The YMCA of Broome County is committed to providing wellness options for the entire community, from the youngest to the oldest members. The 1 2 3 Grow held in the West Family YMCA gym offers preschoolers, age 3 and under, and their parents (or grandparents) a session filled with fun, fitness and socialization. The 45 minutes class includes just enough structure to encourage a healthy release of pent-up winter wiggles in a safe, positive environment.
A mid-December visit to the Thursday 10:15 a.m. class gives a peek into what the class offers:
“Round and round. That’s the game! What’s your name?” sang Miss Heather, the 1 2 3 Grow teacher. She smiled warmly and pointed to Annie during the opening 1,2,3, Grow circle time. Annie danced with delight when Miss Heather said Annie’s name with her. Then Miss Heather pointed to the next child and the next. Each of the 7 little faces lit up when his or her turn came.
Before class, Miss Heather set up mats, a tunnel, balls, spinners, hula hoops and other equipment through-out the West Family YMCA gym. As the tots arrived, they eagerly gravitated to their favorites. Annie chose the spinner; her 8-month-old sister cooed as she did some tummy-time with 3 hula hoops. TJ and his dad tossed a mini basketball.
Through the entire 45-minute class, Miss Heather balanced structured and unstructured activities. After circle time, they gathered for a hula hoop set. She directed the children to roll the hoops, set them on the floor, step in them, step out of them, jump in/jump out, put the hoops over their head and drop them. She stacked 6 to create a little “hut” for one or two. Some of the children carefully followed the simple instructions, others felt free to explore nearby activities and equipment.
Heather kept the 7 toddlers ranging in age from 8 months to 3 years old, physically engaged the entire 45 minutes. She varied the activities and used simple, fun words to introduce each. During a set using a 3 foot-wide “track” of mats stretching across half the width of the gym, Miss Heather asked the tots to “march” down the line. Then she challenged them to: hop, run fast, gallop, crawl, bear crawl, roll. She helped them climb up and slide down a foam wedge in the middle of the track.
They closed with another short circle time and sang, “The more we get together, the happier we’ll be. Your friends are my friends and my friends are your friends…” Miss Heather “high-fived” with each child. Apparently “the more we get together” caught on; everyone eagerly pitched in with putting the equipment away.
Parents and grandparents offered positive comments about the session:
Annie’s mom says they have come since she was an infant and now they come with her baby sister.
TJ has been coming about 6 months and loves it.
1 year old Matt finally got brave enough to do the tunnel. The gym time has helped him interact, become braver and more adventurous.
One of the grandmas said she appreciated the interaction with other grandparents. She said her grandson loves the ride-on toys and stickers.
Another parent mentioned how much they appreciate the socialization and the cooperation within the group…everyone is sensitive and supportive.
Everyone mentioned how much they appreciate Heather. She creates a fun, structured lesson plan for each class, but is flexible with the routine. She allows the children freedom to explore.
The Thursday 10:15 a.m. class restarts in mid January…it offers preschoolers a positive first experience in discovering the fun in YMCA fitness classes!