Oh, my days is how I'm starting this one as that is exactly what went through my head the first time I took Max to gymnastics!! Closely followed by "What the Flipping bendy people is going on here!"
I found within the first 2 weeks of him joining his new gymnastics class .... was not to watch!! The helicopter mummy in me was trying to burst out of my deeply rooted body like a scene out of alien!
What on earth am I going on about? Let me set the scene. We walk into the class - brand spanking new, get told who Max's teacher is and that's it. He is then (at 3 years old) expected to stand whilst the rest of the class gather for warm up (didn't happen), do the warm up for 15 minutes (didn't happen) and then do 3 15 minute classes (some of it happened). What did happen was Max saw PLAY TIME. He only went to this gymnasium once before and that was to have his 3rd birthday party!
At least 6/7 instructors, each with 6 kids to teach ranging from 3 - 11 and yep, absolute carnage. Kids running off, jumping around on equipment and just having a good time..... but not with their teachers - oh my days, I got completely confused and panicky JUST WATCHING.
Whilst the instructor is watching/helping 1 child the other 5 (it would appear) are left to their own devices and needless to say with no direction - to clamber on the nearest piece of equipment.
What concerned me the most was the lack of control. I'm guessing because the majority of preschoolers have at least one parent sitting on the bench the teachers are just assuming we are watching our child to make sure there is no sudden rush for the door? But as I sat there with my mouth wide open and one eye on my son, I noticed that half the parents are either engrossed on their phones or chatting together - I assumed they have older children and didn't need to watch them at all. I, on the other hand, have a very lively, sometimes stubborn 3-year old who is over excited by given free reign of the gym!
That was 6 weeks ago.
Now when we go it still (to a newbie) looks like complete carnage but as you sit and watch (and not get up and tell your child to stop roaming around the gym), you notice that actually, this is organised chaos, the instructors are aware of where each of the children are and reign each one of them back in, they have helpers and most importantly - the kids love it.
And now, now I see why the mums sit and chat or check their phones - because they can. Because their children are in safe hands and for that hour they can just chill for a bit and be more than just mummy :-)