Mastering the Parallel Bars of Gymnastics and the Classroom

So the new fall season of extracurricular activities is here, and yet again I am enrolling both my children in a gymnastics program.  I actually find it quite humorous that I enroll my children in gymnastics because it certainly was NOT a forte of mine as a child.  On the contrary, I was terrified of falling off the balance beam and I couldn’t do a back handspring, let alone a graceful back bend, to save my life.  Nonetheless, I enrolled my son for the first time when he was mere 18-months old.  Now he’s 4-years old, my daughter is two, and I still can’t imagine a better way for my children to let off some steam and have a great time.

Frankly, when I enrolled my son back in January of 2008, gymnastics simply was a way for us to do some physical activity together.  I particularly loved having some exercise given how “ginormous” I was in my second pregnancy.  But as my son grew and developed, I realized there were some ancillary benefits to gymnastics which are now laying the foundation for some core values as well as physical agility:  listening to instruction, following and executing directions, balance, coordination, courage.  Who would have thought at such a young age gymnastics would mean so much more than a forward roll?

Jamie Loizeaux, General Manager at Gymnastic Academy of Boston in Acton, has been a great instructor and role model.  He forwarded me a wonderful article entitled “An Academic Treasure Chest”. The article was originally written by USA Gymnastics (the national governing body for the sport).  They have a Board of Pediatric Specialists who compiled all the research.  It is a great read about the parallels (no pun intended) between gymnastics skills and classroom demands.  The article provides great analogies between activities common to gymnastics and those required in an academic setting under the following categories:

  • Social and Organizational Skills
  • Sensory Processing
  • Postural Control
  • Bilateral Integration
  • Body Awareness

If gymnastics does not appeal to your son, perhaps wrestling is a good substitute.  Gymnastic Academy of Boston also enrolls boys ages 5-12 years in their wrestling programs.

You can read the article here , just in time for National Gymnastics Day on September 18.  Who knows, maybe you’ve got the next Nadia Comaneci in your household!  [Ouch, I really dated myself there.  Ok, how about Alicia Sacramone?]

You can find plenty of gymnastics classes on! So ZipSearch key word “gymnastics” today!


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