The coaches at Gym Spot have trained several award-winning state and regional gymnasts, as well as recreational gymnasts. However, they also train babies. Their curriculum covers classes for children as young as 12 months, as they believe that a gymnastics education develops universal life skills, not just the ability to win medals. Their preschool sessions allow toddlers to work with their parents or on their own, depending on age, as they practice hand-eye coordination and cooperation.
As for children in 1st through 8th grade, they participate in activities that align with the USA Gymnastics program, including tumbling, vaulting, balance beam, and bars. Students who hope to compete, meanwhile, work on graduating each successive USAG level.
The Next Theatre Company, celebrating its 30th anniversary, stages relevant, boundary-pushing performances in a cozy, 142-seat space. Adam Rapp, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, loosely based The Metal Children on his personal experience as an author. The story, which is set in a small midwestern town, follows a young adult novelist who is forced to defend his writing to the conservative townspeople by showing them an 18-hour PowerPoint presentation. The play had a successful Off-Broadway during its run not on Broadway.
Though typically only a wistful dream of humans and ostriches, spending a day soaring through the air becomes a reality at Trapeze School New York in Chicago (TSNY Chicago). One of six locations across the country, TSNY Chicago educates participants of all levels in the art of flying through group trapeze sessions. The aerial academy also dapples its schedule with lyra, static trapeze, tightwire, trampoline, conditioning, and acrobatics classes, allowing students to have fun and eat unlimited servings of cloud while getting in shape.
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.
Started in 2005 by four-time Olympic gold medalist Lenny Krayzelburg, this aquatic academy offers a learn-to-swim program for children of all ages. In their nearly 10 years in operation, Krayzelburg and crew have taught thousands of children how to be safe, proficient swimmers.
During group classes, private lessons, and parent-tot sessions, the team uses a seven-level SwimRight curriculum to build proper form. The approach starts with helping kids get into the water and assisting them during back floats and basic drills. As students progress through the program, they learn to master the freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly. Advancement to a new level is marked with color-coded swim caps.