By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Westborough??”With the gymnastics world still enjoying the triumph of the U.S. women's team at last summer's Olympics, the Massachusetts Gymnastics Center in Westborough is welcoming new students in its spring classes and for its summer camp program.
The center's program starts with children as young as 12 months, and goes up through high school.
Leo Doran, co-owner with Michael Colarossi, of Massachusetts Gymnastics Center, which operates six locations in the greater Boston area, and head of the Westborough location, takes special pride in the preschool program for children 1 through 5, and emphasizes the center is not all about hard-core competition.
“Our program, particularly at the preschool level, is as much about fitness and learning as it is about gymnastics. Even if kids don's stay with gymnastics for the long run, it's a great foundation for other sports, especially for little boys,” he said. “It's about fitness, movement, coordination and balance as well as socialization. Older kids develop discipline, confidence and self-esteem along with gymnastic skills.”
The Center offers three 13-week sessions of classes during the school year. Enrollment for the spring session, which starts March 18, is underway now. Parents can also enroll their children now for summer camp, nine one-week sessions, with discounts available for multi-week enrollments. A free trial gymnastics class is available if children want to sample the program before signing up.
Massachusetts Gymnastics” newest program, Tiny Stars, starts children at 12 months old. “We used to start at 18 months, but it's good to get kids moving,” Doran said. Sessions for these littlest participants are a half-hour long, and parents stay with their children during the session.
Starting at age 3, the kids are in the gym without their parents, who are welcome to observe through large windows.
A complete schedule of classes is available on the center's website, www.massgymnastics.com. Students are assigned to classes on the basis of both age and skill level, with beginner, intermediate and advanced classes available for all ages.
The Center also offers the chance to participate on competitive gymnastics teams. “We have had a few kids go on to make the national teams,” Doran said.
The staff is mostly full-time, and all are professional gymnastics instructors, certified by USA Gymnastics, the sport's governing body in the U.S. The student-to-staff ratio is 6-1 for preschool classes and 8-1 for ages 5 and up. Coleen Cafaro heads the preschool program in Westborough, and Danielle Montiverdi directs the girls” competitive teams.
Gymnastics is a big part of Massachusetts Gymnastics” summer camp program, but not all of it. Campers are taken to the pool at a nearby Shrewsbury health club for swimming time (but no swimming lessons), play outdoor games in the Center's fenced-in back yard and enjoy arts and crafts along with their gymnastics program. Each week at camp features a different theme.
The summer camp, accredited by the state, offers a half-day program for preschoolers ages 3 to 5, and both full-day and half-day options for ages 6 through 15. Doran noted that some parents opt for a summer camp program at a location near their office rather than their home.
Massachusetts Gymnastics Center started in Waltham in 1974, and has grown to six locations serving about 3,800 children, Doran said.
Information on the programs at every location is available at www.massgymnastics.com, or by calling 978-562-5292. For information about the Westborough location, call 508-870-0253. Massachusetts Gymnastics Center in Westborough is located at 74 Otis St., just south of Route 9.