WORDS BY ERICA NEWTON, MYFIRSTGYM CO-FOUNDER
It’s the end of my daughter’s first year at high school, and as we drove home one afternoon, I asked her which class she had enjoyed the most. Her response almost had me steering the car off the road in shock.
Not Drama or Art or even HPE (I was fairly devastated this didn’t make the cut). Maths was her favourite.
“What!?” I replied. “Really?”
“The teacher’s really good. She’s so nice and we learn heaps.”
Expertise. Care. Passion.
“I hope I get her again next year.”
Instil a love of learning.
As the great John Wooden (an award winning collegiate basketball coach) said, “A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life.”
Good teachers and coaches are magicians.
Good teachers, like good coaches, are magicians: even the most feared or hated subjects and drills can be transformed into the lesson or training session we look forward to most and perhaps even lead to a life-long passion. Suddenly, my daughter’s seemingly bizarre favourite subject for the year made perfect sense. And I should have known better. I’m deep in the primary school trenches, and having been around the MyFirstGym teams for years, I know that developing a good relationship with coaches and teachers is the first step toward helping my children thrive. Whether that’s in the classroom or the gym.
Helping your child build good coaching relationships.
What’s the number one way to build an effective relationship with a coach? Communication. It all starts here and by that, I mean with you, the parent. It’s not about being a ‘squeaky wheel’. Rather, let your coach or teacher know what it is your child is loving about each session, where they’d like to improve and whether there is anything you can do to help from home. The more a coach knows about your child, the better equipped they can be to bring the best out in them.
Alex, our Head Coach at the Figtree MFG understands this implicitly: “Seeing the kids go from Point A to Point B… is very humbling, and I love being able to see the results on the parents faces, like when they see their kid do a handstand for the first time. It’s such a magic moment, and I love being the person who helps create that.”
Team great coaches with excellent programs.
We all know that trying to squeeze our round-headed children into a square lesson-shaped box is frustrating if not permanently damaging to their confidence and skills in that area. The days of a coach or teacher barking orders from the front of a room are over: thank heavens! With more learner-centred approaches becoming common place, it’s important for parents to know exactly how the program and coach are going to help their child’s skill development. Suzie Davies a Paediatric Physiotherapist, says that its very normal for parents to ask lots of questions as their children develop. As the MyFirstGym Junior Development coordinator, she worked closely with MFG to create a program for 0-5 aged children based on physical, emotional and social milestones. She says this was specifically worked into the program to ensure MFG parents “know exactly what to expect and give them confidence and guidance in each stage of their child’s life.”
Team this outstanding programming with coaches like our Shellharbour Head Coach Michael, and magic happens. He says coaching at MFG is his passion because he loves seeing “the children develop their physical literacy and milestones. Going on that journey with them and seeing the smiles on their faces every day puts a smile on my face. I’m having fun because they’re having fun.”
Build a culture that inspires your child to be their best.
At MyFirstGym, our coaches and managers are diehard fitness fans heavily invested in inspiring movement. Many are parents themselves, and are highly qualified and experienced in the fitness and education industries and most importantly just lovely human beings. Building a culture where children are learning skills is great, but inspiring them to love movement is MFG’s goal.
Coach Bree from our Hawthorne Club is a great example of the kind of coach we all want our kids to have. Not only does she live and breathe the principles of MFG, her care for her students and passion for movement mean that she is adored by every child in the club. “The reason why inspiring movement in children is so important to me is not only for them to achieve milestones and goals but it’s the faces of parents and the child when they achieve something they have been working on that makes it so important. Inspiring movement is a lot more than just moving, it is the self-esteem and gratitude that come along with it. I truely love my job.” says Coach Bree.
Coach Indi adds “As a former elite gymnast, I understand how vital it is for kids to be active from a young age. I started my gymnastics career at 4 yrs of age and continued the sport for 17 years. Having those core elements of physical literacy from as young as possible is so important for your child’s development, not only for right now but in the years to come. It brings me much joy to watch our little ones learn, grow, smile, laugh, and play as I know they are being equipped with the tools to have the best childhood they can.”
Interested in working at MyFirstGym? Check out our opportunities here.