With more than 30 years of kid-entertaining experience, The Little Gym provides a safe and noncompetitive environment wherein wee ones can exercise their brains and bodies. Maturing moppets aged 4 months to 3 years glean social and cognitive skills from a parent-child program that helps developing minds learn colors and numbers and helps parents learn to take turns and share. Gymnastics allows energized preschoolers and kindergarteners to tumble at their own pace and caters to differing ages, levels of muscle development, and hatred of vegetables. Grade-school gymnasts tackle the mat, bar, vault, and beam in classes divided by ability, not age, and dance classes allow the rhythmically inclined to shake and sway.
Pacific Diving Academy USA was founded in 1996 with a total of five diving students. Out of those humble beginnings, the non-profit organization has grown into a multifaceted institute for diving and gymnastics. At PDA's two training centers, coaches school students in all three sports while showing them how to maximize their abilities and become leaders. This positive environment helps kids of all ages thrive. In fact, the gymnastics program is open to tots who are just 12 months old, right around the time when they start to walk and sing The Star-Spangled Banner.
The talented coaches at Maximum Cheerleading Gym are led by Nelson DeDios, a former head instructor for the United Spirit Association. Coaches ready kids to cheer with classes that cover tumbling, stunts, choreography, and gymnastics. They also hold auditions for competitive cheer teams of all levels.
The primary inspiration behind My Gym, a children's activity center with outposts in more than 30 countries, was to combat childhood obesity. This led to the development of a full curriculum of fitness and play classes for kids and invisible friend dinosaurs ages 6 weeks to 13 years. But the physical activity is just part of the process. As each child accomplishes the tasks set forth for their age group—which might include anything from sing-alongs to introductions to sports—kids experience cognitive and emotional benefits as well. The group environment helps students socialize while they learn to share and take turns, and the attention and support from instructors boost their confidence and sense of independence. For kids 2.5 years and older, progress is tracked through the Building Blocks program, a system that recognizes and awards children as they display their new skills at periodic acknowledgment ceremonies.
Jeremy and Janine Hanewinckel, a husband and wife team with varied but complementary backgrounds, own the Yorba Linda My Gym location. Jeremy—or Mr. Jeremy, as the kids call him—received a degree in child and adolescent studies at Cal State Fullerton, and Miss Janine is a certified teacher who, when not at My Gym, interacts with kids through her job at Disneyland. In addition to classes organized by age, their full schedule also includes year-round day camps and customized birthday parties.
Amir Solsky found his love of movement though yoga—a discovery that eventually led to him to capoeira. He began teaching the Brazilian art, and studied the fundamentals of movement at the Wingate Institution in Israel—an Olympic training site. Solsky went on to display his skill in music videos, television shows, and a commercial for Journeys shoe stores, and now he shares his knowledge and experience at his own studio, Capoeira Los Angeles.
Capoeira developed in Brazil as a unique blend of dance moves and martial arts. Two fighters create dialogue through graceful attacks and adept dodges, while spectators provide rhythms for their movements by singing and playing music. During each class, Amir breaks down each technique so that participants of all ages and skill levels can join in. And when he isn't teaching, he performs circus arts such as aerial hand-to-hand balancing, contortion, and sculpting with circus peanuts.
There’s a class level for every child, from the youngest beginner up to the Olympic hopeful, at Broadway Gymnastics School. That means individualized and segmented attention for kids of different age groups and skill levels. The nearly-30,000 square foot facility offers classes for kids starting at just 18 months – the adorably-named “Tumbling Toddlers” – and go all the way through adult classes, for the biggest of kids. The School also has its own U.S.A. Gymnastics teams, which participate in meets held everywhere from Pasadena to Jackson, Miss. and beyond. The facility routinely hosts birthday parties as well, the perfect alternative for parents looking to escape the usual slumber parties and expensive amusement park shindigs. With more than 30 years of experience, Broadway Gymnastics School is the home for all things tumbling.