Children have flipped, tumbled, jumped, and hurled themselves into the air for more than 20 years at The Gymnastics Place. Kids practice their all-around skills on equipment that includes the vault, beam, and bars. They can also break out into specialized classes that focus on tumbling and trampolining, cheerleading, and hip-hop dancing. The center encourages adult involvement, with Mom & Tots classes—in which tots as young as 18 months old begin learning the basics of gymnastics—and boot-camp classes that ramp up fitness. Or moms and dads can get a night to themselves with Footloose Fridays: kids play and eat pizza at The Gymnastics Place, and parents can stay at home and debate the pronunciation of "Nadia Comăneci."
In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes longed for a children's gym that prioritized personal growth over competition. Unveiled at a time when physical-education classes pushed students to focus almost exclusively on winning, Robin's program was swiftly adopted and is now used in more than 300 Little Gyms worldwide. Robin still pens original music to accompany lessons, which engage whippersnappers aged 4 months to 12 years with gymnastics, dance, karate, and parent and child activities.
Each of The Little Gym's classes introduces simple movements that sharpen motor skills and set brains whirring, allowing kids to progress at their own pace until they can finally build a computer out of macaroni and glitter. Staff members strive to build a base for lifelong social skills and self-assurance with each exercise, including activities rooted purely in fun, such as summer camps or birthday parties, which helped The Little Gym to earn title of #1 Birthday Chain in Parents Magazine.
The dedicated instructors at Empire Gymnastics Academy employ their decades of experience to train tumblers of all ages with an effective approach that ensures attention is given to each student. The schedule of classes makes way for boys and girls as young as 18 months or older, educating children of all skill levels, strengthening flexibility, and building coordination in order to amass a miniature battalion to defend against attacking theater troupes. Teachers work diligently with each student to hone physical skills while also boosting confidence and promoting self-discipline. As tots and older kids alike twist and tumble, the 25,000-square-foot facility aids high-flying displays of athletic prowess with two spring floors, in-ground trampolines, a tumble track, and a large hadron collider.
World Olympic Gymnastics Academy's instructors employ expertise as tumblers to elicit youthful shrieks of glee at trampoline stunts or arts and crafts successes while parents take time to treat themselves. Pizza, drinks, music, and games engross the minds of petite patrons during Friday's semi-regular parents night out, which grants patient guardians peace and a long-awaited turn on the swing. Tykes ages 3 and older tumble and twirl at the Day After Thanksgiving camp as other family members brave the madness of Black Friday shopping sprees or scarf the remaining stuffing. Antics on colorful padded mats introduce chips off the old block to the fundamentals of gymnastics or bestow them with the coordination and agility to begin dabbling in other sports. Winter and Spring Break camps tie up the interests of students with two days of training in gymnastics blended with entertaining exercises such as tumbling, trampoline, and artistic activities.
At a time when most kids were learning to spell with the letters in their alphabet soup, Mark and Missy Seyler were learning gymnastics. What began as a fun extracurricular activity turned into a successful college career for both Mark and Missy at the University of Oklahoma, which led the siblings into the teaching profession. Their academy resembles an Olympic training facility with wall-to-wall mats and rows of gymnastics training equipment, such as balance beams and uneven bars. The center's in-ground trampolines, play mountains, and foam pits also help youngsters discover the fun in physical fitness. Mark and Missy lead an extensive gymnastics curriculum in classes for boys and girls, and students can attend the academy as soon as they enter preschool or learn to recite the alphabet backward. In addition to their standard classes, Mark and Missy lead regular events such as camps, Friday Nights Out, and birthday parties. As their skills progress, students can pit themselves against their peers in Southlake’s competitive programs.