Based on the article featured in Forsyth Family Magazine
By Kristi Johnson Marion
Tumble, kick, flip and roll. These basic skills of childhood are losing ground to sedentary ExerSaucers®, kids’ television programs and handheld video games. “The changes prohibiting child movement in the last few generations are a detriment to children’s fitness,” said Salem Gymnastics owner Beth Morphis. “Children have grown accustomed to being visually entertained without movement and that sets a pattern for life.”
The Importance of Moving Early
Classes for children begin at 6 months. “It is very important to get kids moving early,” explained Beth. “Preschoolers are little sponges and can learn so much. They pick up on non-verbal cues to learn what the world is like and how they fit into it. Unfortunately, many kids see themselves as being awkward, clumsy, or non-movers before they even start kindergarten, and that can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Young children do not judge social status by success or intelligence, for example. Rather, they judge social ranking using physical markers, such as ‘Who can get all the way across the monkey bars?’ ‘Who can swim without floaties?’ Or, ‘Who can swing by themselves?’ So it is important for children, socially, to gain these skills at an early age for their own self-confidence.”
Variety of Classes
Toddler and preschool gymnastics classes teach fundamental movement skills that are building blocks to enhance ability in other sports and activities, such as balance, flexibility, coordination, racquet skills, kicking, being upside down without fear and over- and underarm throwing. Toddler classes for ages 12 months to three years old are parent/child classes. Preschool course selections include Parent/Tot Gymnastics, Parent/Tot Swim, Tumbleweeds, Swimming, Dance-nastics, and Little Dragons (karate). A wide variety of programs are offered in the 26,400 square foot facility at Salem Gymnastics & Swim, including not only gymnastics, but also dance, karate, learn to swim, as well as a Real-Life Self Defense class for adults. With various programs for different ages going on at one time, many families enjoy the convenience of “one-stop-shopping'” of activities for the whole family at once.
Parent and child classes offer an opportunity to connect with other parents with children of the same age group. Often, parents will picnic afterwards on the outdoor playground with other families. Salem Gymnastics & Swim’s monthly Parents’ Night Out events are a big hit for the whole family. Kids get four hours of supervised fun and a pizza dinner, while their parents get some rare but much needed alone time.
Building Character & Confidence
Salem Gymnastics & Swim emphasizes not just how good a child’s cartwheel or split is, but focuses on the whole growth of the child, building character and confidence through individual athletic achievement, camaraderie and focused learning. Although the gymnasts of Salem Gym have won numerous awards, “We count our success by the smiles on their faces and the twinkle in their eyes, which is why our tag line is ‘Where confidence soars!'” said Beth. “When a child learns to move well, they want to move and are not afraid to try other activities and sports, and that leads to a healthier outlook for life.”
About the Owners
Salem Gymnastics & Swim is locally owned and operated by husband and wife team Kenny and Beth Morphis and Beth’s father, Frank Minter. They have been building healthier bodies and confident kids for over 35 years. They were award-winning gymnasts themselves. Several of their current instructors grew up as students at Salem Gymnastics, and they even have a few second generation instructors as well.
Salem Gymnastics & Swim is located at 4870 Country Club Road, Winston-Salem, NC. Course descriptions, more information and easy registration are all available online at www.salemgym.com or call (336) 765-4668.
Visit our Programs page for more information.