Enrolling your children in gymnastics school can help to develop their hand eye coordination, flexibility and self confidence, as well as give them a physical outlet to burn extra energy and stay in good shape. However, it should also be noted that gymnastics is a risky sport which requires excellent tools and instruction in order to minimize the risk of injury. If you want to enroll your child in gymnastics and ensure that he or she receives the best and least dangerous experience possible, look for the following features when checking out potential schools.
Feature 1: Busy, Happy Children
Ask an instructor whether you would be allowed to sit in on a class. If the answer is no and there is no public observation area, that's a red flag - search elsewhere until you find a school that allows parents and visitors to watch. While watching, see how the instructor interacts with the students and how the students react. Gymnastics is a very physical activity, so there should be plenty of movement. However, there should also be a sense of discipline and order, and children should be enjoying themselves.
Feature 2: Appropriate and Safe Equipment
Equipment should be appropriate for the level at which children are learning, and should all be in good and safe condition. Look for a balance beam, set of bars, and good pads. Ask if you can take a look at the equipment, and make sure that the balance beam is sturdy and well supported and that the pads are in good enough shape to serve their intended purpose.
Feature 3: USA Gymnastics Safety Certification
Reputable gymnastics schools ought to be safety certified with USA Gymnastics. Ask an instructor whether or not the school has received this certification, and look elsewhere if it has not.
Feature 4: Emergency Plans
Safety is a big concern in gymnastics, so gymnastics schools should have well thought out plans to deal with injuries or other emergencies. Ask an instructor what the procedure would be should a student supposedly break his leg. The instructor should be able to immediately give you a rundown of sensible plans which would effectively deal with the situation. Don't be too worried if the instructor admits that an injury has occurred before, as minor injuries are to be expected in gymnastics and will happen even in the best schools.
Feature 5: Parent Observation Area
As previously mentioned, a parent observation area is an important feature. The presence of an observation area implies that the school is comfortable allowing parents to watch their interaction with and instruction of students, and is comforting to many parents.
Gymnastics is a fun activity that has all kinds of advantages. In order to best use those advantages, children should be enrolled in a reputable and professional school which has all of the 5 features listed here.