A Day in the Life of G-Y-M
Hello, my name is The Cove, also known as the Indoor Gym at Toddler’s Den, but you can call me Gym; spelt: G-Y-M, in case you confuse it with “Jim.” I don’t think I need to introduce myself to you. I’m every child’s go-to place! And the parent body is all too familiar with me considering I’m the one that doesn’t allow shoes in; can’t help it – got to keep my beautiful carpet clean!
I play an important role at Toddler’s Den. I’m the place where the children engage in activities that enhance their physical development, in a fun way. Each week, we focus on building a specific gross motor, fine motor or perceptual skill. The gym teachers design and prepare setups using the plethora of equipment available to them. These include balancing beams, stepping stones, exercise balls, hoppers, and the list is goes on!
Now, let me tell you about a typical day I had last week. My first visitors, the K1 Ellies arrived at 9.00 a.m. They started off with a quick warm up, stretching out and wiggling their hands above their heads. Then they engaged in animal relay, stomping like elephants, tip-toeing with their arms outstretched like baby giraffes, and crawling on the floor like magnificent lions. At last, drained of their animal instincts, they soon bid me farewell.
Next, the Pre-K Tortos surprised me with their circle time routine, not so Torto afterall!. I’ve tried a thousand times to stretch my legs and touch my toes the way they do but I simply cannot. Unless I bring my foot to my hands, an ingenious shortcut!. Those little ones are certainly gymnasts in the making. Circle time was followed by a hop race. They hopped like bunnies, falling a dozen times and almost breaking their buck teeth, getting a little too carried away with their energy and excitement. The gym teacher had to spend ten minutes calming them down before they departed.
I realise that the engagements may sound slightly repetitive to you across all grades, but they’re essentially progressional in nature. So, while the gist of the engagement remains the same, we up the level for the older children by making the engagement slightly more challenging for them. For instance, if we choose to focus on walking as a gross motor skill, the toddlers will simply have to walk in a straight line without falling over (that’s quite a task for them!), while a preschooler will have to walk in a zigzag pattern without tipping over any traffic cones and a kindergarten child will have to walk carrying an object without letting it fall of spill (much like a lemon race!).
I didn’t have much time to clean up for or even welcome my next visitors, who eagerly stumbled in with their parents. They didn’t even spare a glance at the equipments laid out for them, instead making a beeline for the ball pool and diving right in. I must say, I was a little miffed by the lack of attention, but there was no time to brood. I hastened for my earmuffs as the children screeched their lungs out in protest when their parents and trainers pulled them out of their favourite place – the ball pool.
Once they knew they weren’t going to have their way, it was time for the obstacle course I had assembled for them! Teetering and tottering, they jumped over stepping stones and climbed mini-stairs and crawled through tunnels, all the while egged on by their mommies and daddies. There was a bit of a commotion and a traffic jam when 3 toddlers refused to crawl out of a tunnel. I enticed them with the trampoline and they were out in a jiffy! How entertaining it was to watch the children attempt to balance themselves on the trampoline. Their puzzled faces when they kept falling over were priceless! But their diligence to keep going and stay upright no matter what, makes them excellent role models, I must admit.
The last of my visitors were the K2 Ellies and even at the end of the day, it was remarkable how charged up they were. After warming up with some floor exercises, they proceeded to get some practice runner’s-ed, an interesting engagement in which they whizzed between traffic cones to learn how to avoid bumping into objects, or even each other on their running sprees. Well, they did bump into the cones every now and then, hinting that you can’t hand them the car keys to take a spin by themselves anytime soon! After finally expelling all that energy, they shuffled out and I was left by myself once again, quiet and lonesome, but reflective.
I thought about how I see these children grow and do increasingly complex tasks every single day. It’s amazing to see just what they can accomplish and what their bodies can accommodate at such a young age. The sheer joy they get from exploring the tunnels, parachutes, beam balances and of course, the famous ball pool is simply infectious. And every time they fall,they just dust themselves off, get right back up and start all over. I just wish they wouldn’t dust themselves on me, though I hate mess! Speaking of which, time to clean up for tomorrow. I’ll catch you some other time, perhaps!
Written By: Ananya Desai, Curriculum Designer