Have you ever noticed that children love to run and play – especially when they’re supposed to be sitting still? It can be frustrating for parents, teachers, and really anyone in the vicinity of an active toddler, but the child in motion might be on to something! Countless studies tout the benefits of movement to early brain development and learning.
Nevertheless, schools are formatted for sedentary desk learning, which does nothing to combat the escalating obesity rates our children are facing. Little Gym of McAllen, Texas, has found the balance for healthy development that sets the stage for an active lifestyle.
Bright colors, children’s laughter, and relaxed parents greet you at The Little Gym of McAllen. Positive feedback abounds in this non-competitive facility. Little Gym offers progressively structured classes, patient instructors, and a positive learning environment to create opportunities for children to try new things and build self-esteem and confidence as a result. But don’t tell them that; kids think they are just having fun in this positive environment.
Little Gym’s trained instructors implement a curriculum to promote motor skill development through gymnastics classes, parent/child interactive activities, camps and parties. The instructors use a technique called Specific Positive Feedback (SPF). Little Gym trains their instructors via video and face-to-face mentoring with a veteran instructor. Positive reinforcement guides learning with specific improvement in the points of detail for gymnastics, which can be applied to tackling any new challenge. Alton Britton, owner and CEO of Little Gym, says that’s what Little Gym is all about. “We teach confidence – whether that’s a cartwheel in the gym or confidence in working out math problems. Kids feel confident!”
All programs are built on a philosophy of serious fun. It is a proprietary philosophy called Three-Dimensional Learning, in which physical activity is the avenue to nurturing whole child development. The Three-Dimensional approach to young child learning means that every class offers growth in three areas – Get Moving! Brain Boost! and Citizen Kid!
Get Moving! – develops flexibility, strength,
balance, and coordination through varied physical activities.
Brain Boost!– builds listening skills, concentration and decision-making.
Citizen Kid! – promotes sharing, teamwork, cooperation, and leadership by interacting with other children and parents.
The newest program for children ages 3 and 4 called “Wonder Kids Club” focuses on motor skills development integrated with cognitive development. WonderKids Club™ is a three-hour preschool prep program that extends The Little Gym experience. Britton says Wonder Kids helps children prepare for school by focusing on all the components of Little Gym’s philosophy: physical, mental, and social development.
WonderKids Club provides a safe, structured, familiar environment with active learning and center activities, arts and crafts projects, and various art media, story time, and creative play with LEGO® DUPLO® bricks. The first hour is curriculum-based with learning enrichment activities. The second hour is gymnastics instruction, practice, and guided play. The last hour returns the child to learning enrichment. Parents are welcome to drop off children or stay and observe.
Britton feels privileged to have served thousands of families through Little Gym for more than a decade. Some of his former students are now instructors, which serves as a ringing endorsement.
The cost per week for classes is surprisingly affordable, at under $20. Wonder Kids Club costs an extra $10 per class. Payment plans are also available. Little Gym summer enrollment is underway. Call (956) 687-5353 to register.