Recently, I had been carting Eizac to gym classes at My Gym (Buona Vista). My youngest had yet to start preschool as I felt that we can afford to “play” a little longer; “roam” a while more.
At 3 years old, he is engaging in longer sentences and gaining independence wherever his legs allow him to roam! But no doubt, he is still building on his fine and gross motor skills daily and gaining confidence as he discover new ideas on how to complete tasks.
And so it was just appropriate when My Gym invited us to join them for a term of lessons. Eizac isn’t quite ready for independent lessons due to separation anxiety. So we joined the “Gymster” gym class which is tailored for 18 months to 3 years old. This is a parent-accompanied class. Age-wise I think he would be more suitable in the “Terrific Tots” class (3 to 5 years old), but he is too clingy to be on his own just yet.
|The entrance area of My Gym @ Buona Vista. Ample of space with small toys to entertain the little ones. Drinks and coffee available for sale while parents wait.|
Here are some brief sharing of how a typical class goes:
We attended the first lesson during the Chinese New Year season and the theme for that day was centric on CNY.
It started with what I call a “Circle Time” where the main teacher for the day will lead a “Hi Hi Hi How do you do” welcome song. It is a catchy tune which the children can hum to it by the 2nd or 3rd lesson.
Thereafter is a round of self-introduction of each child by their names. Eizac, being the oldest in the group, can whisper his own name when being called upon. All the other kids in the same class are much younger than Eizac, but you can see that most of the children do enjoy the attention being on them for the brief moment of introduction. This self awareness introduction is very healthy in my opinion. There are always at least 3 teachers in the class of 10 children + adults that we attended. The teachers also introduced themselves with much enthusiasm and bright smiles.
I enjoyed that next sit-down segment which involved imaginary fruits! The teacher would be “hungry” and ask one of the children what fruits would they like. Eizac always liked watermelon or bananas! Followed which, the teachers will lead us in action songs such as “peel banana, peel, peel,” “smash banana, smash, smash” and then we “eat them up! Once again, the tunes are really catchy and the actions fun! Eizac re-enacted it at home several times!
After all the “high” songs, we will proceed to a floor or gym exercise with floor mats, loops or the likes.
Teacher guiding Eizac on a tippy toes walk while he held on to just 1 finger. This is for balancing as well.
For each lesson, there will be some floor exercises, object learning, exercises on balancing beams and one of the children’s favourite – swings!
Some of the balancing and core muscles exercises we did:
|Teacher widened the mats’ gap for Eizac as he is much older than his course mates. He jumped over with 2 legs successfully and ended with a gymnast poise!|
|Teachers helping Eizac with hanging onto a rope. He went home telling him Daddy he was a monkey that day.|
After all that gym works and etc, there will normally be an object learning session and/or a “quiet” time of colouring or “separation” time where we were not supposed to be near the children so that they can work on separation anxiety. This was kind of new to me! I have never experienced such a segment in other parents-accompanied classes. For a moment, I didn’t quite understand why all the parents/helpers sat far away while the children played with toys on a mat! >_<
Each lesson will normally end with a dressed-up teacher in a mascot or a short skit. During the first week, we had a monkey mascot which gave out red packets filled with chocolates! Eizac was a little upset that there weren’t anymore Mr Monkey giving out chocolates on subsequent weeks! hahaa! We met Ladybug and Henry the Octopus on other weeks.
And the Top 5 things we liked about My Gym
1) The Teachers
The lively and engaging teachers are key to enjoying the lessons at My Gym. I was really impressed the teachers at the Buona Vista branch. Not only that they have to keep up with their energy level, they interact with the children very well. The teachers are encouraging and always cheered each child along the learning journey. For the “astray” ones who might not want to follow the lesson plans, some of the teachers will persuade them to participate or give them a little space when needed. For instance, Eizac wasn’t very keen in a rolling forward with a big hoop activity. Somehow he has a small fear of not being able to grasp anything when he rolled forward. The teachers encouraged him gently and assured that they will hold on to him. He tried once and wasn’t too keen for a second round. The teachers didn’t force nor condemn the reluctance; the whole “encouraging” culture was overall positive. It is also a plus that the teachers made the effort to remember each child’s name!
2) The layout
We are greeted with different layout of the gym equipment every session. Though the materials are the same, the gym is set up differently each week. This creates a sense of “newness” for the children and parents alike. There is always that ball pit which every child loves to jump into and the trampoline which never fail to excite! The slides and balancing beams/mats which are positioned differently to create different angles and levels of difficulties. During the change of activities, we are free to explore the structures set up nearby. While waiting for your turn for certain exercises, the children can wander around the gym “purposefully”.
3) Songs and object learning
Though it is “My Gym”, they incorporated sing-a-longs, action songs, objects learning and quiet activities such as colouring. So, besides their core gymnastic strength, the children are also given time in arts and creativity, music and movement. It is not all brawns and no brains. Eizac enjoyed the songs very much. He is always repeating the week’s songs or telling me about that ice-cream cone (object learning) that didn’t come with ice-cream! haha!
|The many dimensions of a cone! You can find a square, triangle and cone shapes. You can use it as a binoculars, a microphone or as an ice-cream cone!|
4) Gymnastics skills
Of course, it cannot be “My Gym” for no reason. Through FUN, My Gym provided the platform for developing those fine and gross motor skills so critical for growing up. Various gymnastic skills are emphasized such as hanging, tumbling, balancing and agility. Gymnastics had also been used as an avenue for children to instil self confidence and esteem besides building focus, strength and flexibility. I can testify to that! Every time Eizac complete a particular activity, you can see on his face that he is thrilled that he has DONE IT! He desires to be approved and encouraged that he had done well regardless whenever he succeeded in a complete tumble or he took a tumble! Parents and care-givers’ affirmations are really important in their growing stage. And My Gym provided that platform for little ones to gain confidence as they execute gymnastics moves in a safe environment.
5) Good timing
Lasting 1 hr session, I thought it is just about the right time span for a young child. Kudos to the teachers for changing each activity swiftly and seamlessly. I liked it that no one is kept waiting for an activity. For example, while there aren’t enough swings for all 10 children, some will be riding on Little Tikes cars and motorbikes while a teacher blew bubbles for fun!
Eizac can’t wait for a ride every week!
We are currently almost mid way through a term and Eizac is definitely enjoying himself during each lesson. It is evident in the songs he re-sung a few times at home and the recollection of the activities he did at My Gym. He will exclaim to us: “It is MY GYM; not YOUR GYM!” 0_0! We are looking forward to the rest of the term.
My Gym is founded in Los Angeles, USA and works in a franchise form in Singapore. It has many accolades such as the Best of the Best Gym Singapore by ParentsWorld ( consecutive 5 years), best development play development by USA parent magazine and Parents’ Choice Award by the Parents’ Choice Foundation. It has presence in 36 countries worldwide and 6 outlets in Singapore.
As a parent, I will recommend this place for the younger ones to bond with their parents while having fun with fitness at My Gym. It is a good choice if you are looking for a fitness-centric program with snippets of cognitive and emotional development all-in!
My Gym @ Buona Vista is located at Rochester Mall which is a short walk from Buona Vista MRT Station. More information on their locations can be found here.
My Gym Singapore offers programs for children from Playgroup (18 months) through to 8 years old. School-based program with longer hours are also available at the Buona Vista branch for 18 months to 3.5 years old.
N.B: This blog post is written as part of a review of lessons for My Gym @ Buona Vista. Photos and opinion remain writer’s own.