By Beth Morphis, Co-owner of Salem Gymnastics Sports Center
From a very early age, children understand the importance of movement. Far before academic success comes into play, children begin sorting out their social status on the playground using ladders, monkey bars, balls and races as the benchmark where they see themselves as either “can do” kids or not. Sadly, long before kindergarten starts, many children already view themselves as awkward or clumsy, and therefore shut down, becoming non-movers for life.
Fortunately, Salem Gymnastics knows how to lay the foundation that gives each child the confidence to succeed not only the playground, but wherever their passions lead them.
Salem’s preschool programs are based on the premise that all children are made to move, and with proper instruction, they can all learn to move well. This leads not only to physical success, but success in the classroom. Scientific studies prove that exercise activates the brain, so what you see, and what you get, are people who are mentally sharper. Active children are more attentive, they’re less impulsive, and they’re less fidgety. They can sustain their attention longer, promoting their ability to sort through information and take it in. Salem’s students also learn social skills such as sharing, taking turns, and cooperation, which are quite valuable for someone looking ahead to Kindergarten!
For 32 years Salem Gymnastics has set the foundation for an active lifestyle in thousands of preschoolers, starting with 1 and 2 year olds in Parent/Tot classes. Through the help of their fun loving staff, parents teach their children to explore the world around them in new and exciting ways. Children develop rapidly during these first years, and early development stimulates learning skills. A child may roll down a padded incline, swing on tiny bars, possibly stop for a game of hoops then it’s off to the trampoline or the ever popular “pit”! In this class, Moms and Dads help their child boldly go where no toddler has gone before!
Children ages 3-5 enjoy the popular Tumbleweed classes where movement, music, and imagination come together to create an unforgettable experience. This professionally structured program is designed to develop motor and social skills, but our Tumbleweeds would never know it! Using elements such as eye/hand and eye/foot coordination, along with jumping, agility, motor skills, balance, inversions, weight transfers, rolling and twisting, the Tumbleweed program gives preschoolers a well-rounded platform for an active future, whether they play a sport or simply enjoy the sport of life. With the added fun of themed classes, Tumbleweeds climb through pirate ships, move like the animals, play at the circus, and much more, making each week a new adventure in movement.
In addition, Sports Movement classes teach 4-7 year olds many of the same physical and social skills as Tumbleweeds, but with a classic sport flavor. Sports Movement students are instructed in basic physical literacy (throwing, catching, kicking, balance, etc), as well as the fundamentals of classic sports such as baseball, soccer, basketball, football, volleyball, and of course, gymnastics. They learn basic sport rules, equipment use and terminology, which gives kids the confidence to have that little edge out on the playing field. Non-competitive and fun, this class lays the physical and social foundation for any athletic future.
Providing quality physical education is fundamental for every child. Think of it this way: To say “my child just is not athletic – we won’t enroll him in a movement class” is like saying “my child is not good at math – let’s focus on something else”. This is backward thinking – in reality, the less athletic child needs movement instruction even more! The reality is that when children know how to move well, they gain confidence and learn to appreciate the joys of an active lifestyle which will carry them through their lives.
Visit Salem Gymnastics Sports Center at SalemGym.com to get your preschooler started on the path to a confident, active life today!
*Photos taken by Kathy Miller at One Shot Photography