Since 1976, The Little Gym has fostered experiential learning through physical programs that provide opportunities for kids to explore their own potential and to better understand and enjoy the world around them. Now, for the first time, children from the Maritimes will be able to share in this experience.
The Little Gym of North Halifax is now open at 127 Chain Lake Dr. in the Bayers Lake Business Park. It offers a full slate of programs and classes for ages four months to 12 years, including: gymnastics, sport skills, karate and dance. There are also special camps, birthday parties, parent/child classes and even Parents' Survival Nights.
Each of the Little Gym's programs are broken into themed, multi-week learning units that lead to a natural progression of skills throughout the centre's core season, into the summer session and from one year to the next. These tend to be built around three main pillars:
• Physical activities to burn that boundless energy, plus build flexibility and strength, develop balance and coordination, and encouraging agility, rhythm and overall fitness to launch a lifetime of healthy habits.
• Exercises designed to expand the mind and develop a love of learning, while fostering listening skills, sustained concentration and decision-making. These activities also prepare for or reinforce school lessons and nurture problem-solving ability and creative expression.
• Activities that teach life skills, such as sharing, working in a group, listening and leadership - all skills that translate into a well-adjusted, well-rounded child.
The Little Gym's approach is based on some solid science and research. Major studies note the myriad benefits of early childhood physical development, including:
• Children with a high level of physical activity tend to remain highly active throughout adolescence;
• Physically active pre-school children perform better in kindergarten and grade school;
• Children with more developed motor coordination have a lower incidence of social and educational problems; and
• Positive feedback tends to increase children's intrinsic motivation, having long-term benefits on their self-confidence and willingness to embrace challenges.
In the mid-1970s, The Little Gym concept sprang from the heart and mind of founder Robin Wes. An educator, musician and kinesiologist, Wes envisioned a nurturing place where children could explore their physical development, while also growing socially, emotionally and intellectually. He created a non-competitive environment filled with the spirit to achieve rather than the pressure to win. Wes continues to create original music for each lesson.