Looking for Ways to Give Your Child an Academic Edge

Child Development Specialist The Little Gym Spotlights Recent Research About the Not-so-Obvious Benefits of Physical Fitness for Children

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - (Marketwired - Aug 18, 2015) - As families look for ways to give their children the strongest start possible on the new academic year, the child development specialists at The Little Gym offer some recent research that demonstrates how physical activity can help children behave and learn better in the classroom.

"It's no surprise that physical activity helps support your child's overall health and fitness," says Ruk Adams, The Little Gym president and CEO. "But recent research highlights some of the more subtle benefits that can result from encouraging children to play and be active -- whether it's through organized sports, unstructured playground activities, or programs at kid-centered facilities like The Little Gym."

One study, published July 1, 2015, in the American Journal of Health Promotion, found a link between a child's attention span and self-control and their participation in organized, after-school sports and activities. Study leader Linda Pagani of the University of Montreal and CHU Sainte-Justine Children's Hospital, stated that being part of a group with a common goal may help children learn to respect rules and honor responsibilities -- concepts that translate into improved focus in the classroom.

These findings echo the experience that children have at The Little Gym, where programs combine physical development with activities that promote sharing, listening, concentration, and decision making. The key, according to Adams, is that children at The Little Gym are learning these critical life skills in a fun environment that provides a different context for learning.

In a research review published online recently in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, researchers found that unstructured, even risky play helps children develop other critical skills, like decision-making and social interaction. The review revealed that this type of peer-group play, free from adult intervention, helps children learn to get along with other children, take turns, rely on themselves, and negotiate solutions.

"At The Little Gym, we're not surprised by these findings because we understand that taking calculated risks is an important part of growing up," said Adams. "While we generally think of childhood as a time for safety and self-esteem, risk and achievement play equally important roles in forming identity and confidence. Appropriate risk-taking helps improve motor skills, coordination, and overall confidence in being physically active. It also fosters sound decision-making and problem-solving skills so kids can more accurately judge risks in the future. So while there's no pressure to be the best, children are encouraged and rewarded for trying their best and pushing their limits."

Developed with a belief that experiencing and overcoming new challenges is the best way to develop the behavioral, social and physical skills that children need to function at their best both in and out of the classroom, programs at The Little Gym are designed to provide just the right amount of structure and adventure, allowing children to take calculated risks, safely explore the world around them, and experience success.

The Little Gym is now enrolling students for the 2015-2016 Season. For more information about the fun programs for children at The Little Gym, please visit www.thelittlegym.com.

About The Little Gym

The Little Gym is an internationally recognized program that helps children build the developmental skills and confidence needed at each stage of childhood. The very first location was established in 1976 by Robin Wes, an innovative educator with a genuine love for children. The Little Gym International, Inc., headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., was formed in 1992 to franchise The Little Gym concept. Today, The Little Gym International has over 300 locations in 30 countries. For more information, visit The Little Gym at www.TheLittleGym.com.

SOURCE The Little Gym

Contact:

Heather Anderson
The Little Gym International
(480) 948-2878
andersonh@thelittlegym.com

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