In this article I will attempt to give you some insight to how we run our preschool classes. I believe that this article will be especially helpful to our clients enrolled in our daycare/preschool programs. I will try to paint a visual of what a preschool gymnastics class is like. Our class is broken into two segments, Opening Activities and Skill Stations. Today I will talk about the first segment of class.
Opening Activities (10 to 12 minutes)
Class starts with the base mats clear. All students and coaches sit in a circle to take attendance and remind them of the Gym Star rules. This is achieved within a few minutes in a very active, fun, fast paced manner. We have 3 rules! Stay on the blue mats, as we pat the mats. Keep your hands to yourself, as we clap our hands in rhythm and finish by hugging ourselves. Listen when the teacher talks, as we turn on our listening ears and lock our lips closed. Rules are necessary to create safe and clear boundaries. Children need rules to feel safe in their environment. We keep it short and simple for them to understand.
Next we review or introduce the gymnastic positions that will be used for class that day. After the positions are established they explore ways to make the positions move and become active. Starting in a circle provides the spacing for all students to move at the same time safely and work at their pace. Starting on the floor gives them the security and time to learn how to maintain the body shape. Rock and Rolls are a good example of this. We then transition to movements that require full body activity and coordination. Donkey Kicks or Teeter Totters are examples of skills that stay in one place. Bear Walks and Hot Dog Rolls are examples of skills that move about the open mat area. These movements are slower and help them to learn spatial awareness and to coordinate the entire body into one goal. Everyone is moving at the same time while the staff moves to the individuals that need assistance. Next we work into faster movements like skipping or galloping. Speeding up the activity increases focus and attention span. As the students develop in skill level this open mat time may be used to review basic skills ranging from Rolls to Cartwheels and Handstands.
This portion of class is designed to be fast paced, highly active and quickly changing. At the same time it allows for all students to move at the same time and at their own ability level. The primary goal is to connect their mind to their body in a fun, positive process. The pace during this section of class serves two purposes. First, to raise their body temperature, which prepares their muscles to be strengthened and stretched. Second, is to increase the aerobic and anaerobic cardiovascular conditioning of our students. Moving and changing quickly gets the students to listen better and think quicker.
The Gym Star staff will get your child excited about movement, learning and accomplishment.