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Our Story

Lara Edmonds Varner, Master Franchise Owner, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland

“I decided to become a Gymboree Play & Music Master Franchisee because I wanted to do something entrepreneurial but also something that I really believed in! Gymboree offers an educationally rich program packed with fun which every child between 0 and 5 years in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland should have the opportunity to experience!” – Lara Edmonds Varner, Master Franchise Owner, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland

We have been doing this for 40 years — and we are just getting started

Gymboree Play & Music has been fostering creativity and confidence in children ages 0-5 for over 40 years. Today, there are over 700 locations in 40+ countries (including the US, Canada, China, South Korea, Mexico, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the UK) making us the global leader in early childhood development programmes. Designed by experts in both education and in play, our age-appropriate activities help develop the cognitive, physical and social skills of children as they play. Our programmes are also recognized for their unique approach to parent involvement—which encourages participation in and understanding of each child’s development.

Classes that grow with your child

Our class curriculum is based on a balanced whole-child approach with activities to support what your child is mastering right now and what he or she will aspire to later. Classes are designed in 6-month increments to continue to meet a child’s growing interests and abilities. From birth to age 5, there is always something special awaiting you and your child at Gymboree Play & Music.

Our play centers were created just for kids, from the ground up

We provide an environment where children are free to move, play and explore safely. Our proprietary equipment was designed by Jay Beckwith, a US-based playground designer with more than 30 years of experience, who created every structure with the needs of children in mind. Our play environments are designed to deliver the high-quality standard parents expect for their children. Watch Jay’s Designing for Play video.

Originally founded by a Mill Valley, CA mom and run by passionate, family-focused entrepreneurs

Gymboree’s story began in 1976 when Joan Barnes, a mother from Marin County, California, tried to find a safe and fun place for parents and young children to play together. Unable to do so, she did what any innovative, entrepreneurial mom would. She started her own programme! We have been proudly inspiring parents and children ever since.

Lara Edmonds Varner is leading the development Gymboree Play & Music in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

Play2Learn GmbH owns the master franchise rights to develop Gymboree Play & Music in the DACH region (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland). Gymboree DACH’s founder is Lara Edmonds Varner. Lara is a Canadian national who has lived in Europe for over 30 years, is married, and has two active teenagers born in 2002 and 2005. Lara had over 20 years of professional business experience as an investment banker and management consultant prior to starting Gymboree. She is also a former competitive gymnast and gymnastics instructor.

If you are interested in growing together with us by owning your own Gymboree Play & Music location, please contact us.