GYMNASTICS IS FOUNDATIONAL.
First and foremost, gymnastics provides a great foundation for all children whether they aspire to be an Olympic gymnast, a baseball player, or even an astronaut. Gymnastics, by its very definition, is the foundation of every sport as “physical exercises designed to develop strength and coordination.” Physical activity focused on developing gross motor skills and coordination help improve children’s cognitive brain growth and set children up for success in life. At DeVeau’s, we offer gymnastics and other active classes for children from crawling all the way up to college.
Gymnastics classes are perfect for young children because they help develop strength, coordination, flexibility, balance, cognitive development, and social and emotional learning during children’s most important times—while they are growing! As a parent of three preschoolers, I have loved watching how strong and coordinated my boys have become through their gymnastics classes! My five-year-old son is now able to do five chin ups—and that’s not something many children or even adults can do! I love feeling confident that his foundation in gymnastics will carry him forward with whatever he chooses to do in life.
GYMNASTICS DEVELOPS COORDINATION.
Gymnastics requires full body exercise which is so important because it allows kids to strengthen and learn how to use all parts of their bodies. Developing children’s proprioception sense, or “the ability to know where a body part is without having to look,” can translate into any sport or everyday activity they may want to pursue later in life. Jumping on trampolines, walking on balance beams, rolling on the floor, and swinging on a bar all help children to be aware of their bodies’ movements. Children enhance their vestibular sense, or their balance and movement sense, while they walk on a balance beam, balance on one foot, or even bounce on a trampoline.
DeVeau’s curriculum focuses on teaching these gross motor skills like jumping, hopping on one foot, skipping, galloping, kicking, running, throwing, and catching, mixed in with typical gymnastics skills such as cartwheels and forward rolls, because we know how important it is for children’s growth and coordination.
GYMNASTICS ENHANCES FLEXIBILITY.
Flexibility is equally as important as strength because a “well stretched muscle more easily achieves its full range of motion” thus improving athletic performance and balance as well as reducing the likelihood of injuries. Flexibility can greatly influence an athlete’s ability to kick a ball or swing a golf club and is so much easier to improve younger in life. From our experience at DeVeau’s, it is much easier for athletes to improve their flexibility at a younger age, and athletes who improve their flexibility while they are young are more likely to remain flexible throughout life.
GYMNASTICS PROMOTES COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT.
Strength, coordination, flexibility, and balance are probably the most obvious benefits parents think of when considering what their child can learn from gymnastics. However, gymnastics is so important to children’s development because physical activity can also promote cognitive development. Today, 15-20% of children suffer from learning delays, and children live sedentary lifestyles with iPads, television, and virtual learning now more than ever. “Children are less likely to move around and play when they are engaged in a screen, and exploring their environment through play and movement develops motor, communication, and sensory skills.” The more active a child is through play and physical activity, the less time a child has for other things that are not as beneficial to their development.
GYMNASTICS DEVELOPS SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL SKILLS.
Gymnastics is also beneficial to children’s social and emotional development. “Social-emotional skills allow us to express ourselves appropriately in different environments and with different people. Developing these skills helps boost your child’s confidence and can help them in school, work, and life.” Gymnastics provides a great opportunity for children to grow as individuals and learn how to relate with others. Children are able to learn their different strengths and weaknesses because in gymnastics, as in all things in life, people excel in different ways. One child may be very flexible and brave on balance beam while struggling with their strength on bars compared to their peers. Learning how to become aware of other’s feelings and be proud of their own accomplishments are skills that are so important to help children succeed in life. There is nothing more exciting as a coach than when a child realizes they are capable of more than even they believed they could accomplish!
KIDS GYMNASTICS IS FUN!
At the end of the day, the best part about gymnastics is that it is not only critical for children’s development in all facets, but it is fun! Children get to bounce on trampolines, swing on bars, and jump into foam pits, and at the end of the class, they leave with a smile on their faces! Parents can feel confident knowing that their children just spent quality time that will impact their future, but all that children care about is that they got to have fun using up some of that extra energy. As both a mother and a coach, I believe that in our current environment, there is nothing more important than helping our children smile and have fun.