When Paul and Tammy Mazurkiewicz decided to enroll their daughter in gymnastics lessons, they tried a few locations before finding what they considered a perfect fit at The Little Gym.
The Little Gym franchise was founded in the ‘70s by Robin Wes, who believed in stoking kids’ passion to achieve rather than pressuring them to compete. Upon their first visit, the Mazurkiewicz's witnessed the effect this culture had on their daughter and how its fun-filled, yet challenging classes helped their shy toddler open up and start making friends.
“Everywhere we’d go, Catherine had her face buried in the back of my thigh,” said Paul. “One night, while watching the UGA Gym Dogs on TV, she said, ‘I want to do that.’ So, we visited a few competitive gyms, but that was really too much pressure and stress, not the right environment for our daughter. But The Little Gym was different. There were smiling coaches and colorful, fun surroundings. It was just the kind of place where our daughter could build her confidence and social skills.”
On their drive home from that first visit, Paul and Tammy talked casually about starting their own franchise location. The idea stuck, and within a year’s time, they were owners of The Little Gym of Snellville.
Fifteen years later, the Mazurkiewicz's still believe in The Little Gym’s “Three-Dimensional Learning” approach to skill development. Three-dimensional learning — Brain Boost!, Get Moving! and Citizen Kid — are an integral part of every class lesson plan, designed to foster holistic growth to help kids lead vibrant and fulfilled lives.
“The ‘Get Moving!’ part of the class is the gymnastics, whereas the ‘Brain Boost!’ builds cognitive skills by working with colors, numbers or phonics for younger kids, or continents and basic kinesiology for the older ones,” Paul explained. “But we tell parents of toddlers that just because their child can sing the ABC’s doesn’t mean they know the alphabet. Knowing is more than reciting, so we teach the parents these things through the three-dimensional learning model. And ‘Our Citizen Kid’ is more of the socialization aspect incorporating ideas like sharing, taking turns and introducing themselves in class.”
Featuring age-specific classes that range from 4 months to 12 years old, the curriculum is stratified to allow each child to grow at a comfortable, yet challenging pace.
“Every child progresses at the level right for them. Child A may be extremely comfortable on bars and doing different pullovers, tummy rolls, and different rotations; whereas, with Child B, we may work to get them comfortable bringing their toes to the bar. All the classes are designed to have a lot of repetition and keep the kids moving more than they are sitting.”
Gymnastics are incorporated in almost all their classes, although there are many other programs, including a sports skills class, dance classes and Wonder Kids Club, a Pre-K preparatory club which features three hours a week with arts and crafts, letters and phonics.
“It’s a matter of growing confidence and being well-rounded. Some people will participate for a season; others may stay for years. And the interesting thing is that those who have continued to stay, tend to go on to do interesting things. One young lady in college is now very active in theater onstage and received a scholarship for performing. Many who have been with us have gone on to be successful in other sports or in public speaking, and I think part of that is because they built that confidence here to be the front and center of things,” Paul said.
Their own daughter, Catherine, now 23 years old, works for the Atlanta Braves as the stadium DJ, and her parents couldn’t be prouder.
“[With The Little Gym] it wasn’t just about the athletics. It was more a matter of growing in confidence, and [years later] it’s amazing to see our daughter doing so well in a male-dominated field,” Paul said.
With options for birthday parties, summer camps and more, The Little Gym of Snellville is a place where kids can let loose and have fun in a supportive environment. To learn more, visit their website https://www.thelittlegym.com/snellvillega, or call (770)982-0901.