It is no wonder music plays such a huge role in The Little Gym curriculum. Our musical story goes back decades. Founder, Robin Wes traveled Europe in the 60's and 70's with his guitar on his back busking and playing gigs and concerts before he opened his first The Little Gym in Seattle in 1976.
Closer to home, Randy & I (owners of The Little Gym of Corvallis) started our relationship in 7th grade band. We met behind the bass drum as we were both percussionists. Little did we know, that first meeting, would bring us to where we are today - married for 28 years, 3 musical children, owning The Little Gym of Corvallis and Randy writing, performing and directing children's and adult music for a living.
Music helps us learn language, timing, and rhythm and helps us remember. The musical A-B-C's song is a perfect example of how music helps us to remember. Research shows that music experiences improve memory and cognitive brain function in children. It also encourages motor development and creative development as well as body awareness.
Think back to your preschool and earlier days. Most all the nursery rhymes and early lessons in school were put to music....and you probably still remember them to this day. These sing-songy rhymes and diddy’s are crucial to babies and young children for their language development.
Our new Learning Unit at The Little Gym starts this week and it is all about music and what an important role it plays in the development of children. The gymnastics classes will have the regular music and jingles we use as well as some new, fun, informative and directive music sure to please the children and adults.
Who knew so much importance would be put on music? Growing up, I loved music! All types of music – rock, classical, county, big band. I never knew the music I was learning and ended up playing for my children were helping them to become incredible dancers, athletes and musicians not to mention happier beings.
When I was pregnant with Conor, Randy was not only working at our The Little Gym of Kenmore, he was also in a rock band, Miles Exeter. They were putting out a new album of music and all the wives got a copy of the music before it went public. I listened to it in the car when driving the girls to their various activities. When Conor was born, if he was upset and crying for any reason and we could not console him, we would put in the Miles Exeter cassette tape and within 5 seconds, Conor would stop crying and calm down to hear the music. We came to the conclusion that he had heard that music in utero all the time and it soothed his soul. We even tested the theory several times by putting in other music when he was upset. Nothing worked like the music of his dad’s rock band. Music, after all, does calm the savage beast.
Are You Ready For a Fiesta?
Grab your backpacks and head to The Little Gym! Dora is here! We are so excited to announce that The Little Gym is now the exclusive host of "Dora the Explorer"-themed birthday parties! We have partnered with Nickelodeon to create a special birthday party curriculum that includes a storyline and music from the Emmy award-winning animated preschool series. Your favorite The Little Gym instructors will lead lucky birthday children through a Dora adventure featuring encounters with Backpack, Map and other characters from Dora's world. Sound like serious fun? Book your child's Dora Birthday adventure today by calling us at 541-753-0950!
The Little Gym was acclaimed by Parents Magazine in 2010 as the #1 place to host children's birthday parties.
Having been involved with The Little Gym for several years, both as a parent and wife of an employee at The Little Gym, International, I knew the program and what excellent teachings it offers children. Little did I know how much I would learn and grow as a person being an owner of a The Little Gym.
When Randy & I first opened the doors of The Little Gym of Corvallis, our youngest child, Conor, was a senior in high school. I knew I needed something to “mother” as he would soon be leaving “the nest” for college. I started out with one full time employee, who happened to be our eldest daughter, Brei, and 3 part-timers (one was our other daughter, Kylee). First lesson: How to work with family members and still love each other at the end of the day. There is a delicate balance between mother/daughter relationships when operating a family business. For example, how to get your point across to your employee and not be the “parent” but instead the employer (and vise versa). Lessons learned, we drew boundary lines quickly and decided not to talk business during family gatherings. Another great lesson as the business talk was interfering in our family time.
My second lesson came when Brei decided to leave TLGC. I had to “grow up” and run things by myself. I realized how much I depended on her to teach most of the classes, run the front desk and fire those employees that didn’t always work out. She was an excellent teacher and did a great job managing our team. I was the finance/marketing person – “behind” the scenes, so-to-speak. I did not feel competent filling her shoes. I had worked in the medical field up to this point. I knew how to run a front desk and all about customer service. I had taught a few classes and assisted in several but the new lesson plans were packed with such incredible information, there was no way I would be able to remember all of that information and make it sound intelligent when talking to customers. My confidence was wavering.
It took a year but currently, I am successful! I love my job. I teach more classes including Parent/Child, PreK and even a grade school class. I am learning more everyday on human relations, child development, and most importantly, self awareness. I have learned to be open minded, more positive, how to slow down and enjoy the moment (especially when I am teaching our granddaughter, Penny), to have fun even in a stressful situation, and most importantly to believe in myself. Even at 50, I CAN teach 5 classes in one day!
The best way to encourage kids to try their best is with a smile! But don’t take our word for it. Research studies confirm that positive feedback triggers a natural drive for kids to discover their own potential. Intrinsically motivated children are more involved in their own learning and development and tend to be more enthusiastic learners.
So how can you help your child become intrinsically motivated? Praise your child’s efforts as well as their actual accomplishments. Offer suggestions in a supportive way and never criticize or compare their efforts to another child’s.
Here at The Little Gym, we celebrate gold medal moments every day by challenging children to strive for their own personal best in a positive, non-competitive environment. Each new accomplishment builds confidence and each successful experience motivates kids to try for the next. Whether they’re learning to land the perfect cartwheel or are learning to listen and follow directions, the confidence gained will inspire them to strive for new challenges with proud Olympic-sized smiles on their faces.
Each New Year is a new opportunity to focus on making positive changes in your life. While this is a great habit for everyone, it’s especially important for parents. Why? Because the choices that you make not only benefit you, they have a direct effect on your child’s health, too!
Here are 3 parenting resolutions to consider for 2012:
1. Instill a love for physical activity. Physical activity provides countless benefits. So, it’s important to help your child develop healthy habits at an early age. In addition to gymnastics, The Little Gym has several physical activities for kids, such as Sports Skills and Dance, which can help your child develop a love for an active lifestyle.
2. Establish healthy eating habits. Keep healthy, yummy snacks on hand and set an example for your child with your own food choices. Plan low fat meals that follow the government's MyPlate guidelines and involve your children in meal planning and shopping. This allows you to reinforce your child’s healthy meal options and helps children discover new foods and flavors.
3. Focus on your child's positive behaviors. Like adults, children respond to favorable comments and adopt behaviors that gain them attention. Try to get in the habit of catching your children “at their best.” Providing encouragement for good behavior or for achievements in sports or other physical activities is a great way to motivate children to maintain good habits.
While you help your children develop healthy habits, don’t forget to make resolutions for your own health as well. In fact, consider resolving to get some well-deserved “me” time this year. Planning some time away from the kids should be considered a necessity rather than a luxury. Plus, brief separations are beneficial for kids as well. Time away helps foster a feeling of independence and builds bonds with other adults such as grandma, a favorite neighbor, or The Little Gym instructors. And if you need a parents night out, our Parents’ Survival Nights have got you covered!
As we start the New Year, we’re thrilled to have helped so many children in the Corvallis area develop an appreciation for fitness and fun with our kids gym classes. We’re still taking enrollments for students that want to join for the second half of the 2011-2012 Season. For more information, or to schedule a free introductory class, please contact a team member at (541) 753-0950 today!
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