MARPLE — Over the past few years, more and more attention is being focused on young children and the part that sport plays in their lives. Are sports helping children develop character and self confidence? What part does the attitude of the parent and coach play in how the children see themselves? Will good experiences in early years lead to a life time of fitness and better health? There are a lot of issues that come to mind and one local gymnastics center takes that responsibility very seriously.
At Kehler’s Gymnastics Center in Broomall, the director, Russ Kehler, brings his experience in child psychology to his daily work with children and their families. Kehler believes children must be allowed to enjoy their childhood in a nurturing and positive environment.
“A lot of times both parents and coaches in sports programs lose their focus or get involved for the wrong reasons to begin with,” Kehler said. “As both a parent and a coach, I really believe we need to support our kids in the areas that they excel, and give them lots of positive reinforcement for the right things.”
How do parents react to Kehler’s Gymnastics teaching style? Parent Michele Stulman of Springfield recently said, “Kehler’s gymnastics is the number one place to attend gymnastics and tumble tykes classes because the children are instructed by a caring staff, who are able to focus on the needs of each child. The children learn new moves and continued flexibility in a safe, fun and supported atmosphere. Kehler’s is a great place to have your child experience social growth and a feeling of independence.”
Parent Ian Gosweiler of Broomall says, “I have absolutely loved watching my daughter progress through Kehler’s gymnastics program. Every staff member is extremely attentive, knowledgeable, and takes the time to get to know each child. There’s a personal approach to the way classes are set up and run so that the children are constantly moving and feel supported. During each lesson, I see my daughter learning new skills and reinforcing skills that she has already learned. She has been gaining confidence in her everyday life, is becoming more adventurous, and becoming more willing to try new things. Kehler’s is a truly fantastic center and I love their program!”
What about the child who struggles with sports activities? Russ Kehler says, “I believe it’s important to keep it fun for every child who walks in the door at my center and it should be that way in all sports activities. We always say, ‘Challange each child at their own level of ability,’ which basically means, find ways to make it easy and fun for every child, regardless of their abilities.”
Kehler has used and refined this model of pedagogy over the years in his program at Kehler’s Gymnastics. Students are given bi-monthly skill evaluations and the whole class cheers for each child as they receive awards for their individual progress.
“It’s an innovative concept in children’s sports,” says Kehler, “Our system is not for everyone, but increasingly we’re finding that by emphasizing self-confidence and progress rather than traditional competition in our classes, we get a lot of great feedback from our families.”
For more information on Kehler’s programs, call 610-”KIDS-FUN” or 359-9999 or visit www.mykidsgym.com.
(Editorial content was written and supplied by Kehler’s Gymnastics.)