. They are child friendly. While my daughter was in class I'd like to say I was enjoying a cup of tea or chat - but usually I was chasing our eldest boy up and down the hall or dashing out to the shops for whatever ... Great location and nice studio. When our third child arrived I decided I needed a break from dance due to naps etc. We plan to resume lessons for the eldest two in the autumn. (Esther)
What is it: Also for dancing, B + C is one of the most important associations in Leiden. Many classes are in Leiden's city center (Oude Vest or Apothekersdijk), but they also offer a lot in Voorschooten and Oegstgeest (Pauluskerk). Please check their homepage for all the different classes and times. We will name just a few to give you an idea:
- Algemene Dansvorming (General Dance Education): Groups for kids of 4/5 or 6-8 years - in Leiden's center on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday
- Jazz/Showdance: for children from 9-11 and 12-15
- Klassiek Ballet (classical ballet): from 8 years on
- Breakdance for boyz: 7-12 and 10-15 years
- ZumbAtomic: 8-12 and 12-16 on Tuesday in Leiden Centrum
Cost: Classes of max. 60 min. cost € 245 for the whole year (10 months of € 24,50). Classes of 75 min. cost € 300.
What is it: Dance school with two studios in the city center or just outside of it in direction Morskwartier.
For: Children from 2 years and 2 months on
When: Monday through Saturday. Check the homepage and write an email to the school about exact times.
Where: "Wachtgebouw" in Morsstraat; Haagweg
Review: Our daughter is following dancing lessons here for over 5 years now. The dancing is not only classical but they also dance on modern or jazz music. The lessons are mainly on the saturday the whole day. They do a big show every other year in a big theatre. The lessons starts form the age of 2 year and 2 months old. There is also the possibility for boys to dance in a boys class age 2 / 3 year old. The ballet school is run by mother and daughter. (Elisa)
What is it: Already the smallest boys and girls can play soccer! In Dutch it's called "Ukkenvoetbal".
For: Children between 4-6.
Where: "De Kikkerpolder I", Oegstgeesterweg
Review: Most soccer clubs in the Netherlands are open for very young children. The UVS Leiden (www.uvs-leiden.nl) offers the "ukkenvoetbal" for children from 4 years of age onwards which takes place on Sunday mornings. The children are playing in teams of 4-5 children, each team taking the role of a nation playing in a world championship throughout the season. It is very playful, with the emphasis on the children enjoying the game and the exercise rather than performance and winning. It also entails that the children get limited coaching. Once the children have reached a certain age (6-7 years), they will be promoted to the "A jeugd", they will then have regular training and matches in the weekends against other teams from the region. (Anne)