When the Eatontown Community Center Preschool first incorporated fitness classes into the curriculum back in 2012, they had no idea how much of a positive impact it would have on the program as a whole. During the Winter months, the ECC preschool teachers yearned for warmer weather to let their students outside to get there “wiggles” and “sillys” out. Being stuck inside is hard on anyone, but especially energetic, “jumping bean” children! That is when kids Zumba, better known as Kids Zumbatomic, was first integrated into the program.
Children are instructed to wear sneakers for the once a week Zumbatomic class. Using the building adjacent to the preschool, known as the Community Center, a certified Zumbatomic instructor teaches a class of about 30 preschoolers.
Days when the children have Zumba, a special energy is the air. The students come to school, knowing the fun is soon to come. Thirty tiny, smiling faces congregate in the Community Center and eagerly wait for the music to begin. First the warm up, followed by 20 minutes of dancing inspired by fitness and ending with stretching. Children bop, swerve, and laugh along to the music…some to the beat and others unknowingly out of rhythm.
What the children do not know is that just because they are out of the classroom, does not mean they are not learning. They exercise their fine motor skills while being exposed to different cultural music and dance styles, like the salsa and the mambo. Their “listening ears” are present as they must learn to follow directions from the instructor. The learning never stops outside the classroom! Most importantly, they are learning that fitness can be fun!
As the giggly, children sway and shimmy side to side, the goal of the Eatontown Community Center Preschool is encourage health and love of fitness for years to come.