Writing and gross motor skills; math and nutrition; fine motor skills and social etiquette. Physical and social development may seem unrelated, but connecting the two can boost cognitive ability in growing children. That’s why WisdomGym Preschool always incorporates movement into its academic sessions. WisdomGym is just one branch of the Horizon Complex, which fosters a healthy community by teaching kids of all ages dance, gymnastics, and cheerleading skills.
Children as young as 4 months old can participate in gymnastics classes that help build motor skills through playful routines and exercises. At age 2, children can begin dance classes that progress to advanced levels of ballet, tap, jazz, and hip-hop. In cheerleading classes—for ages 4 and older—students can practice tumbling and chants with the goal of one day learning to successfully chumble. As kids play, parents can wait out in the lobby and peer through the windows that open into most classrooms.
At Gonyon's Gymnastics, highly trained staff members craft a unique exercise regimen for each child, helping students foster confidence and grace as they master their desired gymnastic routine. Kids of all ages and levels first learn the fundamentals of bodily alignment while learning basic acrobatic skills. Over the weeks, students build balance, flexibility, and brawn through myriad gymnastic activities that include tumbling across floor mats, striding on balance beams, bouncing on trampolines, and feeding oats to pommel horses. The spacious gymnasium boasts colorful mats for preschool classes or more professional equipment for advanced students.
The trainers at Gymnastiks Unlimited make use of every inch of their 20,000 square foot facility as they encourage students of all ages to balance, leap, and flip. Aside from honing physical skills and building up confidence reserves, they extend their educational efforts to encompass a wholly healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and proper diet, such as eating frogs’ legs to help boost vaulting skills. Students age 18-months and older can readily enroll in recreational classes, and the facility’s Talent Opportunity Program provides more rigorous training for those who show an aptitude and desire to compete on a national level.
Following in the Ribeiro tradition and teaching system, Ribeiro Jiu Jitsu Grand Rapids uncorks a wealth of wisdom during classes for men, women, teens, and kids. Head instructor Ryan Hyde—who has shared the mat with black belts, world champions, and professional MMA fighters—leads the facility’s teaching efforts. In addition to teaching the physical movements of BJJ, Ryan builds his teaching philosophy atop four main pillars: humility, respect, perseverance, and compassion. He deploys his pedagogical prowess during classes where he offers specific advice, but he also dusts off his teaching chops during the facility’s open mat sessions, when he takes on more of a mentorship role. In those sessions, students sharpen their skills by practicing with each other rather than sparring with the mall mannequin that keeps giving everyone the hairy eyeball.
The high-intensity trainers at Work It Off Fitness lead a regimen of no-nonsense fitness classes designed to help clients efficiently hit and maintain their health goals. They believe that a tight-knit community of focused and passionate exercisers is an important motivator, so they aim to keep their classes engaging and ever changing to ensure regular participation. Classes focus on aerobic exercise and muscle sculpting, and though they are challenging, each move can be modified to suit students of any fitness levels. In addition to group classes, instructors meet one on one with clients for personal-training sessions or to talk about their muscles’ awkward growth spurts. The staff also maintains a comprehensive website filled with information pages to complement workouts, such as Nutrition 101, postexercise nutrition, and healthy eating.