OC Family SUMMER FUN! : Page 30

passages EARLY YEARS by Creative Teaching Press® this topic with me. He is well known for his work with O.C. children to help improve basic skills for sports, as well as with those who do not participate in organized sports but like to be active. For sports activities and general PE-type training, he suggests 5 as a good starting age. Children wanting to complement their team-sports training with gymnastics or dance lessons should adhere to some special rules. “Children should start additional training no younger than 8,” says Miille. “And even then it should involve training without the use of weights. The main focus of sports training for children should em- phasize body control, dynamic mobility, balance and coordination.” Wondering whether or not this recommended age applies to dance and gymnastics as well, I consulted the Academy of Performing Arts (aaperformingartsco.com). “At 4 years old,” according to Academy reps, “a youngster’s bones are quite soft and malleable, and severe damage could result from overly arduous training or exertion. Even the best and most caring teacher is not equipped to pinpoint a child’s level of development at this young age; only a pediatrician could know for certain.” I was feeling a twinge of regret, wishing I had done this re- search many years earlier, some time before starting my sons in baseball at 4, and football, basketball and martial arts at 5. Happily, I found someone with better news. Deidre Madrigal of The Dance Spot School in Fullerton (dancethespot.com) explained to me that precaution and teacher training are keys to early in- struction. She says that if done under proper supervision, children as young as 2 can begin their dance careers. This startled me a bit, so I asked her about injuries. “In the 30-year history of our school, we have taught more than 25,000 students and have never had a child injured,” Madri- gal happily informed me. “We take great care in understanding the biomechanics for each age.” Even though it was too late for my children, I was forming a good picture on the appropriate ages to begin physical activities and the precautions needed. Now I wondered about the visual Summerfield Culinary Spices • SALT FREE • NO MSG • ALL NATURAL! CATALOG! FREE San Francisco Herb and Natural Food Co.® 47444 Kato Road, Fremont • (800) 227-2830 • herbspicetea.com 30 O C FA M I LY. C O M J U LY 2 0 1 0 PHOTO BY © HWAHL3/FOTOLIA.COM

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