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ParentGUIDE

 

Can Gymnastics Really
Help My Child in School?

Absolutely!! Here's How.....

Social and Organizational Skills
Gymnastics:

  1. Participates in class calmly and controls anger
  2. Takes risks when learning new movement patterns
  3. Moves from station to station without getting "lost"
  4. Tunes into coach's instructions
  5. Remains focused while watching others perform
  6. Completes activities wihtout constant prodding
  7. Confidently learns new skills
  8. Joyful child who you hope will come back each session!

School:

  1. Self-regulates in the classroom
  2. "I can do it!" Attitude when it comes to academic skills
  3. Easily transitions between academic subjects
  4. Tunes into teacher's isntructions
  5. Cooperates and gets along with others in the class
  6. Completes class assignments without prodding
  7. Confidently meets new goals
  8. Joyful child teachers love to have in class!

Sensory Processing
Gymnastics:

  1. Participates in activities requiring deep pressure to the joints as in mat and bar work
  2. Participates in vestibular and heavy work activities: rolling, climbing, jumping, swinging, trampoline activities, creeping, crawling, movements at floor level on the stomach, hanging from the bars, handstands, headstands and cartwheels
  3. Listens to coach's instrucitons and processes multi-step directions including sequential routines and completing complex movement patterns 

School:

  1. Joint sensation adequate for correct pencil grip, forming letters accurately, and appropriate pencil tension
  2. Vestifular system is working properly so that visual, auditory, and tactile information is integrated, leading to reading with ease, sitting upright in the chair, enjoying rich tactile experiences with glue, paint and other textures.
  3. Listens to teacher's instructions and follows multi-step directions; understands complex math patterns

Postural Control
Gymnastics:

  1. Balances on Beam
  2. Performs tuck and extension patterns with ease
  3. Participates in warm-ups requiring strong abdominal and back muscles
  4. Accomplishes all movements on various equipment requiring core postural strength
  5. Performs sequential rhythmic activities using full integration of auditory, visual, and tactical systems

School:

  1. Balances in chair
  2. Writes with ease due to good strength and balance
  3. Has strength and endurance for seat work; legs comfortably on floor and not wrapped around chair legs for stability
  4. Sits without rocking the chair, knee sitting, or lying body across desk
  5. Learns with ease and can process auditory, visual, and tactile information as needed for academics.

Bilateral Integration
Gymnastics:

  1. Performs movement requiring crossing the midline of the body
  2. Performs movement that requires using both sides of the body together and separately
  3. Enjoys activities including ribbons, hoops, balls, rope
  4. Understands directional terms including over, under, next to, and between

School:

  1. Writes while using complete page with print following a left to right sequence
  2. Full brain integration to decode and comprehend what is read
  3. Enjoys Physical Education games and recess
  4. Distinguishes between letters b/d/p/q and writes with no reversals

Body Awareness
Gymnastics:

  1. Sits and waits for turn without bothering other children
  2. Aware of the body in space and makes adjustments as needed
  3. Enjoys warm-up routines with music and keeps a steady beat or rhythm with ease
  4. Accurately integrates vision with motor skills and makes adjustments in timing as needed to complete complex skills
  5. Lines up without pushing and tripping others; honors other's personal space

School:

  1. Patiently waits turn in class and honors other student's personal space
  2. Flexible with schedule changes and substitutes
  3. Understand the rhythmic nature of reading and speech leading to fluency skills
  4. Good letter spacing while writing; while reading relates story to self and others due to good self awareness
  5. Lines up without messing around and obeys teacher's requests

Nine Myths About Recreational Gymnastics Busted!

2 years ago

  1. My child isn’t very coordinated so she should not do gymnastics. (You could also substitute strong or flexible for coordinated.) All the more reason your child should do gymnastics! Gymnastics works on those fundamental gross motor skills that all children need to develop to become physically fit.
  2. If my child isn’t going to be on team, she shouldn’t waste her time doing gymnastics. Not so. Gymnastics is a wonderful activity in and of itself. In addition to the physical benefits of the sport, gymnastics offers all sorts of life lessons, character building opportunities and the chance to meet new friends. And, perhaps most importantly for the child participating, it’s fun!
  3. There isn’t much my child can get from a once a week class. The APA recommends that all children get at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity. So, on gymnastics day, that is taken care of for you! In addition, the basic fitness skills your children will learn make it considerably more likely that they continue to participate in other sports and physical activities on their days away from the gym. In addition, the life lessons of preserving and having self-discipline are part of any gymnastics lesson. Also, you are welcome to enroll in a second day!
  4. My child is going to be too tall for gymnastics. While it is true that most elite level gymnasts are quite petite, certainly not all are. And, for the level of gymnastics that most children who participate achieve, height is not a major limiting factor in their ability to progress. If your child is interested in gymnastics or is enrolled and having a good time, that’s what matters! (And this is being written by a former gymnast who stands at 5’8”!)
  5. I don’t want gymnastics to stunt my child’s growth. It won’t! As mentioned, most high-level gymnasts are quite short.   However it is likely because smaller, lighter people have an easier time doing high-level gymnastics and therefore succeed at a greater rate than their taller teammates. In other words, it isn’t gymnastics that makes them short, it’s them being short allows them to succeed at elite level gymnastics. Additionally, it isn’t until gymnasts are on an elite training track (30 plus hours a week) that delays in puberty or normal growth curves are of concern. A couple hours a week of gymnastics will have no effect on your child’s growth. It will, however, have a positive effect preventing obesity, strengthening bones and encouraging a lifetime of fitness.
  6. Gymnastics is too dangerous! Gymnastics coaches have much more training than most other sports coaches, having to pass safety tests, first aid tests and proficiency tests for teaching. They are considerably more knowledgeable than the average youth sports coach on topics such as injury prevention, conditioning and proper rehabilitation. Furthermore, many of the injuries in gymnastics are repetitive stress injuries due to over training. A gymnast taking a class once or twice a week is highly unlikely to develop such an injury.  Finally, most gymnastics related injuries don’t take place under at a gymnastics club, rather they happened at home!  Gymnastics when practiced at a well-equipped club with safety certified, professional coaches who follow a safe, logical and developmentally appropriate lesson plan is quite safe.
  7. I have a son, and gymnastics is a girls’ sport. Gymnastics is for boys too!  It is the basis of all sports. There is no better cross training sport than gymnastics as it develops strength, agility and coordination.  The flexibility gained, learning how to fall and kinesthetic awareness helps prevent injury.   Finally, gymnastics helps kids take coaching feedback, a valuable skill for sports and life.
  8. Gymnastics interferes with schoolwork causing poor academic performance. To the contrary. There are multiple studies that suggest that children who are physically fit perform better in the classroom and that gymnastics specifically may boost reading scores.
  9. My child is too old to start gymnastics.  Please don’t say that!  It’s incredibly sad that as a society we tell kids as young as eight or nine that they are “too old” to start a sport.  Even if you have a pre-teen or teenager who is interested in beginning gymnastics, it’s not “too late.”  Yes, it may require finding a club with classes geared to older beginners, but they are out there.  Let’s not quash a child’s interest in trying something new that is has so many benefits and is so much fun!