According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, ensuring that children are ready for successful school experiences is one of the most pressing issues in early childhood policy and practice. KiDsGyM USA® (founded in 1986) is an innovative solution to address this issue. It was originally intended to use gymnastics instruction to strengthen physical development; today, KiDsGyM USA® offers a level of inter-connectedness that is unique in nature. The program is designed to encourage gross motor, cognitive and social emotional development in children using physical exercise in the form of gymnastics. It is the premise of KiDsGyM USA® that sensory motor activities through the delivery of gymnastics directly influence neurological pathways in students leading to not only better gross motor development but to better cognitive and social-emotional outcomes. Studies indicate that children who have participated in movement education activities have longer attention spans, increased communication skills, general problem solving skills and improved self-esteem.
Unfortunately, we also live in a time when supplemental programs such as music and physical education are being cut by educational institutions due to budgetary constraints. Kids in under-served communities face additional barriers to participation in physical activity; such as: 'school districts where allocation of funds for the teaching of lifetime physical activity is not a priority; (2) an emphasis on encouraging skill acquisition for competitive sports that appear to have the potential to improve economic well-being; (3) No parks. A major environmental deterrent to participation, and it goes beyond having a park, but a park that is safe and well-maintained; (4) No programs; “if you build them they will come” is not necessarily applicable. ; (5) No role models; (6) No family engagement.'
Additionally, on average, children are living a more sedentary lifestyle due to the popularity of video games and television programming.
KiDsGyM USA® uses strategies to increase participation in physical activity among children in high risk communities. It gets kids, of all ages, excited about participation with less emphasis placed on skill acquisition and more on self-efficacy and confidence building. KiDsGyM USA® trains its' instructors to be engaging, enthusiastic, and efficient in the delivery of instruction that makes learning fun and helps students maintain focus. KiDsGyM USA® has the potential to be a nationwide, cost-effective, multi-dimensional intervention with young children in high need areas. Train the Trainer instruction is a combination of onsite and online training to equip teachers with the knowledge to implement the KiDsGyM methodology and curriculum for specific age groups. With its' innovative approach to address these particular domains our children are better prepared for the transition to kindergarten; thus school readiness is enhanced.