Little Gym to open second Knox location

Little Gym to open second Knox location

There are 18 comments on the Farragut Press story from Jan 10, 2009, titled Little Gym to open second Knox location. In it, Farragut Press reports that:

The Little Gym will be opening its second Knoxville store in Farragut's Brooklawn development, adjacent to Kroger Marketplace, in mid-January. The Little Gym offers children aged 4 months to 12 years ...

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Farragut Press.

Anna B

AOL

#1 Jan 31, 2009
My children attend Heidi's Musical Gymnastics. It has been in Farragut for many years. Heidi's program is top notch. If you are looking for childrens gymnastics in the Farragut area I could not recommend Heidi's Musical Gymnastics enough.
Both parents and children love her and she is highly skilled and accomplished. Go to her web site at www.heidismusicalgym.com for more information.
Laura

AOL

#2 Feb 3, 2009
I just have to say that Heidi is an amazing teacher/motivator. Her dedication has made Heidi's Musical Gymnastics the best child program especially in non- competitive gymnastics. My children have progressed developmentally and are so busy having fun, they don't realize they are actually working and achieving.
There are many imitators, but only one Heidi's Musical Gymnastics.
Jaime

AOL

#3 Feb 12, 2009
I have questions about The Little Gym of Farragut. I have read information from many of The Little Gym web sites. Among the many claims made are, if I am not mistaken, leading the way in developmental gymnastics.

When I heard that The Little Gym was opening up in Farragut I did a search and found a listing on Craigslist for potential employees http://knoxville.craigslist.org/edu/101927395...

From the ad on craigslist, The Little Gym appears to be looking for someone with "experience" whom they are willing to pay $8-$11 dollars.

Should a company leading the way in Fundamental gymnastics go to Craigslist in search of qualified instructors, or should they be actively recruiting teachers with solid gymnastics backgrounds(i.e. former gymnastics instructors)through other channels?

Looking for candidates who will be paid $8-$11 dollars appears to me too low for a well qualified instructor.

Shouldn't a business that holds itself out to be a high quality kids gym be committed to hiring only the best?

I don't have the answers to these questions, but it does make me wonder if this is truly a quality gym or one huge gimmick designed to pass off as a quality kids gym.
Momof2

Knoxville, TN

#5 Feb 16, 2009
I'm a mom of two whose oldest child has tried this franchise program in the past, and I can understand why this is attractive to some parents -- no doubt any of these programs can be fun no matter who teaches them. No comparison, though, to the quality of attention to detail, safety and experience you get at Heidi's Musical Gymnastics. If you are looking for fun, plus a place where your young child will learn essential skills, Heidi's is the place to be. I wouldn't take my children anywhere else. It's amazing how she brings out the best in the children. She's even great at helping with attention to special needs, and she mixes in lessons about getting along with others that will truly last a lifetime.
Stan

Johnson City, TN

#7 Oct 30, 2009
Do gyms or franchises hiring part time helpers with little experience in gymnastics/ music and movement make an impact on kids?

Yes, a business has a good business model. The facility is cleverly decorated. Consultants may have replicated an "appealing factor." Maybe the staff is trained to be animated and upbeat, but what about the instruction?

How prudent is it to pay serious money to a "gym" who may hire part time helpers wth little or no gymnastics/ music and movemet background?

If the gym is really for children then shouldn't the experience of the instructor be the detemining factor for deciding the right gym for children?

The joy of parenthood can leave parents feeling ecstatic. The least thing a precious child does is cherished, but emotionalism aside, if your child is not being istructed by a solid instructor, how effective is that for children.

Should gyms be more than catering to the cute factor and profiting off the love of parents?

Maybe this is what should be considered when looking for the right gym for your baby, toddler or child
Carey

Knoxville, TN

#8 Nov 1, 2009
It's interesting to me to see the above comments. Both my kids have been in this program for the past 5 years (we did take a few semesters off here and there) and have gotten wonderful individualized instruction by a very experience staff! I don't know how they hire, but they must be doing something right. I hope people aren't trying to start a smear campaign against The Little Gym. They obviously have more class than that.
Christina

Brentwood, TN

#9 Nov 3, 2009
My daughter has attended both The Little Gyms in Knoxville. We began almost four years ago. I am an educator and my focus is on physical, emotional, and spiritual development of the young child. I wish I was qualified to work at The Little Gym. I do not have a background in dance, gymnastics, or physical education. Yes, many of the employees are College Students. They are working on undergrad or graduate degrees in physical therapy, dance, physical education, and art education. The younger employees are fantastic. The Director, the Owner, and the lead instructors have years of experience participating in these activities and years teaching them. The dance instructors have decades of experience teaching dance.
As for the pay scale, I am sorry to inform you but the adults who care for your child at preschool, daycare, or an after school program see this pay scale as very appealing. These childcare professionals are educated, experiences and giving but are more underpaid than any other public service employee.
Developmentally, The Little Gym works to integrate kinetic, musical, and verbal stimulation into each part of the lesson.
We have no hope for our daughter to compete in gymnastics or to become a professional dancer. We want her to be an intelligent, sociable, respectful, and productive member of her community. The Little Gym is helping to develop those skills in her. I can't ask for more than that.
Stan

Johnson City, TN

#10 Nov 3, 2009
This comment is in response to the above poster. You remark that you have attended both The Little Gyms in Knoxville. I can only assume that one or more of your daughters has been to
The Little Gym of Farragut relatively recently since it opened about 8 months ago- I believe it was sometime in Feb.‘09

What I would like to know is why under your post name, the listed location is BLUEFIELD, WV?
Surely you don’t commute to Knoxville/Farragut for gymnastics instruction, or do you?
If you do commute, would you please tell me what is the most cost efficient means of commuting from WV to Knoxville/Farragut four times each month?

The purpose of my post is to seek clarification, ask for transparency and a few other general questions.

You say something to the effect that gym management (directors?) have years of experience participating in these activities. Could you please clarify that for me. What exactly does years of experience participating in these activities mean? What constitutes participation? Is participation equivalent to substantial experience in gymnastics/karate/ dance etc.?

I don’t know the answer, and that is why I seek clarification. I believe all businesses, including children’s businesses, would be better served by being transparent. What’s wrong with offering a bio/resume to the public with regard to instructor’s experience in whatever program offered?

Transparency would be a plus for all businesses. It would show the public how qualified instructors at a certain business are. Merely stating that instructors are well qualified or have experience is not the same as providing documentation.

I was also curious about your job description. You state you are an educator with a focus on physical, emotional and spiritual development. If you don’t mind me asking, do you have a degree(B.A.) as an educator. If so what is your degree?

Your job description further baffles me because you say you wish you were qualified to work for The Little Gym. You say that the college students who work there part time are working on degrees that include Physical Education. Didn’t you say you are already an educator with a focus on physical development? Why do you not qualify?

Finally, I would like all children to be intelligent, sociable, respectful, and productive members of our community. Does The Little Gym have any independent statistics on former Little gymers and how they differ from peers who did not attend The Little Gym? In other words, have the Little gymers been more successful in life, socially and otherwise? Are they more productive than their peers who did not have the Little Gym experience. Are these kind of studies irrelevant?

Once again, I seek answers and clarification to these questions. If there is an independent study that proves solely because of participation in The Little Gym, children have attained success in life, then by all means, this is a dynamite program that should be mandatory for all children if at all possible. Maybe this is not germane to anything, nor does The Little Gym imply any such notion.

I believe transparency and documentation serve everyone well. This helps us become educated. Far from being a detractor of The Little Gym, I would like to see it clarify questions. Any program that has documented experience in it’s field and can verify being a major component in a child’s success has my vote
Richard Moore

Oak Ridge, TN

#11 Nov 4, 2009
Stan, Laura, Jaime and Anna B: I want to thank you for your positive comments regarding Ms. Heidi and her program. It is wonderful to hear from parents and individuals who have such passion for the education of their children and for the instructors and programs who have been given the privilege of working with a parent’s child. I appreciate the opportunity to share The Little Gym story and our ownership story with you.
The Little Gym was started in 1976 by a man named Robin Wes. Robin immigrated to the United States (Seattle) from a very harsh educational system in South Africa. Many of the students he knew and competed with came from a highly competitive, stressful gymnastics and sports programs where students dropped out because they burned out and they were taught the sport in a way that eliminated their self-confidence and self-esteem. Robin believed that there had to be a better way. With his training in Child Development, Kinesiology, and Physical Education, Robin dreamed of creating a program that grew children’s motor skills (the foundation of all movement) through gymnastics. He developed a structure and curriculum that taught children just as they learn: by seeing, hearing, doing, and feeling. The non-competitive environment allowed children in Seattle to grow their skills and their self-esteem through true accomplishments. They learned to love themselves for who they are, that exercise is not only necessary to lead a healthy life, but that it is fun, and they learned what it was like to take risks-that it was okay to fall off of the balance beam as long as they were ready to jump back up and try again. Robin found that children were not afraid to raise their hand in the school classroom and answer a question that the teacher had posed to the students. Robin’s program enhanced children’s listening skills through special directive-based music that he developed and produced specifically for his The Little Gym. The program developed the children’s attention spans and helped parents to know what they could reasonably expect from their children based on the developmental milestones of the child.
Due to the success of Robin’s original gym, he opened another in the Seattle area. And then another. And then Barry Fowler, the founder of Sylvan Learning Centers, brought his daughter to The Little Gym in Seattle and knew right away that Robin had created something special. He convinced Robin to allow other communities to enjoy the magic of The Little Gym through a concept called franchising, essentially the art of replicating success.
The Little Gym evolved to the point where people around the country were standing up to take notice of the success of children enrolled. Local news did stories on The Little Gym and then outlets like CNN came and found the same success stories. This is how our family found out about The Little Gym program. We had always dreamed of working together in a family business, but we needed to find one that fit our parameters. The business had to have a positive impact on the communities in which we lived and it needed to fit our backgrounds: Education, Physical Fitness, and Communication. Let me introduce our family, all of whom co-own The Little Gyms of Knoxville and Farragut.

Please continue reading the next post.
Richard Moore

Oak Ridge, TN

#12 Nov 4, 2009
In 1995, my mother, Martha Moore, BA in Education, an Elementary and Preschool teacher and co owner of a Knoxville- based education consulting business that created supplementary curriculum resources for school systems and universities nationwide, father Gerald Moore, who has a BS degree in Business, who was a public school teacher and coach, banker, accountant, and district manager for a large corporation and currently works with our The Little Gyms, sister Karalyne Ley, BA in English from Furman University and former Bearden high school teacher who was the co developer of our franchisor, The Little Gym International’s dance program that is used in over 300 gyms nationwide and in nineteen countries, bought our first The Little Gym franchise in North Raleigh, North Carolina, where I resided. My name is Richard Moore (I have a BA degree in Business and Communications,) We opened our second gym in 2000 in Greensboro, NC where our parents lived at the time. Our third location was opened in Knoxville in 2001 (probably explains how one of the respondents has been with us for five years in Knoxville where Karalyne has resided since 1981 except for the four years she was in college). Our fourth location was opened in Mt. Pleasant, SC in 2007 and our fifth location opened as The Little Gym of Farragut earlier this year. Each of these communities is home for us. We aren’t a large corporation operating out of Boise, Idaho or Fishkill, NY. We are a locally -owned and operated small business that has one goal: To promote the healthy and successful physical and mental development of the children of Knoxville and Farragut and the other communities in which we live. We donate to Preschools and give awards to Preschool Teachers who go above and beyond their job descriptions to make a difference in the life of a child. We are involved with a number of charities in Knox County and work to make a difference in each community in which we have a The Little Gym location.
We believe that every program that aims to help children grow is special. This includes Heidi’s. We would never put down or speak unfavorably of a competitor. We consider that tactic to be highly unprofessional. We also recognize it would be unfair to the children who are learning and growing immensely from the teaching that goes on in each facility.
The Little Gym has been growing children physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually for over 30 years. The Little Gym curriculum is developmentally appropriate and utilizes lesson plans for each age group and the training system is truly unparalleled, The Little Gym founder, Robin Wes, still develops the music we use with our lesson plans and works with our curriculum team to ensure that we provide a fun nurturing, sequential skill development opportunity for each student each time they come to The Little Gym. When we hire instructors we look first for individuals who have high degrees of integrity, intelligence, maturity, positive attitude, and a passion for working with children. Just as there are great football and basketball players who never played their sport professionally, there are highly successful gymnastics coaches who were not involved in the Olympics. Our extensive training program for our instructors, who include gymnasts who once competed and have coached, dancers, educators, and college students, helps them learn the best ways to instruct as well as make the connection with a child to help them to grow…from point A to point Z. It includes class management and skills and spotting seminars to DVDs to our Team Member Training System, to written and oral tests to Quality Assessments, all of which are designed to enable our team members to become Master Instructors.
Please continue reading the next post.
Richard Moore

Oak Ridge, TN

#13 Nov 4, 2009
We invite you to learn more about the credentials of all our instructors, many of whom have not only BA or BS degrees or have high competencies in dance, gymnastics, and sports skills, but have attended and attend on an ongoing basis our corporate provided trainings, taught by true experts in the field. To learn more about our team members, please visit our The Little Gyms to read their biographies or to talk with our co-owner, Karalyne Ley. To learn more about the philosophy, training requirements, safety, curriculum, music or any other questions you may have about our locations or other The Little Gyms, please feel free to call our franchisor, The Little Gym International located in Scottsdale, AZ at 888-228-2878 and speak with one of the Vice Presidents of Franchise Service.

We are honored to offer The Little Gym program in the communities that we call home and where we once roamed soccer fields and baseball fields, and participated in dance and piano recitals and yes gymnastics classes. We believe it is a privilege to work with every child who walks through our door, each and every door. And while we may not have the honor of working with your children Stan, Jaime, Laura, or Anna B, we are excited that you too realize the inherent advantages your children can gain through a well -designed and expertly- delivered motor skill development program. We invite you and any other interested individuals to come discover the magic of The Little Gym program by calling and setting up a free preview class. Let us share with you the developmental opportunity The Little Gym provides your child or children.

I wish you and your family the very best. As a former student at Farragut Middle School and Bearden High School, I know how much the parents of the greater Knoxville area care about the future success of their children. And I’m glad that we are able to help kids each day learn to put their best foot forward in a place that we call home.

Sincerely,
Richard Moore
The Little Gym International 2009-2010 Franchise Owner of the Year
Richard Moore

Oak Ridge, TN

#14 Nov 4, 2009
Please allow me to post the "middle" part of our story! It seems my original post with this information did not actually post.

In 1995, my mother, Martha Moore, BA in Education, an Elementary and Preschool teacher and co owner of a Knoxville- based education consulting business that created supplementary curriculum resources for school systems and universities nationwide, father Gerald Moore, who has a BS degree in Business, who was a public school teacher and coach, banker, accountant, and district manager for a large corporation and currently works with our The Little Gyms, sister Karalyne Ley, BA in English from Furman University and former Bearden high school teacher who was the co developer of our franchisor, The Little Gym International’s dance program that is used in over 300 gyms nationwide and in nineteen countries, bought our first The Little Gym franchise in North Raleigh, North Carolina, where I resided. My name is Richard Moore (I have a BA degree in Business and Communications,) We opened our second gym in 2000 in Greensboro, NC where our parents lived at the time. Our third location was opened in Knoxville in 2001 (probably explains how one of the respondents has been with us for five years in Knoxville where Karalyne has resided since 1981 except for the four years she was in college). Our fourth location was opened in Mt. Pleasant, SC in 2007 and our fifth location opened as The Little Gym of Farragut earlier this year. Each of these communities is home for us. We aren’t a large corporation operating out of Boise, Idaho or Fishkill, NY. We are a locally -owned and operated small business that has one goal: To promote the healthy and successful physical and mental development of the children of Knoxville and Farragut and the other communities in which we live. We donate to Preschools and give awards to Preschool Teachers who go above and beyond their job descriptions to make a difference in the life of a child. We are involved with a number of charities in Knox County and work to make a difference in each community in which we have a The Little Gym location.
We believe that every program that aims to help children grow is special. This includes Heidi’s. We would never put down or speak unfavorably of a competitor. We consider that tactic to be highly unprofessional. We also recognize it would be unfair to the children who are learning and growing immensely from the teaching that goes on in each facility.

The Little Gym has been growing children physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually for over 30 years. The Little Gym curriculum is developmentally appropriate and utilizes lesson plans for each age group and the training system is truly unparalleled, The Little Gym founder, Robin Wes, still develops the music we use with our lesson plans and works with our curriculum team to ensure that we provide a fun nurturing, sequential skill development opportunity for each student each time they come to The Little Gym. When we hire instructors we look first for individuals who have high degrees of integrity, intelligence, maturity, positive attitude, and a passion for working with children. Just as there are great football and basketball players who never played their sport professionally, there are highly successful gymnastics coaches who were not involved in the Olympics. Our extensive training program for our instructors, who include gymnasts who once competed and have coached, dancers, educators, and college students, helps them learn the best ways to instruct as well as make the connection with a child to help them to grow…from point A to point Z. It includes class management and skills and spotting seminars to DVDs to our Team Member Training System, to written and oral tests to Quality Assessments, all of which are designed to enable our team members to become Master Instructors.
Stan

Johnson City, TN

#15 Nov 4, 2009
To the above poster: asking questions about a business in not unprofessional nor is it putting it down.

I appreciate your civil tone, but I disagree with trying to characterize people as being unprofessional for asking questions.

I do not believe any business has a birthright to be above answering questions. I believe the tactic of casting someone in an negative light for asking questions or seeking clarifications is unprofessional.

In my above post to Christine of Bluefield WV, who I assume commutes from WV to Knoxville/Farragut, I asked her some specific questions regarding what constitutes experience and if there are any independent studies showing how childen fare with or without the program in question. As stated earlier, I do not know if that question is germane to the discussion since I do not know if it is even implied that by soley participating in The Little Gym, former students are more successful than those who have not( participated).

I was hoping for specifc answers not generalities, however, I am content not having answers to my specific questions.
kmama

Knoxville, TN

#16 Nov 7, 2009
who is stan anyway.haha.wierdo
John

Manchester, TN

#17 Nov 7, 2009
Hi, after reading all that has been said in the above posts I feel compelled to comment. My children all attended The Little Gym in St. Louis Mo.(and to ensure the transparency you crave Stan, No we did not commute, we were transferred - in today’s society people are quite mobile and in West Virginia one day and Knoxville the next) I have to say the experience was wonderful. Not only did my children Love to attend classes, they made lasting friends and were treated as if they truly mattered in this world. My youngest took Karate and the older two took Gymnastics. I did not put them in the program so they could become competitive athletes or Olympic stars, I wanted to develop the whole child in a noncompetitive environment. After reviewing the program and interviewing the franchise owner, I felt The Little Gym was a perfect fit. The children were led by highly motivated, wonderful instructors who made them feel at home in the gym. They were always coached in a positive manner, never in a condescending tone and they were made to feel special. They taught skills in a very progressive and non-threatening manner. I didn’t ask if the owner had sheepskins to hang on the wall, I was going to the gym not the Doctor‘s office and degrees didn’t matter to my kids - they just wanted to have fun and develop skills in the process. I didn’t inquire later as my kids were coached in other sports if the coaches were “properly” degreed, I wanted them to learn in school and be coached by wonderful people who would help them enjoy sports. The Little Gym was intended to be fun for my kids, not for their formal schooling - and fun it was! My oldest child has a disability and always had educational challenges. The Little Gym was a wonderful place for her to be herself and to work on her motor skills in a safe and loving environment. Her disability causes her to have socialization challenges, and her school could not get her to engage in group activities. At The Little Gym, she was thriving. The staff enveloped her, they taught her, and she bloomed. I truly believe she is the young lady she is today because of the support she received at TLG. So in response, I stand firm in my belief that TLG developed skills in my children that not only helped them in school, but in their friendships, their sports and in their teacher relationships.

I think Richard is right, life offers choices. The freedom to choose different programs offers different options, as unique as each child. Given the choice, I’d choose The Little Gym again - it was a great brand and worked for our family. That doesn’t mean other choices are wrong - it just means, as a parent, you should carefully evaluate your options and choose the one that fits your family and developmental philosophy. At the end of the day, we’re fortunate to have such a choice in Farragut. And is there much value added in a bachelor’s degree? Lets face it, were trying to get kids to have fun here, not teach them physics.
Stan

Johnson City, TN

#18 Nov 8, 2009
This response is to John. I agree with you on many points. In no way was I implying instructors have to be degreed in some irrelevant field to be great instructors. However, I do feel parents should be proactive and seek qualification for their children's activites. Yes we are all free to choose what we want, and if your criteria is just having fun then you have a broad base of choices from which to choose.

Going back to my question, I was seeking answers regarding the instructor’s qualifications for parents who may be interested in knowing. The basic question was: Shouldn’t instruction be the most important factor when choosing a gymnastics program or any other- karate, dance.

I believe being an instructor who makes an impact on children isn’t something that happens with some crash courses , dvds, and suddenly you are a master instructor.

This also begs the question: Is a successful business synonymous with offering quality services?
Here’s where things may get tricky. A business may offer good customer services, and other services, but again in a case about gym/karate/dance teachers, isn’t gymnastics instruction most important for parents looking for solid instruction?
John, your case would not apply since you were simply looking for a place where your daughter could have fun and be herself.

In Profitable Strategies for Fitness Managers Directors and Owners ( pg.75) by IDEA Health and Fitness Association(I believe that's the name). The question is asked: What qualities contribute to being a successful franchise. I believe the answer given by a family member of this franchise is as follows:“You need to have the mindset to be able to provide great customer service. You need to be willing to make the time commitment to get your business off to a great start and operate it effectively. We’ve realized at The Little Gym that it’s more important to have business acumen than a gymnastics background. As a fitness pro, you can surround yourself with the team you need to deliver the product or service.” I believe I quoted that correctly, if not please go check it yourself for accuracy.

In my opinion, I believe having a gymnastics, karate or dance background should be the most important factor for conducting a gymnastics, karate or dance business, especially if I were a business using superlatives to crown myself as a special program.

Additionally, unlike a hamburger whose ingredients can be replicated because a recipe is always the same, I’m not sure that instruction or instructors can be replicated the same way. People are not hamburgers. From the above quote(check for accuracy please):“ As a fitness pro, you can surround yourself with the team you need to deliver the product or service,” I would like to know what constitutes a fitness pro, and what kind of team do you surround yourself with to deliver the product or service”?

Hypothetically, if a franchise sells hundreds, if not thousands, of franchises, can quality gymnastics, dance, and karate instructors be found to teach in all of them? In my opinion it would seem highly unlikely, but maybe I am wrong.

Is this a question of running a successful business-getting a viable product or service unto the consumer- or is this the case of offering quality? Once again, I simply pose the question. Although I have my own opinions, I do not know the answers, but I do believe this is the question that wise consumers should consider.

All questions, thoughts and opinions I have posed are in no way meant to imply anything bad or hurt anyone, these are merely some questions seeking answers.

I am happy for your daughter and you as well John
Jane

Manchester, TN

#19 Nov 8, 2009
After reading through all of these posts, I have come to realize that Richard is the only one to state his qualifications. I dont think Stan can judge anything or anybody unless you also meet your so called "qualifications".
Gail

Blountville, TN

#20 Apr 5, 2010
Hi, I am a parent of a child who attends TLG and I have to say my child loves the program. I also have friends who attend Heidi's and she as well has a wonderful program. I must say, however, TLG took a bit of a hit this year. They lost what we all think was the best asset of the gym. They lost an instructor who was probably the glue to the gym. She was dedicated and well educated in the skills that are taught at the gym. The gym is just not the same. I think she left because she was not paid enough but she did not say that. Anyway, anyone who goes to either program will have a great time and fun will be had by the kids. And isn't that what we all want??

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