(Updated) My daughter had a classmate that practiced gymnastics. For a petite girl, she was agile, and could do backbends already (the yogi in me cried inside a little). She’s also around 4 years old.
Personally I’m not very familiar with gymnastics and don’t know a lot of kids who practice the sport, or grownups who used to practice it as kids. My husband was all for it though, so it was my homework to look for a reputable place that offers gymnastics for kids.
It’s such a good thing that Akira’s best friend showed an interest in gymnastics too, and her mom already looked and asked around. We got invited to sign up for a class so the two can practice together again, just like how it went with their swimming lessons.
This is how Akira spent her summer in Colegio San Agustin getting acquainted with gymnastics.
First time in CSA
This is my first time inside Colegio San Agustin. What a campus. What a sports complex.
I was told the entire complex is less than 5 years old. It looked world class to me, and it was pretty complete. It had a volleyball court, a basketball court, an elevated running track, swimming pool, ballet studio. The third floor housed the Taekwondo, ballet and gymnastics areas.
The facilities were well maintained, bathrooms were clean, and there’s ample parking space. The canteen was great too, there’s plenty of concessionaires, and it’s spacious and clean. We’d usually have a small snack here after Aki’s class.
The gymnastics session
The class lasts for an hour. We were allowed to stay inside the gym at first, but after a couple of sessions, everyone was made to wait outside so the kids could concentrate better. Goodbye, aircon 😦 .
It was nice to see the kids practice though. Kids of different ages, mostly girls, some boys, of varying degrees of skill. I was also happy to see the waiting area had its fair share of parents and it wasn’t all yayas. Presence mean a lot to the little ones after all 🙂
The kids begin the class (on time all the time, by the way) by lining up and doing stretches like arm swings, jumping jacks, and walking on tiptoes with their arms up. Then they’d do some rolls, with emphasis on the correct form.
At a given time, there would be 2 to 3 coaches around, assisting all of the students. This is where I learned that after every move, they have to do the gymnast salute 🙂
I also appreciate that the classes are pretty small, only up to 10 kids max, I believe.
Post summer class
After gymnastics I gained an even bigger appreciation for the time we spent doing kids’ gym in ClubBambino. I really felt like we nailed a lot of the fundamentals with them, and they further encouraged the love Akira already had for physical activity.
Gymnastics is the most structured physical activity Akira has done to date (swimming comes at a very close second). What she needed to do is specific, and it’s essential to listen to instructions well.
There were plenty of times where she’d still goof around and play, but I think it just comes with the age. Thankfully the coaches aren’t super strict, and they do leave a bit of leeway for silliness.
For instance, I think it’s such a nice touch to close the class with trampoline time. After doing a set of high jump where you touch your knees on the trampoline, the coach makes the students lie down together closely while he jumps and bounces them around. There are always happy squeals afterwards.
Reminders, especially for first timers
We weren’t required to buy leotards for the kids yet, so yay! Easy on the budget 😀 Best for the kids to wear something snug though, so leggings and a shirt or tank would be great.
They will also be barefoot when they practice, so they can just wear footwear that’s easy to take off and put on.
The gym itself is air conditioned, but having a change of clothes, a small face towel and some powder is sensible to always have, especially when the kid is going to do physical exercise. And don’t forget a bottle of water!
This was the summer 2017 rate: Php 5,500 for 12 sessions (US$ 109). They also accept check payment.
Make up classes are also allowed in case your kid can’t come. Just inform the coach.
And since CSA is offering after-class sessions even for non-CSA students, we signed up again! This time it’s Php8,500 (US$ 168) for 16 sessions, and the beauty of it is the after class program starts at 2:30 PM onwards, and the kid can just come in as often he or she likes. They will just take note of each session consumed.
For inquiries, please call the CSA Sports Office at 844-4195 or 843-9998 local 403 to 404, or drop by to inquire in person and see the facilities for yourself 🙂
*Peso to US dollar conversion from XE
After three packages, I can no longer recommend CSA gymnastics with confidence or enthusiasm.
As a summer program, gymnastics in the school is great, but for extra curricular activities for an outsider, it became discouraging. It began with Dasmarinas Village becoming stricter, only allowing a specific gate for CSA visitors. On a regular weekday, there were plenty of times we would just turn back instead of going to class because the traffic was too heavy. Sometimes, it was the traffic just going to the school that was incredibly heavy.
Going to CSA with regular classes going on meant also meant moving along with so many more people. The waiting area can get really cramped and full of waiting people and the students’ stuff. It shouldn’t be a big deal, but the admin also seem to care little for the adults waiting on the kids outside since they couldn’t even commit to keeping the outdoor fans on for us, even after I’ve personally raised a complaint.
The school doesn’t seem to be accommodating to outsiders, in spite of our package enrolment. We can’t even park near the sports complex (unless we get a CSA sticker), so we’re banished to the far end of their soccer field.
We’ve also had a pretty negative experience that served as the last straw. I’m not comfortable with getting into details since the issue was resolved, but it was all I needed after a long list of inconveniences and hassle. We will definitely try another place if my kid wants to do gymnastics again.