Over the coming weeks we will releasing a series of articles exploring the influence of gymnastics in children's lives. This first post is an introduction into the importance of gymnastics in your child's physical development.
"I've encountered children who are afraid to forward roll initially"
The most rewarding part of being a gymnastics instructor is being involved in the very unique physical development of each child that you teach. I have taught elite gymnastics to children with extraordinary natural talent, who at the age of six years old are training nine hours a week. At the same time I have 10 years experience teaching recreational gymnastics, where I've encountered children who are afraid to forward roll initially but once they do their confidence grows and so too does their physical literacy. Both are considered gymnastics but with a vastly different approach and goal and I am equally passionate about them both. Gymnastics builds the foundation of basic physical development used to create confident, well-rounded children.
Physical development is influenced by a number of factors; genetics, size at birth, body type, nutrition as well as culture. Each child will have strengths and weaknesses in their developmental achievements. Whether it be in their gross motor ability, fine motor skills, emotional and social behavior or listening skills. Gymnastics is one of the only sports which develops every aspect of a child's developmental phases. Children learn foundation gymnastics skills such as rolling, handstands and cartwheels. This can be categorised as their gross motor skills controlled by their large muscle groups. Motor development is the first step in the developmental process and can be described as the ability of children to use their bodies. It is the process through which a child attains movement patterns and skills.
"If one developmental milestone is lacking in development, it will be picked up by the process of learning gymnastics skills."
However, the development from gymnastics doesn't stop there. Fine motor skills, which involve the coordination of smaller muscles are also developed. Through muscle isolation, concentration, left and right brain integration and spacial awareness. Children are also placed in an environment where they are required to listen and follow instructions as well as memorising the circuit skills, teaching them pattern sequencing. They are also challenged and forced to problem solve. If one developmental milestone is lacking in development, it will be picked up by the process of learning gymnastics skills.
I have been teaching gymnastics using the Gymkidz program for over ten years and one thing I can tell you is that every child's physical development is different. I get to see each child progress over the weeks, their confidence building and their ability improving. Our intention at Gymkidz is to make each little person feel successful and capable.
With the Gymkidz program, children are tested twice throughout the year in accordance with their age appropriate movement development. Each test provides a detailed overview of your child's development with Skills taught with each child's unique progress in mind.
In our next article we will looks at some basic exercises and movements starting with the Forward Roll and how this assists in building a child spacial awareness and overall confidence.
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