To help children feel good about themselves.
To help raise the level of fitness and self-esteem in our students.
To help students believe they can accomplish whatever they put their mind and effort to.
Have you ever heard the following;
“Believe that you can or believe that you can’t,
either way you are right.”
“Some see the glass half full, others see it half empty.
Who is right?”
Our beliefs control our thoughts. Many children enter our program with limiting thoughts and beliefs. Often these children will say “I can’t” before they even attempt a new challenge. It is an important part of our job to help change this negative expectation. We do this with language (replacing “can’t” with words and thoughts like “I’m scared”, “I don’t know how”, or “I need help”) and by creating challenges that they can successfully accomplish.
To help build confidence in children (an expectation of future success), we must create frequent success experiences for them while avoiding unnecessary (predictable) failures. We do this by only asking them to do what they are capable of doing (not setting them up for failure) while developing their abilities and increasing their skills.
To develop a child’s self-esteem
by providing success experiences
in a non-competitive environment.
We define winning as “Personal Best”
instead of better than others.
There is a big difference between the ACTIVITY and the SPORT of gymnastics.
It is the nature of competition to produce more losers than winners. Young children exposed repeatedly to losing tend to anticipate failure and shy away from contests (quit). The few young competitors that do win often develop conditional self-esteem, an unhealthy psychological condition linking a child’s self-worth to his/her performance. Children with healthy self-esteem will be able to more easily perceive mistakes as lessons instead of failures.
Furthermore, young children (from birth to about 9 years, developing self-concept) can’t distinguish losing from being a loser. They are not capable of making that distinction because they are still discovering who they are through their experiences.
As teachers of young children, we have the obligation to design our lessons to insure success is achievable to everyone.
By removing the contest from the activity the child is free to enjoy learning without the risk, or fear, of being judged. This allows them to give their best effort unrestrained. Removing contests includes avoiding statements like “Who can be the first to line up,” “Who can do the best cartwheel,” or “Who can do the most push-ups?”
We must never compare one child’s abilities or accomplishments to those of another child. We only compare a child’s performance to their own previous performance.