One of the most challenging tasks facing parents today is making sound decisions
regarding their children. The number of alternatives is potentially staggering, the desire to have children involved in many
activities is often very great and the pressure to raise well-rounded, healthy children is tremendous. In choosing activities
for their children, parents must consider a large number of factors. Is the activity beneficial for my child? Is my child
interested in, and enthusiastic about, the activity? Does the activity have value for the parent? Is the cost of the activity
reasonable under current circumstances?
Parents are continually searching for quality activities where their children
are happy and successful. Dr. William Glasser has written extensively on the characteristics of quality schools and their
benefits. According to Dr. Glasser, a quality school is a product of warm, caring human relationships and promotes constructive
attitudes toward individuals and society. Quality can always be improved upon and a quality organization is one that is alert
for ways to improve what it does and how it does it. A quality school is one in which everyone in the organization, working
both separately and together, seeks a common goal. Quality always feels good, and the greater the quality, the longer the
good feeling lasts.
The goal of this article is to give parents information with which to make
a more informed choice when choosing a quality gymnastics school for your child.
Gymnastics is, without a doubt, one of the most beneficial physical activities
children experience. When the gymnastics program is structured and presented correctly, children realize benefits, in the
areas of physical fitness, self-esteem and life skills, that serve them for a lifetime.
Parental involvement in investigating and finding the right gymnastics school
increases the benefits immeasurably. Collecting information, speaking with the administrators and staff of the schools in
your area, talking with other parents and observing the school are all beneficial actions when deciding on a gymnastics school.
There are many factors to look at when choosing a gymnastics school. Here's
a list of important questions to consider when searching for a gymnastics school. (The questions are in no particular order.)
1) Is the program structured and presented correctly?
2) Are the children busy or sitting still?
3) Do the students like the instructors and have fun?
4) Is there appropriate
equipment for the age and development level of the students?
5) Are staff members USA Gymnastics Safety Certified?
Do the instructors approach the parents after class?
7) What's the reputation of the gymnastics school in the community?
8) How is the overall cleanliness and organization of the school?
9) Is there communication between the school and
the students i.e. calendar of events?
10) Are students evaluated and how often?
11) Does the school have a statement
of purpose and philosophy?
12) Is there an emergency plan for injuries or inclement weather?
13) Is the school's curriculum
intended to produce competitive gymnasts?
14) Is there a sense of professionalism about the school?
15) Is the cost
of the activity reasonable?
16) Is there a booster club and, if so, what are its demands?
17) How close is the school
to your house?
18) How long has the school existed?
19) What feedback do you get friends and family who have experienced
20) How are customers treated?
21) What is the makeup policy?
22) How does the gym sound during class,
happy or stressful?
23) Is there any plan for regular staff training?
24) Are there clearly stated rules for staff,
students and visitors?
25) Most of all, is your child enthusiastic about the school?
This article appears in Sideline Support, 1997.