Tumbling toward success: CSO students prepare for kindergarten through physical education

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — CSO Head Start and Early Head Start students in Hot Springs are hopping, crawling, and, of course, tumbling as part of their physical education.

“You know how important education is; physical fitness is also important,” said Lisa Autry, Health & Wellness Instructor at CSO’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs. “There are multiple benefits to engaging in physical fitness. It gives them an outlet to expend energy, fostering holistic learning when education and physical fitness are integrated. The most important aspect is that it builds confidence, and they love fitness class.”

Autry, bringing experience from owning a gymnastics facility and teaching at daycares, aims to ignite children’s passion for gymnastics and fitness through CSO’s programs.

“I will introduce skills through games,” Autry explained. “Group games are beneficial as they teach cooperation, turn-taking, and following directions.”

Tumbling, a subset of gymnastics, involves flips, somersaults, and other aerial maneuvers on a mat. It requires strength, flexibility, and coordination, often serving as training for sports like cheerleading, gymnastics, and diving.

“Kindergarten readiness skills are crucial,” Autry emphasized. “This class will help them master some of those skills, preparing them for kindergarten in the fall.”

Parents interested in CSO’s Head Start program can learn more at CSOark.org/head-start or by calling 501-624-5724. CSO, short for “Community Services Office,” operates Head Starts in Garland County and Pine Bluff, Arkansas, offering comprehensive early childhood education and development opportunities.

Lisa Autry gave a lesson on tumbling to Early Head Start students at CSO's Pat Longinotti site in Hot Springs in March. She said that physical education plays just as big a role as other educations in children's lives.

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