Looking for Ways to Give Your Child an Academic Edge?
Local child development specialist spotlights recent research about the not-so-obvious benefits of physical fitness for children
As families look for ways to give their children the strongest start possible on the new academic year, Page Hetrick of The Little Gym of Exton offers some recent research that demonstrates how physical activity can help children behave and learn better in the classroom.
“It’s no surprise that physical activity helps support your child’s overall health and fitness,” says Hetrick. “But recent research highlights some of the more subtle benefits that can result from encouraging children to play and be active– whether it’s through organized sports, unstructured playground activities, or programs at kid-centered facilities like The Little Gym.”
One study*, published July 1, 2015, in the American Journal of Health Promotion, found a link between a child’s attention span and self-control and their participation in organized, after-school sports and activities. Study leader Linda Pagani of the University of Montreal and CHU Sainte-Justine Children's Hospital, stated that being part of a group with a common goal may help children learn to respect rules and honor responsibilities – concepts that translate into improved focus in the classroom.
According to Hetrick, these findings echo the experience children have at The Little Gym of Exton, where programs combine physical development with activities that promote sharing, listening, concentration, and decision making. The key, according to Hetrick, is that children at The Little Gym are learning these critical life skills in a fun environment that provides a different context for learning.
In a research review** published online recently in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, researchers found that unstructured, even risky play helps children develop other critical skills, like decision-making and social interaction. The review revealed that this type of peer-group play, free from adult intervention, helps children learn to get along with other children, take turns, rely on themselves, and negotiate solutions.
“At The Little Gym, we’re not surprised by these findings because we understand that taking calculated risks is an important part of growing up,” said Hetrick. “While we generally think of childhood as a time for safety and self-esteem, risk and achievement play equally important roles in forming identity and confidence. Appropriate risk-taking helps improve motor skills, coordination, and overall confidence in being physically active. It also fosters sound decision-making and problem-solving skills so kids can more accurately judge risks in the future. So while there’s no pressure to be the best, children are encouraged and rewarded for trying their best and pushing their limits.”
Developed with a belief that experiencing and overcoming new challenges is the best way to develop the behavioral, social and physical skills that children need to function at their best both in and out of the classroom, programs at The Little Gym of Exton are designed to provide just the right amount of structure and adventure, allowing children to take calculated risks, safely explore the world around them, and experience success.
The Little Gym of Exton located at 260 North Pottstown Pike, Exton, PA is now enrolling students for the 2015-2016 Season. For more information, please contact owner Page Hetrick at 610-363-2350 or firstname.lastname@example.org, visit them at www.TLGExtonPA.com, or go to www.TheLittleGym.com.
Find your child’s happy place with our three week Introductory Experience for only $40.00
Interested in trying something new but don’t know where to start? You’ve come to the right place! With The Little Gym of Exton's Big Discoveries Introductory Experience your child will be able to discover three weeks of new experiences before you commit to enrolling for a season of classes.
We offer two options, Explore or Focus, where you’ll receive three weeks of fun, skill-building, and confidence boosting awesomeness that we’re sure your child will flip for! The Focus option offers consecutive weekly classes in the same program. The Explore option offers weekly classes in different programs so you can discover what really makes your kid smile. With either option, the Big Discoveries experience is designed to help you find your kid’s happy place… so you both know what to sign up for next!
The Big Discoveries Introductory Experience not only includes three opportunities to experience The Little Gym of Exton, but if you enroll by the day of your child’s last introductory experience you will receive $25.00 off! Come on down to The Little Gym of Exton to find your kid’s happy place! 610-363-2350
Best Gym Party by Parents Magazine!
The Little Gym has done it again! We are excited to announce that The Little Gym has been awarded Best Gym Party by Parents Magazine! We are honored to be awarded yet again by Parents Magazine following the 2010 ranking as the #1 place to host children’s birthday parties.
Thank you to all of our wonderful customers for making our Awesome Birthday Bash Parties such a success. If it wasn’t for you this award would not be possible!
If you haven’t had the opportunity to experience The Little Gym’s Awesome Birthday Bash Parties, what are you waiting for? Our fabulous instructors will lead all the fun and our team handles everything from set up to cleanup which means more fun for you!
From our Awesome Birthday Bash Parties, to our exclusive Dora the Explorer; Go, Diego, Go; and NOW new SpongBob SquarePants themed parties (coming this fall), birthdays at The Little Gym really “take the cake”! We’ve got the awards to prove how great our parties are, and now all we need is a great family like yours to make it extra fun!
Be sure to check out The Little Gym’s Best Gym Party award in the August issue of Parents Magazine, now on newsstands! And online here: http://www.parents.com/fun/birthdays/ideas/top-10-birthday-chains-for-kid-birthday-parties/?page=2
Building Success and Confidence in Children (Part I)
By Dr. Evan Brody
Your child enters a new environment, what is his reaction? Does he immediately jumpright into the situation or is he more cautious, clinging to your leg and refusing to part with you? How a child reacts to new challenges is determined by several factors, but the most important to their self-esteem is how you, as a parent, react. Here are some factors to take into consideration when helping to build your child’s self-confidence.
Personality. Take into consideration your child’s personality. If he is naturally shy, he may be more hesitant than the outgoing child who runs right up to your child and asks him to play. A parent’s encouragement and feedback can make a huge difference in the child’s willingness to be involved in a given activity.
The Impact of Learning Environments. The learning environment a parent creates directly influences the rate of learning, success and improvement of confidence in children. In addition,what and how a parent communicates with their children will facilitate, or interfere with the child’ssuccess and self-confidence.
Motor Skill Development. Skill acquisition is a function of the learning process, which in turn is dependent on the amount of quality instruction, proper practice and one’s successful past experience.
Confidence. The by-product of the skill acquisition process is confidence. The more success the child experiences, the better he will feel about himself.
Watch for the next issue of the newsletter that will discuss techniques you can use in every day life to help build success and confidence in your kids.
Building Success and Confidence in Children (Part II)
In the last issue of our newsletter, we discussed factors to take into consideration when helping to build your child’s self-confidence. In this issue, we continue to discusstechniques you can use in every day life to help build success and confidence in your children.
How do you build self-efficacy and/or confidence? First, you as a parent can set realistic goals and expectations based on the present ability level of your child. It is of vital importance that age and development be considered in setting realistic goals and expectations in growing skills.
Specific Positive Feedback and Directive Practice. Two very important communication devices weuse at The Little Gym include Specific Positive Feedback (SPF) and Directive Practice (DP). SpecificPositive Feedback is The Little Gym’s method of communicating to the child what the child did well. It is framed in a positive and nurturing context. Directive Practice involves telling the child what they cando next to take the skill to a higher level. Use this at home. It works.
Structuring Your Child’s Environment for Success. Environmental structure deals with creating an environment rich in love, support, encouragement, and compassion. Confidence is a consequence of successful experience. By creating an environment which nurtures learning new skills you can create success for your child. The results will be improvement in intellectual, social, emotional and motor skill which brings a greater ability to learn new skills.
This ability to explore and grow by the child leads to greater future success. Success will result in feelings of confidence and competence. The greater the confidence, the more likely your child will be able to handle challenging and adverse situations in his future! Try these practices out and help your child be the best they can be!
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