By David Markham
We already knew that our virtual programs help people stay safe while participating in activities from their own homes, but now we also know that they can help families interact and enjoy activities together, even when they are hundreds of kilometers apart!
Kansas Kips Gymnastics Team Recreation Coordinator and Head Coach Alexis Kelford shares a recent discovery she made while teaching a virtual preschool gymnastics class.
“It was the first class, and I’m trying to get to know everyone and make sure I match the faces of parents and kids,” Kelford said. “We had three people with the same last name, and we thought they were all siblings, and then we quickly found out that they were actually cousins. I asked if they were all here in Kansas or if anyone was living out of state, and one of the kids told me he was taking the course from the Houston, Texas area, and I learned another life in Palo Alto, California!
“Our family hasn’t felt ready to return to gymnastics in person yet, so I searched the Mill Creek (Activity Center) activity page and came across the virtual classroom,” said Danielle S. from Shawnee, who signed her daughter Amelia for the class. “I coordinated with our cousins because I knew they currently felt the same about gymnastics in person and the kids would love to see each other! The kids loved the first class we attended and we have another one this week.
“This class is an amazing way to reconnect,” added Rachael S. of Palo Alto, whose son Zane is also in the class. “I am a neonatal nurse practitioner at Stanford Children’s Hospital and my work schedule varies a lot from week to week. The program we signed up for allows parents to choose a selection of courses within the nine week schedule, which gave me the flexibility I needed. Zane enjoyed seeing his cousins, making new friends, and learning new things like balancing on one foot, walking on a (pretend) balance beam, doing quick somersaults, and learning a few tricks for learning how to do a swing. cart wheel. He’s been practicing all of these things since last class and is excited to show his hard work to his trainer.
“We decided to participate in this program because we thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to learn new skills safely, and for the cousins to see and interact with each other,” added Sandra S. of Sugar Land, Texas. “We really enjoyed the opportunity to reconnect, play and learn. Ian said his favorite part of the class was “balance and we’re going to do cartwheels”. We have local opportunities to participate in virtual gymnastics, but nothing compares to “meeting” your cousins in the classroom! It was a blast!
Only Danielle and Amelia from Shawnee had taken a JCPRD class before (and it was a class with Kelford), but the three cousins said they would be interested in another virtual program.
The class in which the three cousins participate is Virtual Preschool for children from 18 months to 5 years old. Students practice skills appropriate to their age and / or level, with an emphasis on fun warm-up and stretching activities, as well as tumbling and dancing elements for the beam exercises and on the ground. This course started on August 20, but it is still possible to join the course, or another session starts on October 19.
Kelford spoke about some of the adjustments made to help present JCPRD’s gymnastics programs virtually.
“Since we’re doing these classes through Zoom, we’ve widened the age range so that we can broaden the audience, and I think that’s what really hit a home run for us,” she said. declared. “Instead of having a three-year-old class and a four- and five-year-old class, we’ve opened up all the preschool classes and made them into a large class where parents will interact with them. Some families may not have balance beams, and we have sent home information on “if you have a piece of duct tape you can make a beam as long as you want, about four inches wide, just so that the child has a visual “. We also talk about the spotting techniques that the parent can use to help him that the teacher would normally use and how he can do it so that the child can still feel the skill at home. We rehearse a lot of the material, but add a few different twists to it so it doesn’t get stale. It went very well. “
After learning that the three cousins are attending his virtual classroom, Kelford is also adding this idea to his promotional efforts.
“I really want to start marketing to people like ‘do gymnastics with your family from out of town’,” she said. “There’s no reason they can’t, and they can have a social interaction with their family that they probably don’t have a lot of, and they can do it from home even if the class is. “very far” in Kansas!