In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes opened The Little Gym based on his new take on physical education. His curriculum emphasized motivating children to achieve instead of pressuring them to win. As a result, The Little Gym became a noncompetitive, positive, nurturing environment where young ones could develop physically, socially, emotionally, and intellectually. Since then, The Little Gyms have sprouted up across the country. Enter Dean and Libby Hague-Smith. Dean and Libby immediately connected with The Little Gym approach and, eager to share it with their community, opened two locations in Austin and Round Rock. Parents of three young boys, Dean and Libby work tirelessly to maintain a talented staff that is as passionate about childhood development as they are. The programs and classes they teach aim to help kids develop skills such as rhythm and coordination, and kids camps during winter, spring, and summer breaks prevent children from creating finger paintings that express the existential ennui they feel when school is out of session.
Bodies vault, twist, and somersault at Olympia Hills Gymnastics, defying gravity with solid technique and strength of will. The Gymnastics team provides training for kids of all ages and fitness goals ranging from fun tumbling classes to programs that prepare students for competition. Classes include cheer clinics, parent and me classes for kids ages 10 months to three years, and power tumbling classes for ages eight and up. In these classes, students learn how to throw their bodies in the air and maintain control and balance, with a focus on safety. After learning the basics, students can progress to advanced levels by invitation or whenever they show up with newly-sprouted wings.
"You can do it," is not just an empty phrase at Texas Tumblers Gymnastics, it's the cornerstone of their entire philosophy. The coaches teach their students confidence from the get-go as they work their way through complicated recreational gymnastics or prepare for competitions. They also teach dance to kids ages 3 and older, as well as helming a program called AllStars cheerleading. The positive teaching philosophy also carries over to classes for adults. The fitness program for fully grown students includes circuit training and dance cardio classes, but does not include lessons on how to pole vault over cubicle walls.
Olympic gold medalist and International Gymnastics Hall-of-Famer Vladimir Artemov oversees the team of fleet-footed twisters and tumblers at Artemov Gymnastics, looking to pass the torch of health, jollity, and rubberized existence to all aspirant Olympians. Once a week for a month, benders of all skill levels can sharpen their shape-ability inside Artemov's air-conditioned, 16,000+-square-foot facility, which is filled with world-class equipment that is cushioned by body-catching trampolines and in-ground landing pits. Friendly, supportive instructors aid in collective skill progression in a variety of one-hour classes.
Though “The Machine” is an unlikely name for a little girl, flipping phenom and Sunburst Gymnastics Academy student Haley Vasquez certainly earned her title. The diminutive firecracker used her gymnastics training to tackle 143 cartwheels in less than four minutes. Sunburst’s owner and a gymnastics coach of 14 years, Nathan Britt, has fostered a fun and educational atmosphere for kids just like Haley "The Machine" Vasquez for more than 30 years.
Along with his team of skilled gymnasts, Nathan leads recreational gymnastics classes through the high school–level, training youngsters in professional events such as vault, bars, balance beam, pommel horse, and flipping into a zipped-up pair of pants. In the fully air-conditioned gym, the staff also designs and leads programs that teach skill and burn off steam for kids as young as 18 months.
For United Gymnastics' coaches, gymnastics isn't just about mastering a back handspring or having the flexibility to sink into the splits. In classes, they nurture kids to become more disciplined and confident as they strengthen their bodies and gain coordination. Parents accompany their little ones to toddler classes, which are held in a sectioned-off area with miniature, cushy equipment. Older kids advance through classes that develop tumbling and gymnastics prowess at age-appropriate levels, laying the foundations for a lifetime of physical activity.
The staff members also host birthday parties and summer camps that engage tykes with crafts and open-gym time, in which they will gain enough dexterity and flexibility to build s'mores with their feet.