Gross Motor Milestones-How Our Classes Help Your Child’s Development

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We all know that those beginning years in a child’s life are incredibly important for development. As an infant progresses into toddlerhood they are expected to walk, run, jump and sit upright in a chair. Movement is a part of your child’s everyday life but what happens when these skills are delayed? The child can appear uncoordinated, uninterested in play and at times difficult to manage.

Below is some useful information regarding the importance of gross motor skill acquisition...

What are Gross Motor Skills?

Gross motor (physical) skills are those which require whole body movement and which involve the large (core stabilising) muscles of the body to perform everyday functions, such as standing and walking, running and jumping, and sitting upright at the table. They also include eye-hand coordination skills such as ball skills (throwing, catching, kicking) as well as riding a bike or a scooter and swimming.

Gross motor abilities also have an influence on other everyday functions. For example, a child’s ability to maintain appropriate table top posture (upper body support) will affect their ability to participate in fine motor skills (e.g. writing, drawing and cutting) and sitting upright to attend to class instruction, which then impacts on their academic learning. Gross motor skills impact on your endurance to cope with a full day of school (sitting upright at a desk, moving between classrooms, carrying your heavy school bag). They also impact your ability to navigate your environment (e.g. walking around classroom items such as a desk, up a sloped playground hill or to get on and off a moving escalator). Without fair gross motor skills, a child will struggle with many day to day tasks such as eating, packing away their toys, and getting onto and off the toilet or potty.

What do difficulties with gross motor skill difficulties commonly look like?
•Children with gross motor difficulties commonly display:
•Avoidance or general disinterest in physical tasks
•Rush task performance of physical tasks (to mask difficulty or fatigue)
•Silly task performance of physical task they find challenging
•Bossiness in telling others how to do the physical task or play the game without actively engaging themselves

Source: Admin, Kid Sense Web. “Gross Motor Skills: Gross Motor Skills Development: Kid Sense.” Kid Sense Child Development, Kid Sense Child Development, 27 Sept. 2019,

How does MG Rhythmic support gross motor skills development:

•The coaches are trained by Head Coach Giorgia Nobili as well as Occupational Therapist Lyudmila Teshler to ensure your child meets their age-appropriate milestones
•Classes are strategically designed to stimulate the brain in order to develop the whole child.
•Our Pre Gymnastics courses are tailored to the needs of each age group and their neurological development
•Each of our teachers is specially trained to work with their own age group
•Small group classes to ensure individualized attention

Here are the Milestones broken down by age:

Ages 2-3

  1. Jumps 8-14in
  2. Jumps from bottom step
  3. Catches large ball, using body to help
  4. Walks downstairs alone, places both feet on step
  5. Walks upstairs alone, alternating feet
  6. Climbs well
  7. Runs well, stopping and avoiding obstacles
  8. Imitates one foot standing
  9. Walks backwards 10 feet
  10. Walks on toes
  11. Jumps sideways, backwards and over a 2-8in hurdle
  12. Hops on one foot
  13. Stands on one foot 1-5 seconds
  14. Walks down stairs alternating feet (34+ months)
  15. Climbs playground equipment and ladders
  16. Catches 8in ball with hands

Ages 3-4

  1. Gallops
  2. Hops on one foot
  3. Walks on a line
  4. Stands on one foot
  5. Jumps down from 12 in with feet together
  6. Walks up and down stairs alternating feet without rail

Ages 4-5

  1. Stands on one foot 8-10 seconds
  2. Skips alternating feet
  3. Throws a ball to target
  4. Hops 5 times or more on one foot
  5. Begins jumping rope
  6. Pumps a swing
  7. Walks balance beam forward and backward
  8. Somersaults

Ages 5-8

  1. Stands on one foot 10 seconds or more
  2. Catches a small ball with hands only
  3. Jumps over an object landing with feet together
  4. Walks tandem on a line
  5. Walks backwards heel to toe
  6. Walks balance beam avoiding obstacles
  7. Uses opposite step and throw to throw small ball
  8. Jumps rope forward, backward, criss-cross and alternating feet
  9. Skips well
  10. Kicks a ball with fair control/accuracy

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By: Giorgia Nobili Owner and Lower Levels Head Coach & Lyudmyla Teshler MS., OTR/L Injury Prevention Program

Rhythmic in the times of COVID-19


Since March of 2020, the whole world has been put on "pause", activities have been postponed, events cancelled, businesses shut down. Yet the world of rhythmic has powered through without too much of a fuss. At MG our enrollments even shot up both during and after.

Why? Here is a list of reasons this sport is thriving in COVID-19 times:

  1. Our sport is comprised of so many different aspects that bringing the training into your home, via remote learning, actually benefit the athletes. Athletes focused on mastering balances, turns, and apparatus handling. They improved their flexibility and strength. They got creative with new tricks and ways to train.
  2. Returning to in person class was easy. Social distancing? We were doing it before it was cool. Who wants to stand less that 6ft from a teammate swinging a large heavy hoop, wielding clubs for the first year (or ever really), or getting tangled in your neighbor's 6 meters of ribbon. Our sport *demands* space.

  3. We don't share apparatus. Each athlete has their own set that they purchase and use.

  4. Gymnasts are used to feeling comfortable being uncomfortable. At this point they barely notice their masks anymore. Our elite team who trains 4hrs a day, 5-6 days a week don't even need to catch their breath while running 4-5 minute-and-a-half long, cardio intensive routines anymore.

  5. It is giving our children some sense of normalcy. So many new students this year joined simply because they were so isolated from their friends, school, and regular activities. We were able to create a safe environment for kids to make new friends, see old friends, and interact with real-life people.

    We created new policies to ensure our families and students would be safe while returning to some aspects of "normal life". Here are just a few of the safety guidelines MG has in place for it's athletes:

      • Mandatory temperature checks upon entry
      • Limiting the numbers of students per class
      • Limiting the number of people allowed into the building at one time, operating at 25% capacity
      • Students must show proof of a negative PCR test after any symptoms or travel
      • Mandatory masks for all staff and athletes above the age of 5
      • Sanitizer stations located throughout the gym
      • Daily sanitization of surfaces and deep cleanse of all carpet areas 1x week
      • Signs throughout to remind athletes to wear masks and wash hands
      • Open doors and windows in the warmer months to facilitate air flow
      • Outdoor training whenever possible
      • Mandatory testing and reporting of any vacation/leave for return to activities

      We are so thankful to all the families who have supported us and put their trust in us these past few months. We couldn't have survived this pandemic without you!
      If you'd like to hear more about what we are doing to keep our families safe, feel free to reach out via email or call us!

      -Coach Giorgia

What Age is Best to Start RG


As a coach I get asked this more often than any other question. The answer is not really as black and white as it may seem. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration. What is your/your child’s goal in Rhythmic Gymnastics? Is this for fun? For sport? For an Olympic Medal? RG requires a huge range of flexibility, strength and coordination which does not come naturally to most, genetics alone can impact your athlete’s readiness. Certain body types adapt easier to this sport than others. Previous experience in other sports such as Artistic Gymnastics and Ballet can sometimes aid the transition as well (so long as the basics of good body technique have been already taught). What is a “good age” for one athlete may not be the same for another.

Generally speaking, your child will have the best chance if exposed to the sport on the earlier side. Here at MG we start basic training at age two and a half. But what can my toddler do at that age? Well she won’t be doing any large tosses or complicated acrobatics in that class, but I can tell you she will be developing basic motor control, spatial awareness, and age appropriate discipline. Our classes are designed to stimulate your child’s brain and create good neuro pathways to set them up for success in sport (whichever sport they choose) and in life. See here to read more about our Pre-Gymnastics classes and the Gross Motor Milestones your child should be hitting.

After the Pre-Gymnastics years (2.5-4) it becomes time to make a decision about the path your child will take. Usually at this time your coach will advise you about your options to join the Junior Olympic, XCEL or recreational track. The different tracks are designed to include any child of any ability and allows for your athlete to find a good “fit” in the world of RG.

If you or your child plan to do this sport professionally (Junior Olympic track) in any capacity, the earlier the start the better. Girls in the JO track can start competing as early as six years old and ideally should have trained some years before that to prepare. This is why we begin teaching Pre Team training at age four. An athlete's bones and joints are softer at this age and can still be stretched and shaped. Once an athlete begins to hit puberty (around age 10) their bones begin to harden and it becomes much more difficult to stretch (and can often result in injury).

A child’s brain is also much more absorbent at this point. The base of RG, the part behind the tricks, grace and coordination, is simple clean technique: pointed toes, straight knees and arms, fingers held, a straight back and a long neck. The first few years of serious training will consist of just this: creating a good base for the future. These simple things need to become a habit for these athletes, natural, like walking, without a second thought in order to later perform the difficult skills.

XCEL is a newer concept in the world of RG and has been an enormous step in making this sport more inclusive to gymnasts. Any child who has a passion for the sport and still wishes to compete but is not able to partake in the JO program (for whatever reason-time, skill, money, goals, etc) can easily find their way in XCEL. A child can join the XCEL program at any age because the program is designed around the athlete. The skills can be tailored around each child’s ability and strengths. The opportunities for an XCEL student are very similar to the JO program. Most competitions now have XCEL sessions which means they get to travel alongside the JO team almost anywhere (like our annual Bahamas trip!).

Recreational gymnastics is also a great option for students just wishing to do Rhythmic just for the sake of exercise. The development of a child’s balance, coordination, flexibility and strength is important for a healthy lifestyle and to prevent injuries later in life. The skills and lessons learned in RG will follow your child through life. Read here how RG is making your child more successful academically!

One important thing to note is that the training, focus and methods vary greatly between these paths. It is much easier to begin training more seriously, gain the proper training and skills for the sport, and decide to pull back or change paths than it is to begin recreationally and try to jump to a more professional track later.

There is no “one size fits all” answer. Each child is made of a different fabric with different life experience which shape the way they learn. The “late starter” with the least amount of natural talent but all the motivation and grit in the world will easily surpass the talented child who began at two and does not know how to challenge herself. Our coaches are trained to help guide each child and family to the path that is best for them.