Lance Hoover helps his daughter Makenna, 2, swing from a bar during the Mommy & Me exercise class at the Jewish Community Center.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Children in their preschool years may be too young to learn their letters and numbers, but they're never too young to take a tumble.
Several local exercise programs are available specifically for toddlers, geared toward building little bodies in preparation for years of healthy living.
At Hayden's Gymnastics, owner Dan Hayden says children as young as 10 months can participate in the Mommy and Me program. It's an opportunity for parent and child to interact, building motor skills for the tot while providing exercise for the parent.
"For the mothers who don't want to go to the athletic clubs, they can come here," Hayden said.
Mommy and Me also is popular at the Augusta Jewish Community Center in Evans, says executive director Leah Ronen. For artistic and physical stimulation, young preschoolers can participate in Kindermusik.
"Kindermusik is just a wonderful program to start at that age and see them respond," Ronen said. "They also do a little creative dancing to the music - it's really cute."
The program serves children as young as 18 months, the starting age for kids in the Parent-Tot class at Gymnastics Gold, receptionist Wendy Hunter said.
"We have a preschool room apart from the big gym," Hunter said. "The children play learning games on the balance beam, improve their upper-body strength on the rings and parallel bars and play games with the teacher to develop listening and coordination skills."
At the Family Y in Evans, the youngest classes - except for a summer swim program held in partnership with the Country Place pool - are for children 4 and up: Soccer school. "It's just learning the basics of soccer, with a lot of socialization," says branch director Avery Villines.
But there is still a place for the littlest ones in the kids area at the Evans Y.
"We do have a large number of mommies-to-be and mommies-to-have-been who are coming to our Pilates classes in the morning," Villines said. "We really have that 8-weeks to preschool time when they're in there, playing around, and we've got mommy taking a stretch-reducer Pilates class and getting a break for an hour."
Preschool athletic programs
Hayden's International Gymnastics Academy
4300 Evans-to-Locks Road, Evans
Programs: Mommy and Me, ages 10 months-2 years; preschool gymnastics, age 2 and up
124 Cedar Lane, Martinez
Programs: Parent-tot classes, 18 months-2 years; preschool gymnastics, age 2 and up
Marshall Branch Family Y
4534-5 Washington Road, Evans
Programs: Mothers' Pilates class, with care for children 8 weeks and up; soccer school, ages 4 and up; summer swim program, ages 8 weeks and up
Augusta Jewish Community Center
898 Weinberger Way, Evans
Programs: Kindermusik, ages 18 months to 3 1/2; Mommy and Me, walking age and up; summer mini-camp, June 1-July 30, ages 3 and 4.
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