SCOTTSDALE, AZ--(Marketwire - February 10, 2011) - Recent media coverage of sports training for babies and toddlers has given parents a lot to think about. According to The Little Gym, a children's gym and fitness franchise, there are many benefits for enrolling children in a physical program at an early age. 

It depends upon the approach, according to Paul Dickison of The Little Gym International. "Our programs focus on teaching physical skills as a way of enhancing overall development, independence and problem solving -- not on turning out the next generation of major league sports stars." 

"All children -- at any age and ability level -- can benefit from the self-confidence that comes from experiencing achievement and success," Dickison continues. The Little Gym programs introduce children to new skills and then help them master those skills through group activities, directive music and cooperative group games. "The satisfaction that children develop after achieving a goal through their own efforts is very motivating," says Dickison. "It sets the pattern for lifelong achievement not only in sports, but in school, work and family life."

Dickison recommends that parents keep the following guidelines in mind when choosing a children's gym program:

1. Visit a class before you sign your child up for the program. This will ensure it's the right fit for both of you.
2. Children develop and progress at their own pace. Choose a program that encourages children to reach their fullest potential in a nurturing and caring way.
3. Look for programs where the emphasis is on fun and inclusion. Structure is a key element for a safe and effective learning environment. But a balanced approach with plenty of fun will ensure your child is excited and engaged.

"At The Little Gym, children discover their independence and build confidence," said Dickison. "Our curriculum-driven programs help children learn age-appropriate life skills such as listening, taking turns, following directions and managing emotions. And, along the way, they build a positive connection between physical movement and fun."

With their emphasis on exploration and development, The Little Gym's model has ranked it among the best in the industry. The company was named the No. 1 Birthday Party destination by Parents magazine in 2010 and ranked No. 1 in the Children's Fitness category in Entrepreneur Magazine's Top Franchises List, also known as Franchise 500, from 2007-2010.

For more information about The Little Gym, please visit

About The Little Gym
The Little Gym is an internationally recognized physical program that helps children build the developmental skills and confidence needed at each stage of childhood. The very first location was established in 1976 by Robin Wes, an innovative educator with a genuine love for children. The Little Gym International, Inc., headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., was formed in 1992 to franchise The Little Gym concept. Today, The Little Gym International has more than 300 locations in 22 countries. For more information, visit The Little Gym at