These groups, often referred to as Gymnaestrada, are a unique and fun way to perform gymnastics routines for an audience. And performance is an important part of a child and youth’s development.
Research conducted by the University of Maryland in 2007 showed that participation in performing arts is linked to positive outcomes in school, emotional development, family life and behaviour.
It also concluded that performance plays a central role in cognitive, motor, language and social emotional development. (1)
Groups thoughout the province take part in club and community performances and many attend official Gymnaestrada events.
A Gymnaestrada features groups of gymnasts coming together to perform choreographed routines for an audience. There are also social and learning activities.
Anyone of any age or skill level can take part; the focus is on mass participation and performance in gymnastics.
Often there is a theme which runs throughout the event. It may be regional, provincial, national or even international.
In B.C. the provincial Gymnaestrada is the largest annual PLAY recreational gymnastics event. Between 400 and 500 recreational gymnasts come together to learn, share and perform.
Gymnaestrada is a perfect option for kids who love to perform, but do not want the pressure of competitions or who are involved in other sports and activities. As children continue to spend an increasing amount of time in front of screens, performance gymnastics is a great way to get them out of the house and active!
According to Active For Life writer Sarah Smeaton, “the love of moving needs to be taught and encouraged, exactly the same way we teach and encourage our children to love to read.” (2)
Although many children naturally enjoy being active and participating in various activities, for others, it doesn’t come so naturally.
That’s where Gymnaestrada can be the perfect activity. Performance gymnastics is a great confidence builder in kids. Performing in front of a group of people helps them gain confidence which transfers over to all aspects of their lives.
According to the Oakville Gymnastics Club, “When kids are confident, they believe in themselves and this benefits their mental and physical health, family relationships and performance at school.” (3)
Through participation in performance gymnastics children and youth are exposed to a variety of new physical skills. In addition to these physical skills, “they learn goal-setting, personal development, discipline and how to grow from failure. All of these confidence-boosting abilities transfer well to school, social activities and other sports.” (4)
Contact your local PLAY gymnastics club to find out more about performance gymnastics opportunities .
Reflections in verse and and prose: http://reflectionsinverse.blogspot.ca/2011/03/how-performing-arts-benefit-children.html
Active for Life: http://activeforlife.com/10-ways-encourage-kids-moving/, Sara Smeaton
Halton Shop Talk: http://www.haltonshoptalk.com/2011/featured/gymnastics-builds-confident-kids/, Oakville Gymnastics Club
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