RESEARCH: MORE THAN GYMNASTICS

Anecdotal data has suggested that kids participating in KiDsGyM USA® classes have longer attention spans, increased communication skills, general problem-solving skills and improved self-esteem. In addition to gross motor development, these types of gymnastics activities aim to foster social and emotional/behavioral competencies in young children.

Image of a proper gymnast finish "The ability to create and strengthen neural connections is important throughout the lifespan. It is suggested that the years from birth through age 10 are the most critical. And the most important connections are made in the years before a child enters kindergarten.”

KiDsGyM USA® has begun a research project through its Early Movement Education program, to prove that its activities, support the achievement of school readiness skills.  The process of this project will yield pilot data addessing the effectiveness of KiDsGyM USA® as an intervention aimed at strengthening the cognitive and social-emotional/behavioral development of young children and their preparedness for school. The purpose of this project is to complete and test curricular materials that can be easily facilitated by teachers in multiple public and private early childhood educational settings. 
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KiDsGyM USA® is more than another extracurricular activity in which to enroll children. Rather, the program uses gymnastics principles as a means to an end. In contrast to traditional gymnastics programs, KiDsGyM USA® uses structured educational gymnastics training in contrast to traditional gymnastics programs. Our training emphasizes coaching children in body management as opposed to preparing them for competition. Gymnastics is a complex motor movement that directly influences neurological pathways in students leading to better cognitive and social-emotional outcomes.

Coach standing by a KiDsGyM USA banner Gymnasts performing back bends
Forward roll photo

In 2016, we surveyed the parents, one of the primary consumers of KiDsGyM USA® services. This project examined parental perceptions of KiDsGyM USA® as a tool to enhance gross motor development, cognitive control, and social-emotional skills in children. Based on parent survey feedback, KiDsGyM USA®, indeed, fosters growth in cognitive control as well as social-emotional and gross motor development in their children. These reports are consistent with previous anecdotal data obtained regarding the KiDsGyM USA® program.
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Table 1. Gross Motor Skills and Social-Emotional Development

Gross Motor Skills Chart

Strolling the beam A child's ability to focus comes, in part, from strong stomach and back muscles (core postural muscles).
These muscles help children balance and hold themselves upright. The muscles, developed through movement, make it possible for a child to sit and focus in class.  Read more

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT TO PREPARING THE NEXT GENERATION?

Impulse control, persistence, self-awareness and sociability can and should be taught at the very earliest ages and throughout the school years. These skills drive the engagement, motivation, and achievement that promote successful lives as measured by full time employment, higher wages, healthy lifestyles, less participation in crime, and engagement in a variety of socially productive behaviors. Read more

A 20-year study shows a link between children’s social skills in kindergarten and their well-being in early adulthood. Read more

Lining Up photo With today's schools focusing on academic progress, reducing movement opportunities may actually be holding children back from meeting academic goals.

Hence, this project is a first step in transitioning KiDsGyM USA® toward an evidence-based program that can be used as a nationwide, cost-effective intervention with young children in high need areas to address the aforementioned school readiness outcomes.