Recently I took my daughter, who is about to turn 7, to try out a co-ed gymnastics class at The Little Gym of Silver Spring. The Little Gym is a franchise that began back in the mid-1970s and now has over 300 locations across the globe, including multiple locations in the DC area. Each location is individually owned and operated.
The Silver Spring location is owned by three sisters with backgrounds and experiences, as well as Bachelor and Master degrees, in Education Human Development, Psychology, Children’s Motor Movement and Planning, Secondary Education and Business.
The company’s motto is The Little Gym is Fun, Seriously. They take a holistic “Three-Dimensional Learning” approach to skill development. This philosophy is based on three core tenets: “Get Moving” to foster flexibility, strength, balance and coordination; “Brain Boost” to nurture listening skills, concentration and decision making; and “Citizen Kid” to promote sharing, teamwork, cooperation and leadership abilities.
The Little Gym pricing is based on an entire season. The 2012-2013 season lasts from September 4, 2012 through June 23, 2013. Single payment is the most economical at $795 for each class. Classes are held weekly. There is $50 family annual membership fee and includes members discounts on parties, camps and Parents’ Survival Nights. There are various payment options and prices are pro-rated based upon when you enroll.
Progressively structured, weekly classes are available in gymnastics, karate, dance and sport skills development for ages four months through 12 years. Parent/child classes are available for children ages 4 months through 3 years. In addition, they offer camps, Parents’ Survival Nights and those birthday parties that Parents magazine named as the #1 place to host birthday parties.
I took advantage of a two-free classes coupon that I received in a mailer and enrolled my daughter in the Giggle Worms/Good Friends class, a co-ed joint gymnastics class for ages 4 to 6. There were probably a few more boys than girls in her class. My daughter was definitely one of the oldest, but being a novice to gymnastics and tumbling, she thoroughly enjoyed the class.
Initially, there were 6 children and one staff member in the class. Eventually, a few more kids trickled in and another staff member joined the class which had grown to 10 children.
The class took place in a very large open gym that has floor to ceiling windows separating it from the spacious lobby area. The kids started in the open carpeted area of the gym with warm-ups and playing games with hoops and a large covered bungee cord. After 15 minutes, they proceeded to the other side of the gym and were split into two smaller groups. The groups rotated through the various tumbling and gymnastics equipment including balance beams, vault, uneven bars, and a ring tower.
There were thick mats covering the appropriate areas. Kids were free to get a drink of water or use the bathroom as needed. The instructors often adjusted the activity based upon the child’s skill level. They were encouraging but never pushy. Music played the entire time and coordinated with activities and/or theme of the day, except during the last 15 or so minutes of the class in which the gym music seemed very loud to me. One of the things I appreciated the most was when the lead instructor came out towards the end of the class and recapped the class with the caregivers.
From my very first contact with the Silver Spring location, I was impressed. Not just on the phone but in person, I found the staff and instructors to be energetic, knowledgeable, courteous and helpful. The Silver Spring location is next to the Kemp Mill Shopping Center, easy to find, and has plenty of parking. The facility was bright, spacious, and very clean.
As if I was not impressed enough with the staff and quality of the program, I was touched at how much The Little Gym gave back to the community. I found a Toys for Tots bin, a large wall display encouraging donations for the Lilabean Foundation that supports funding of pediatric cancer research, and a Soul 4 Soul shoe collection bin for gently used children’s shoes.
Both parents and children will be highly satisfied with classes at The Little Gym in Silver Spring. Sign-up for a free introductory class and see for yourself. The link to is prominently displayed on the homepage or call the Silver Spring location directly.
Good to Know
- Tuition for the 2012-2013 season (September 4, 2012 to June 23, 2013) is $795 and payable in various installment plans. There is a $50 annual family membership fee. Prices are pro-rated for those who join during the season.
- 10% sibling and 25% military discount with valid ID are available.
- Make-up sessions can be scheduled within the enrolled period.
- Classes are 60 minutes long except Parent-child classes (4 months to 3 years) which are 45 minutes.
- Parties for 1 to 12 year olds can be held at set times on Saturdays and Sundays and last 90 minutes. The cost is $305 for members and $330 for non-members for up to 15 children. Additional children and party time during the last time slot are available for additional fee. See the website for further information.