In January 2015 the Prep School P.E. department extended a new sports outreach scheme into the local community called Gym Tots.
Gym Tots is a parent and toddler gymnastic group, aimed at providing local pre-school children with a gymnastic based activity. It runs on Thursday morning during term time between 9:30 and 10:30 followed by juice and biscuits for the children and tea and coffee for the parents afterwards.
The gymnastic climbing frames, vaulting equipment, balance beams, mats and other equipment are set up in the gymnasium and parents guide their children round as they climb, jump, roll and explore the apparatus. Specialist P.E. staff are on hand to help guide and develop the skills of the children as they attempt more complex movements. Since the scheme was introduced it has been consistently very well attended with between 30 and 40 sets of parents and children attending every week.
Gym Tots aims to provide a safe environment for the children to develop physically. For some of the very young children it is their first introduction to gymnastics and movement and they all seem to enjoy the activity and are very enthusiastic performers. It teaches them how to share, wait for their turn and co-operate with other children. Those who are more confident enjoy working with the P.E. staff for small periods of time to develop their skills. The less confident children learn from watching others perform as they try and copy what they have seen.
The purpose built gymnastics facilities that we offer and specialist P.E. staff who are present to help the children develop their skills of balance, co-ordination and strength are critical factors.
The children benefit from having a regular gymnastic session designed to be fun and also develop core skills and movement.
The programme emerged from a management meeting where I was asked to develop a mother and toddler gymnastic programme involving the local community.
We advertised on social media and the partnership has been running weekly since January 2015.
The gymnastic climbing frames, vaulting equipment, balance beams, mats and soft play equipment are set up in the gymnasium and parents guide their children round as they climb, jump, roll and explore the apparatus.
Specialist P.E. staff are on hand to help guide and develop the skills of the children as they attempt more complex movements.
Our catering staff provide refreshments in the school dining room after the session has ended.
We charge £5 per session or £25 for 6 sessions (half a term). The money raised goes back into buying age appropriate equipment for the children to use.
Gym Tots has consistently been attended by 30 – 40 families every week. We run this as a ‘drop in’ activity and there are a lot of regulars who attend every week. It is also encouraging that new parents and toddlers join the session which keeps the flow of numbers participating at a consistent level. The enjoyment on the face of the children is also a key measure of success.
This doesn’t involve any of our pupils. It is run by the P.E. staff for the children and families of the local community.
This is a regular sustainable project designed to continue to run.