Success in a kids class for Maggie Slater isn’t how much weight they lift or how many burpees they do. Rather, it’s about bringing the communities together.
She explained when a parent at the gym comes to her and says the family went for a bike ride, a hike or even cooked a delicious meal together, she’s ecstatic. “That to me is success,” said Slater. “If I can get that going and get that whole chain reaction, get the family together, make a healthy community out of it, I’m happy.”
As a CrossFit Kids Trainer, Slater has been teaching kids at the Landisville location of CrossFit Trinium in Pennsylvania for about six months. Recently, the class and Slater were spotlighted on ABC 27. Slater said her passion for the class was adequately shown. “I think they did an amazing job capturing the message I wanted to get across,” she said.
With a passion for kids and teens, she has learned quite a few things in running the class over these past six months:
Slater pursued her CrossFit Specialty Course: Kids certificate before starting the class at the Landisville location. “In order for me to teach CrossFit [to kids], it’s very important for a person to go through the CrossFit Kids training,” she said. “And there’s so much they talk about. They talk about the dos and don’ts, safety. I wanted to do it the right way; I wanted to back up the name CrossFit. That’s why I went through the training to do that.”
She said her biggest takeaway was hearing the different teaching methods between the ages of children. “Pretty much just breaking down what their needs are, how to approach the program, how to get them engaged,” she shared.
Running a kids class isn’t just fun and games. Slater said there’s a lot more that goes into a class beyond just fitness and fun. Her kids and teens will also learn about making healthy choices – she even brought in a nutritionist one day.
“That’s one thing I learned in the course too: is it’s more than just, ‘Hey guys, we’re going to play dodgeball and we’re going to do front squats,’” said Slater. “We’re talking about taking turns. We’re working as a team. We’re talking about making good choices, about safety, making eye contact, remembering our manners. There’s more to it.”
When it comes to teaching kids, Slater said you need to be creative. While they often come in with more excitement and joy to do burpees than adults, you still need to be aware kids will have those bad days, too.
“You need to be creative,” she said. “You need to be in tune with what the kids like, what’s going on. You might have a lesson plan, and you can read what the kids want, and if you feel like they’re not really enjoying it, you’ve got to switch it. You’ve got to be creative; you’ve got to keep them going.”
So, with the kids learning fitness – and finding out they enjoy it – Slater hopes to continue to impact families as the class only grows. “I’m a big believer in bringing communities together,” she said.
For more tips on teaching kids, check out 10 Ways to Help Your CrossFit Kids.