Gymnastics Program Facility and Staff: Look For Quality
When exploring gymnastics programs for your child one of the first things you want to check for is if the facility has the proper accreditation. And any credible school should be a member of USA Gymnastics (the national governing body of gymnastics in the U.S.). This ensures they not only adhere to the minimum requirements for proper gymnastics instruction but that they also carry the proper liability insurance. Also, what kind of training/education does the staff have? Physical Education, Anatomy or another athletics-related degree (bachelor’s or higher) is best. Additionally, they should have certification in both OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and Infant/Child CPR.
Take A Tour
Any gymnastics school should give you the opportunity to tour the facility. Check for cleanliness, quality, and amount of the equipment present. Depending on the size of the school, there may be a wide range of equipment for your child to use or just the basics. Tour the changing rooms (if any) and bathrooms. See if the administration staff seems well organized and if there is a structured calendar of classes available. You can also see what rules the school has. Are there any uniform or dress codes in place? Additionally, is there a viewing area for parents to see their children in a class?
Take A Peek At the Classes
What better way to see what a gymnastics program will be like for your child than to sit in on a class? First, this will give you a chance to see the instructor-to-student ratio (8-10 students for one instructor is best), as well as the makeup of the class. Are the children all within the same age range and skill level? Or does it seem there is a variety of ages and experience levels? Large facilities will offer a broader spectrum of age/experience-specific classes.
Sitting in on a class also allows you to see how the course is structured. How much time is dedicated to teaching proper stretching and posture? How often does each student get to practice their moves? And you also can see how much interactivity your child will get with not only the teacher but also the equipment. Finally, you can see how the students interact with each other. Does the teacher encourage positive dynamics between children? Are students respectful to each other and the instructor? Is there an emphasis on safety? Sitting in one a class will be immensely helpful in giving you insight into the quality of that particular gymnastics program.
Compare Pricing and Location
Of course, program pricing and distance from your home are two very important factors as well. While a longer commute may not seem like a big deal initially but if your child becomes more serious about their gymnastics program, you may find yourself traveling to the school several times a week. So, consider the location if you may see this as a long term activity for your child.
In terms of pricing for a gymnastics program, each facility will offer something different. Explore what package deals you can choose from. What curriculums are available and how often can your child attend? If there is a dress code, will it be included with your fees or is it a separate cost? And if there are shows or competitions you’d like for your child to participate in, what are the costs associated with them? Seeing how program costs and commuting factor in will also help you decide the best option for your son or daughter.
Check Out The Extras
It may not be a necessity, but it might be worth it to also see what additional activities, events, and classes the facility offers. Do they have frequent and/or regular gymnastics events, such as meet and greets, day camps, or in-house shows? Do they offer birthday parties? Are there any other recreational classes available, such as adult or toddler classes? Alternatives such as these can help you and your child explore gymnastics in a fun and unique way.