Life Lessons for Littles
At Thrive, we love our toddlers and the caregivers who guide them through each class. Super Stars classes are often the most energetic and exciting classes on the gym floor. Our toddlers and early pre-schoolers take in the wonder and excitement of the colors and shapes that abound. Though our Super Stars are young, they learn at an incredibly fast pace. One single class holds a multitude of learning and growth that expands beyond the gym walls.
The main goal of a Super Stars class is to have fun! Each month’s lesson plan contains a unique theme with thoughtful station set ups. The props around the station create engagement. They help hold the attention of our youngest learners. Their gross and fine motor skills are intentionally challenged at each station. Examples of this include activities like walking on the low beam, climbing down a ladder or sorting bean bags by color. These stations provide practice for the obstacles our Super Stars will encounter in day to day life; on the playground, at school and navigating the world.
The Super Stars experience is enhanced through the use of imagination. Imagination unlocks a child’s brain in a way that allows them to embrace the moment with full engagement. They use their imagination to translate the instructions provided. An example of this would be pretending to be a giraffe walking through the jungle while walking on the balance beam. Giving a child the imagery of the giraffe walking automatically cues them to walk tall, keep their chin high and take long steps. This naturally challenges their motor skills and builds their balance. To them they are having fun, to caregivers and coaches they are progressing their spatial awareness and enhancing their motor skill development.
The secondary goal of our Super Stars class is to provide a safe place for children to learn how to navigate obstacles and problem solve. Caregivers are a key component of helping coaches to meet this goal. Encouragement and engagement from caregivers creates a feeling of safety for the child. That feeling of safety then allows the child to explore more freely. A caregiver can demonstrate how to navigate the station and provide reassurance when a child is hesitant. This creates reinforcement of the child’s secure attachment patterns. By practicing navigating obstacles and doing small tasks together in class, children and caregivers learn how to problem solve together. They are able to negotiate when independence is needed and when help is welcome. This can be beneficial to both the caregiver and the toddler because the patterns of interaction in the class will translate to similar interactions outside the gym. The caregiver and child are learning about each other, while also practicing how to interact with peers.
The final goal of our Super Stars class is to give them space to practice their social skills. The social interactions of our toddlers and early preschoolers during class act as foundational experiences that teach them about other people. Toddlers are still learning the rules of socialization, empathy and connection. There is a vast opportunity for practicing sharing, waiting in line and taking turns. Learning to share the ball with a friend or negotiate who gets to climb the ladder first is a valuable interaction to have in a safe environment. These interactions allow children to try new ways of communicating. Some children may use their words, some children may use their hands and others may withdraw during social interactions. By observing the toddler in class, caregivers can gain awareness about how their child interacts while practicing different social skills in a safe environment.
Super Stars classes provide opportunities for our children to learn about the world around them. Our toddlers and early preschoolers navigate social and physical challenges all while using their imagination and having fun! Caregivers who stay curious, engage with their child and allow their toddler to lead the way find class to be an amazing adventure each week!