Did you know? The Other Things Your Pre-Rec Gymnast is Learning. — From Coach Hannah Hoy
Here at The Cave, we have a rapidly growing pre-recreational gymnastics program for toddlers, aged 18 months to five years old. Whether they are starting at this age because they want to be the next Simone Biles or Jake Dalton, or just because they need an extracurricular activity, your children are learning much more than just gymnastics. Of course they are learning valuable basic gymnastic skills and having lots of fun doing so, but did you know they are learning much more? These are the top five things students are learning that actually have nothing to do with gymnastics skills!
Safety first! In every class, students learn how to follow rules, obey their teachers, and how to “fall” safely. These skills won’t apply just to the gym; your children will be able to take these skills and awareness of personal safety to the playground, school, and out into the “real” world.
Gymnastics isn’t easy, especially when little feet are balancing on a tiny beam. Sometimes students lose their balance and fall down, but they keep trying and eventually they walk all the way across that blue beam. This teaches them to keep trying until they succeed. What a valuable life skill!
3. Patience and Discipline
What two, three, four or five year old likes to wait for her turn to do something fun and exciting? I don’t know many, especially when it comes to the trampoline room. Every child is jumping with excitement for her turn on the trampoline, but she won’t always get to go first. Having to perform a different activity, such as “superman handstands”, teaches students to have self-discipline and to focus on the task at hand. Each one of them has to patiently wait while performing a different activity before getting a turn on the trampoline. Understanding how to be patient and self-disciplined is a crucial developmental behavior.
Sometimes it’s easier to walk sideways on the beam than to try walking forward, especially when the coach isn’t looking. But, here at The Cave, our coaches stress the importance of always doing the right activity even when we aren’t looking. This teaches your little ones to do the right thing which is not just a gym skill, it’s an important character trait!
5. Self-confidence and Courage
A lot of children at this age are cautious and they aren’t aware of the capabilities of their bodies. Every time a student completes a new skill all by himself and receives a congratulatory high-five from his coach, his self-esteem and confidence is built up. It takes courage to try new things, especially when flipping upside down for the very first time. Students feel successful and gain confidence once a new skill is completed, which is important for so many aspects in life.
So, while your kiddo may be learning to be a superstar gymnast, he or she is also learning important traits that can be applied in many aspects of life, with or without gymnastics!