Early Years Gymnastics for Development

January 18

Early Years Gymnastics for Development

Gymnastics is one of the most popular activities for pre-school age children. Why is this? Think of a large space, exciting equipment, vibrant colours. Add the opportunity to explore, climb, balance, hang, run and tumble. All this amounts to a super fun activity that helps children let off steam. These factors alone are enough to entice parents to introduce their young ones to gymnastics. However, there are many other benefits related to early years gymnastics participation. We mostly understand that any form of physical activity helps us to remain fit and healthy. Here are some developmental facts associated with a few gymnastics skills that will help us understand the greater benefits of pre-school gymnastics. 

Rolling. 

Going upside down stimulates receptors in the vestibular system. This is the body’s control centre for sensory input. In short it is based in the inner ear and controls balance and spatial orientation. All movements stimulate the vestibular receptors, however spinning and rotating upside down are the most intense and longest lasting forms of movement, helping children enhance senses vital to everyday movement and body control. In pre-school we modify rolls and rotations to suit ages upwards from baby. 

Bear walking.

When our children explore around the equipment, quite often they climb sideways along bars. “Bear walking” is a “cross lateral” movement when both sides of the body work at the same time, completing alternate patterns of movement. We do this naturally during everyday physical activity. More complex activities such as bear walking, activates both hemispheres in a balanced way. Because both hemispheres and all four lobes are activated, cognitive function is heightened and ease of learning increases. 

Themed and Structured Sessions.

Themed sessions maintain interest and motivation. Music and singing integrates rhythm, enhances listening skills and language development. Group activities like warm ups and cool downs help perceptual awareness, cooperation and learning to follow direction. Structured sessions provide set stations orders and obstacle courses to keep children active and provide a sense of independence as they risk take and problem solve in an encouraging environment. Children learn to take turns, interact with other children and grown-ups, building relationships and strong social ski

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