Find out what 

owning a franchise is like 

The Little Gym Amsterdam & The Little Gym Den Haag

Peter-Paul van Reenen

My 20-year-old self would be a bit shocked that I’m a The Little Gym owner! At the time, I was studying international business and art at University. Teaching children how to forward roll, somersault, listen or make friends wasn’t on my radar.

Until I met Alexander de Wit, owner of The Little Gym Europe, 15 years ago. He was looking for someone to open a gym in The Netherlands. My partner thought that it might be a perfect fit for me.

I wasn’t convinced. I wasn’t a teacher; I was an art historian. I had never taught children. The only link I had with The Little Gym was my background as a gymnast.

I visited Alexander at The Little Gym Waterloo, and I was struck by the international atmosphere, the positive environment, and the openness. Each parent had a different, wonderful story of why they came and were happy.

One Mum was telling me that their house was very small, and her child had so much energy. The Little Gym was their ‘other’ place where he could burn off steam, learn and laugh, and she could have the break she desperately needed.

I thought, wow, if this helps families in Waterloo, it would definitely help families in an international city like Amsterdam.  So, we opened The Little Gym Amsterdam franchise on a Saturday in 2002. And then, in 2009, we opened The Little Gym Den Haag.

Parents are always telling us we have a big impact on their children. One mother was telling me about her twin boys: “You know, they go home and pretend to be you. They are with you an hour a week, but they pretend that you are super heroes at home. You are a little bit magical in their lives.”

And we do try to make our gym magical for the children. We create a fantasy world in the gym where children can do what is natural to them. We provide boundaries and structure, but also the freedom to move in their own world. We get a lot of children that are scared of trying new things. In our gyms, there is no judgement – they feel safe to fail. That encourages learning, confidence, courage and friendships. That all stays with them, they take it home, and they want to re-live it.

Thousands of members have passed through our doors this past 14 years. And many of them have become friends. A group of young Mums – half Dutch and half expats – met at our first Funny Bugs class. They are still close, and one of them even opened her own The Little Gym in Czech Republic.  

Getting to know the children, managing the classes, and seeing the children laugh and learn is wonderful. That combination of being a teacher and a listener is a gift in my life. Just last month I was stopped in a coffee shop and proudly shown photos of two young men that were once toddlers in our gym. That was a magical moment.

The Little Gym Chiswick

Marlene Welburn & Tracie Kinsey

As a child, I was obsessed with gymnastics – my feet were always flying through the air. And it didn’t stop when I grew up. Back flips were my Friday night party trick. But I had never planned to open a gymnastics business. Until I met my husband Jon, that is.We met at a party in 2005. He was a corporate marketing executive who had acquired The Little Gym Chiswick franchise. He wanted to open the Gym, embrace his love of sport, and get off the corporate hamster wheel.

I was an event manager with a background in social work and a not-so-secret love of gymnastics. Jon was looking for a Gym Director, and wondered if I was interested in changing career.

The business was perfect for me… and so was Jon. He ended up with more than he expected after that chance meeting – a gym director, gym owner and a wife!

We opened The Little Gym Chiswick in 2007. It was exhilarating. I was inspired by being a teacher, and loved making a difference to the lives of our members.

We could see the children blossoming as their confidence and courage grew, and parents noticed a difference in their children too. By the end of week one, we already had 200 members – some of them are still with us today.

In 2008, I met Marlene. Marlene was the Gym Director at The Little Gym Hampton Hill. She was passionate about child development and had started her own children’s sports development programme, Super Kids, in South Africa before moving to the UK.

Marlene was a national hurdler in South Africa and a bit of a sports celebrity in her home town. She told stories of her mother looking for her in the supermarket as a child, and finding Marlene cartwheeling down the aisles.

I knew that she would be an asset to our team. She had so much passion, I just wanted to bottle it!

Marlene wanted to have her own The Little Gym franchise, and I wanted to help unleash all that passion and potential. In 2012, Marlene joined me as owner of The Little Gym Chiswick – and it was the best decision I could have made.

Today, more than 1,000 children join us at The Little Gym Chiswick each week. Some are natural athletes, and some haven’t found their sports ‘zen’ yet. But they all leave our gym feeling loved, boosted, and brimming with confidence.

And they all have something else in common – they have no idea they are learning so many critical social, emotional and motor skills while they’re grinning in our gym. Skills that will last them a lifetime. The back flips, somersaults, and feeling of their little feet flying through the air are a bonus!

Many parents tell us that The Little Gym has been truly life changing for their families. One father recently shared that his daughter, who is never chosen for school sports, has finally found a place where she is chosen, wanted, appreciated and able to live her passion for sport without judgement.

We are so incredibly lucky to work and play with our little members each day. We love seeing their confidence blossom as they learn new skills with our talented and playful team of instructors.

And not a day goes by that they don’t have us in stitches – whether it is the eight-year-old boy that is convinced Teacher Rosie is his girlfriend, or the three-year-old girl whose favourite vegetable is sausage!

The Little Gym Haarlem

Iritsia van 't Wout

My suitcase used to be my best friend. I spent seven years living and working on construction sites in China, Aruba and Canada. My life as an architectural designer couldn’t have been more different to my life now, in Haarlem.

A holiday back home in 2008 turned my life upside down. I met a wonderful man and thought – now, that’s a man you don’t meet on the corner every day! I resigned, happy in love, and made my way back to The Netherlands with plans of family and a quiet life.

My friends will tell you, however, that I’m not very good at the quiet life. I always need a challenge. Somewhere I can channel my big heart, passion for life, and inner entrepreneur.
So I started looking for a new adventure with my partner and my first daughter, Kiki, by my side.
Two different sets of friends told me about The Little Gym. They thought it would be the perfect class for Kiki, and might also give me the entrepreneurial challenge I needed.

I first took Kiki to The Little Gym Amsterdam when she was seven months old. In just one hour, I realized that my daughter was capable of so much more than I had imagined. It was so wonderful, in fact, that I started talking to The Little Gym Europe about opening a The Little Gym franchise. And in 2014, we took the plunge and opened The Little Gym Haarlem.

Today, we welcome nearly 300 families to The Little Gym Haarlem each week, helping them to have that special experience that Kiki and I shared all those years ago. And that my youngest daughter, Lilou and I now share as well. We pride ourselves on giving parents and children of all ages an hour of special time each week. A chance for fun, relaxation, bonding and learning away from the distractions of the outside world. Some parents tell us that they learn more about their children in that one hour than they do all week. That’s because we create a place where every child can be him or herself. We nurture and challenge them, give them the courage to step outside their comfort zone, build their confidence, and make them stronger in every way. Each child is different – they have weak points and strong points. We love all those points. And we get that love back ten- fold from the children. Sometimes they run in, jump up and hug their instructors so tight that it feels like they’ll never let go.

One mother told us that her daughter asks every night ‘is today a little gym day?’ On the night before class one week, she dressed her daughter in pyjamas and put her to bed. The next morning, she found her daughter asleep in her Gym clothes – fully prepared since midnight, her pyjamas forgotten on the floor.

It’s an incredible privilege to play such a happy, positive role in a child’s life. I’m thankful every day to parents for giving us the opportunity.

The Little Gym Harrogate & The Little Gym Leeds

Kate Henebury

I’ve always been passionate about fitness. As a child I would try every sport that I could get my hands on. I didn’t care if it involved a ball, a stick, a beam or a pair of goggles – I just wanted to do it!

That passion for movement led to a sports fitness degree at university, where I found my second passion – child development – and majored in the impact exercise, or lack of, has on their development.

I stumbled across The Little Gym through an old school friend. It sounded like a dream combination of child development and sport. But I wasn’t convinced that it could be as good as it sounded. So I took my one-year-old daughter, Charlotte, to do a class at every The Little Gym in the UK.  

When I walked in, it was always a wow moment.  I was knocked out by how friendly and colourful each gym was, and how enthusiastic the staff were. The way they made us feel so welcome. It didn’t matter where I went, the facilities were always incredible and the experience was overwhelmingly positive.

It was so different to what I had been used to with Charlotte’s activities. It was purpose built, bright and engaging. The staff were highly qualified in both gymnastics and child development. And the welcome was incredibly warm.

I loved The Little Gym so much – I just wanted to bring it to other Mums. We opened our Harrogate gym in 2011. Today, nearly 700 members come to Harrogate each week. And now, we’re very excited to welcome families to a brand new The Little Gym in Leeds.

It isn’t necessary for children at our gym to be good at sport, or to find fitness easy. We cater to every child as a unique individual. We nurture their abilities, encourage them to be involved, and help them to develop a love for movement without them even realising – they’re just having too much fun to notice!

We have parents that say they never learnt to do a cartwheel, and they always wished they had. They want their children to know what it feels like. The feeling of flying, upside down, feet whipping through the air. It’s a skill you have for life that you can take anywhere – in a field, on the beach – and carry that huge sense of joy with you.

And the children love coming each week. Some of them have little sleep charts at home and they count down how many sleeps it is until they get to come back to The Little Gym each week – “One more sleep, Mummy!”.

One of the reasons they love our classes is down to how imaginative our instructors are. Instead of climbing onto the vault and jumping off, the children are climbing a mountain and jumping across a swamp full of crocodiles. Instead of walking the beam, they’re walking the plank with Peter Pan on a mission to save Wendy.

We see children coming out of the gym after class holding imaginary things in their hands after pretending to collect feathers in the gym, and running over to their Mums and Dads saying “Look, Mummy, I have lots of beautiful feathers”.

And we love the role our gym plays in the community. Our parents revel in the chance to have a break for an hour, grab a cup of coffee, have a chat or get some work done – all while their kids are safe and happy in the gym. It is just pure parent down time, a bit of space to relax in a really warm, friendly environment.

We are excited to bring The Little Gym to parents and children in Leeds. We look forward to seeing you in the gym!

The Little Gym Malmö

Malin Ralman & Sébastien Garcia

One of our friends saw an ad for The Little Gym about 11 years ago, and she couldn’t wait to excitedly wave it in our faces. She was convinced she had found our family’s future. And… she turned out to be right!

We had just moved back to Sweden after many years working across Europe. We had loved working abroad, but it was time to bring our young family home. My husband, Sebastian, was a sports teacher, and he always looked for jobs where he could be active and teach sport. The Little Gym sounded perfect.

We went to The Little Gym Stockholm, and we thought it was amazing! It was colourful, and bright, and so welcoming. You could watch the children running around the gym, laughing and high-fiving their teachers. We just thought ‘Wow, this is where we want our children to be!’.

It was perfect for our little family. Sebastian could build a business around sport, and I loved running businesses. We could create something together and build a legacy for our family and the children of Malmo.

So we did it! In August 2006 we opened The Little Gym Malmo franchise. Today, nearly 600 members crawl, walk, run and somersault around our gym each week. And we make their happiness and development our priority. There is no pressure, no expectation – we believe having fun and learning at your own pace is definitely the best way to learn.

Kids really feel at home in our gym, and we love that they feel part of our Gym family. They run into the Gym with smiles on their faces, invite our teachers to their birthday parties, and they even go home and pretend that they are cartwheeling in their living rooms with our teachers.

And parents tell us that we are the happiest part of winter. Our bright colours, fun classes, smiling instructors -- and the joy of seeing their children running free, enjoying themselves while they learn in the gym. They come and meet up with friends, have a coffee and relax, or they just take advantage of an hour to go shopping. We are so proud that we can give parents a break too – that moment of freedom that is sometimes so hard to find in our busy lives.

Ultimately, we feel so lucky to see so many children grow at our gym, from babies to teenagers – we even have teachers here that used to be members with us 10 years ago. Thank you for the opportunity to spend an hour with your children’s smiles each week -- it is a privilege!

The Little Gym Uccle, The Little Gym Wezembeek & The Little Gym Wavre

Pierre Follebouckt

My career at The Little Gym started in a very small way – as a part-time instructor at The Little Gym Wezembeek. At first, it was just a Saturday job to earn money while studying primary school teaching. But really, it was so much more than that.

Saturday quickly became my favourite day of the week. The smiles, laughter and fun were contagious. Helping timid kids build up the courage to walk, jump and eventually cartwheel on the high beam, and seeing the look of pride on parents’ faces as they watched. It was just unbeatable.

When a full-time instructor job became available, I jumped at the chance, and after a couple of years I stepped up to manage and run the gym.

But that still wasn’t enough. I wanted a The Little Gym to call my own. And when I had one, it still wasn’t enough. I wanted to bring more fun to more families in more cities.

So today, I am the guy that went from running birthday parties to owning three The Little Gym franchises!

The Little Gym Europe granted me the franchise for The Little Gym Uccle, my first The Little Gym, in 2007. What a roller coaster – I had the franchise, I was young and entrepreneurial, and I wanted to make a difference. But where to start?  

My father gave me some sage advice “Surround yourself with smart, good people that have complementary talents. Join forces and build The Little Gym Uccle together.”

The stars aligned at a friend’s wedding that same year. I was best man along with two old school friends. We realised it wasn’t just the bride and groom that were a great match. We were too! So we started an adventure to open The Little Gym Uccle together.

The Little Gym Uccle opened in January 2011. In 2012, we took ownership of The Little Gym Wezembeek. And in 2016, we were joined by a The Little Gym parent, Fred, to take on The Little Gym Wavre.

Today, nearly 1,500 children join our teams in Wezembeek, Wavre and Uccle – that’s a lot of smiles, high fives and proud moments!

Our children are in our lives for such a short time before they fly the nest. I want to give parents an opportunity to lose themselves in their children. A moment to step off the roller coaster of life and laugh, learn and grow together.

Our instructors are talented teachers, but they are so much more than just teachers. They care for the children like a favourite uncle or aunt – always happy to see them, no judgement or conditions, and committed to helping them succeed on their journey.

I’m passionate about helping our teams open and run gyms across Europe. So passionate that I also work as a business advisor for The Little Gym of Europe – helping teams offer great classes and make the same positive difference to children and families that we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy.

What still amazes me today is our ability to put a smile on every face - be it the parents or the children that enjoy our quality program. When we hear the excited shrills/screams of the children before they even set foot in the lobby, rushing in with flushed cheeks and ready to greet the team with the biggest high five ever, we realise to what extend we change their lives. We enjoy chatting with the parents and hearing how their kids keep asking ‘Is today a The Little Gym day?’.  

We are incredibly thankful for the privilege. And we look forward to seeing you in the gym soon!

The Little Gym Waterloo

Martin Rogie

My daughter, Maja, first joined The Little Gym when she was just three. We went to The Little Gym Wavre with one of her little friends, and we were blown away.

The quality of the classes, the strength of the curriculum and the wonderful opportunity it gave me to spend a special hour with my little girl – I had never experienced anything like it before.

And the effect on Maja was amazing. She loved the classes, made friends quickly, her confidence blossomed, and she was so proud of her new skills.

At the time, I was working in the corporate world. But I had spent years knowing there was something more in my future. I even had a list.

First on the list was being my own boss. Secondly, I wanted to feel like I was making a real difference. And thirdly, I wanted to use the skills I’d developed during my long corporate career.

I had looked at becoming a teacher, and I was involved in scouting. I knew that I wanted to work with children, but I wasn’t sure how to do that while being my own boss.

That visit to The Little Gym changed my life, and Maja’s too. Soon after, we received an email from The Little Gym looking for new owners. It was the chance I had been looking for. The Little Gym ticked every box on my list.

So I threw off my suit and tie, and started going to work barefoot after taking ownership of The Little Gym Waterloo franchise in 2013.

Waterloo was the very first The Little Gym in Europe, and thousands of children have laughed, jumped, cartwheeled and grown in its gym over the last 13 years.

Today, nearly 400 children and their families visit our gym each week. That’s 400 high fives, 400 excited smiles as they run through the door, and lots of happy hugs as they jump on their teachers.

While the kids are having fun, my team of instructors is doing a very serious job. They are giving these children a set of keys, keys that will help them for the rest of their lives. Life skills that they will be able to bring out when they need them – at school, at home, at sport and at work.

My team nurtures every unique child in our gym as an individual in our non-competitive environment. We focus on building their confidence, their capability and their feeling of success – all without having to be judged as the best.

Parents tell us that their children get excited every time they drive past the gym, demanding and begging to come in even if it isn’t class day.

And parents tell us that they also love the special hour with their child in our gym – the opportunity to focus without distraction, truly bond, learn more about their children, and see them blossom.

Our wonderful team of instructors in Waterloo make all the difference. They are The Little Gym Waterloo – with a smile each single day, every day of the year for every child and family.

The Little Gym Westfield

Monica Pastor

I first came in contact with The Little Gym when I started taking my two daughters to The Little Gym Wandsworth. I had taken a break from my finance job and I tried every activity I could to find the best fit for the girls.

My youngest was very shy at that time and we also wanted to work on her balance. Finding The Little Gym made all the difference. The instructors were so supportive – they really gave us the confidence to persist when my daughter was crying and not willing to join in during the initial weeks. They worked hand-in-hand with me to help her to engage and to build her confidence. Within only two months she was a different child. She relished her hour each week at the Gym. And it was an incredible experience to see her balance improve, her social skills develop, and her confidence grow.

During that same period, I was taking time to rethink my whole professional career. After more than 12 years working in M&A and Private Equity I was ready for a change. I wanted to spend more time with my family, set up my own business, do something that made a difference and contribute to a better world.

I looked into different options, but when week after week I saw and understood the impact that The Little Gym program and team were making in every child, it became clear to me that this was my dream. I wanted to open my own The Little Gym and run a business that not only could be financially viable but that would also make a difference.

That is how I opened The Little Gym Westfield franchise in 2008. Today, I feel incredibly privileged to help more than 800 children every week have fun building physical skills, social skills and confidence.

I am very proud of the amazing team we have at The Little Gym Westfield. Every team member cares deeply for the children and works hard to make sure they improve their skills. We pride ourselves on knowing our little members so well that our instructors can tell if they’re having a good day, a bad day, want their hand held, or just want independence. Each child is unique, and it’s our job to understand and nurture every single one.

One day a very excited four-year-old who ‘needed to show us something amazing’ sat down and spun on her bottom. We gasped in amazement – "Wow, amazing balance!", to which the other children very seriously responded “there are strict rules for spinning on your bottom, you know”.

We’ve also recently been told that bad breath is grounds for expulsion. We said to a child “We haven't seen you for ages, where have you been?!" to which the child replied "I couldn't come to gymnastics for a long time because I had bad breath” ... he probably meant health ...

Thanks for the laughs, little members, and thank you parents for letting us be part of your children’s incredible life journey.

The Little Gym Camberley

Simon Green

My journey with The Little Gym started when my son, Logan, was just five months old. My wife had booked a class at The Little Gym Hampton Hill. I thought I’d just be taking my son to a music class for babies – a bare room filled with a bunch of slightly uncomfortable Mums and Dads clapping and singing the usual nursery rhymes.

The Little Gym couldn’t have been more different. What I saw blew my mind. There was sophisticated gym equipment, bright colourful walls, really inspiring staff that were super engaged, and a room full of smiling parents. I fell in love instantly! And some of those smiling parents have become lifelong friends.

When my son was three, he started going into classes by himself. But I missed the buzz of being in the room. I decided I wanted to be back in the gym with the kids and instructors, and I looked into how I could become a part of The Little Gym.

Within weeks, I started training as an instructor. I started teaching at The Little Gym Hampton Hill in 2010, and I loved being an instructor so much that I decided to open my own gym and bring The Little Gym experience to Surrey.

The Little Gym Camberley opened in 2013 – I still remember the terrifying, exciting moment when we opened the doors and people stating rushing in. Today, nearly 500 children come through our doors each week. And I absolutely love my job!

At Camberley, kids come first. And I believe that means teaching confidence first. If you teach confidence first, then the rest will follow. That’s why we’re a non-competitive gym. I am more passionate about this approach every day as I see, first hand, the difference it makes to the growth and development of our little members. And parents see it too, which is why more than 80 per cent of our members come back term after term after term.

We think parents are pretty important too. We do everything we can to make our parents feel at home. I’ve had customers come up to me and describe our gym as their special place. They become part of our family, and they tell me that they feel a sense of ownership for our gym – nothing could make me prouder than sharing The Little Gym Camberley with them.

Our team makes all the difference – they care deeply about their members. One of my proudest moments in the gym was seeing our lead instructor, Natalie, crying after her Aerials class finished their Show Week performance. She was so proud of her Aerials – all their hard work had paid off, they had given an incredible performance, and they were all so proud. It brought tears and grins all around from both parents and instructors.

We are very lucky to work with children – it’s a laugh a minute. Last Xmas, I was dressed in a big Olaf costume for our free member’s Xmas party. Some kids were in quiet awe when they saw Olaf, and some were overexcited and screaming ‘Olaf, Olaf’. But one little girl, in a moment of madness, shouted ‘Rip its head off!!!’. The tiny tot ran at me with an amazing rugby tackle, toppled me over, and all the kids piled on top while the parents laughed hysterically. Now that’s a good day at the office!

We love our extended family of instructors, parents and children at The Little Gym Camberley. And we feel privileged to play a part in boosting the confidence and development of our little members.

The Little Gym Cobham

Glynis Sutherland

My eldest son, Scott, was a super active and energetic little boy. We moved to a new school, and I was looking for activities that would help him to burn some energy. One of the mums at school had worked in the Netherlands, and she recommended a brilliant programme there called The Little Gym. She was glowing when she talked about the way her children had fun and let off steam while learning listening skills, physical skills, teamwork and much more. It sounded amazing.

We were thrilled to find a The Little Gym not far from where we lived. We arranged a trial for our two sons, Robin and Scott, when they were three and five years old. We were “wowed” as soon as we walked through the door. The staff were eagerly waiting, and they welcomed us by name. They guided the children into their classes and paid them incredible personal attention. The children had an absolute blast while we had a cup of coffee and watched them having fun. There were grins all around, and we were hooked!

I really loved that our boys had no idea that they were learning so much. The Little Gym’s curriculum is incredibly sophisticated, but subtle at the same time. They weren’t just learning gymnastics, they were learning how to follow instructions, how to listen, how to work in a team and even how to count. We noticed a difference almost immediately – our kids were more engaged, listened better, and they were physically stronger. Their teachers noticed it too.

The boys’ confidence just blossomed. Our youngest child, as with a lot of children, was quite shy, had separation anxiety and was wary of leaving my side. The Little Gym instructors were brilliantly supportive. I was so impressed with how they were able to ease him quickly into participating in the class. He had taken plenty of other classes – tennis, football, music and more – but not a single one tapped into him as a unique individual like The Little Gym did. It really helped my little man blossom into the confident, self-assured boy he is today.

The gym was so welcoming, and the staff so warm and friendly that it became, in a way, an extension of our family. It was a wonderful thing to become part of the gym family, meet new people, make friends, and have a new social hub.

After experiencing The Little Gym, we thought ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be great to give other families and children this experience’. We had owned our own business in South Africa, and thought ‘Let’s do it!’. And so began our journey as owners of The Little Gym Cobham.

At The Little Gym Cobham, we really care about delivering a five star experience for the whole family. We want to build the confidence of our young members while developing transferable skills that can equip them for all areas of life – whether it be other sports, drama, learning to listen and take instructions at school, or share and work in teams. We want to enhance these skills through their whole journey from pushchair to nursery, nursery to primary school, and primary school to secondary school. But we have one rule – it must be fun!!

We are excited to provide a warm, welcoming environment where parents can chill out, Mums and Dads can meet up, have a coffee and make new friends – all while their children learn and laugh.

Next time you come in, let us know how you like your coffee… and feel free to see if we remember next time! See you in the gym soon.

The Little Gym Hampton & Teddington

Somesh Mitra

I was an engineer before I discovered The Little Gym. I had 20 years’ experience in the telecommunications and oil and gas industries under my belt. I loved being an engineer, but I was ready for a change.

I had fallen out of love with the corporate world. My heart wasn’t in it anymore and I just wanted to do my own thing.

My friends will tell you that I’ve always been a bit rebellious. And the time was right for my own personal rebellion! I wanted to make a positive difference in the world – I just needed to figure out how.

Our daughter, Malini, was very timid and avoided trying anything new. She also struggled with balance and coordination. We sensed that poor physical confidence was holding her back, and we started to look for activities that would help.

The Little Gym had been recommended to us by a friend, and we arranged an introductory visit to The Little Gym The Hague when Malini was 10 months old.
As soon as we arrived, we knew The Little Gym was different. They were warm, welcoming, and genuinely interested in helping us. The gym itself was clean, colourful, and the professional equipment really took us by surprise.

When we went to classes, we thought ‘Wow… this is something special’. We’d never seen a class that was so positive, welcoming and fun, yet so serious about child development – one of our passions.

My wife and I were already very serious about child development. We were very passionate, and spent our evenings researching neurological development, expression, education and parenting.
The Little Gym was perfectly aligned with our philosophy on child development – the importance of encouraging children to try new things, get them moving, celebrate their unique successes, build courage, and boost their confidence.

So, in June 2014, my wife and I bought the already established The Little Gym Hampton and Teddington franchise, one of the first The Little Gym locations to open in the UK. That was the end of corporate life for me!

Today, more than 400 members attend our gym every week. We teach them gymnastics, but more importantly we teach life skills. Simple things which aren’t that simple if you are two, three, four or five – like learning to listen, take turns, share and make friends.

We can see the huge difference The Little Gym has made in Malini’s little life already. She is more courageous, confident, and physically capable at three years of age than we ever expected. And she’s surprisingly sporty – even taking on ice skating… not easy at three!

Parents tell us they see a difference in their children after they join our Gym. They’re more attentive, diligent, and better listeners at school. Their confidence and courage grow, whether they are naturally sporty or not.
And our little members really feel like they own the Gym.

Just the other day, I was behind the reception desk and a little girl ran up and said ‘Who are you? What are you doing in my Gym?’. I’m not usually in the gym that time of day, and she was protecting her Gym from the invader – me! Her mother and I burst out laughing.
Just another day in the office, and I count my blessings every day.

The Little Gym Krakow

Oliwia & Graham Reece

The first time we took our son, Léon to The Little Gym, Oliwia cried all the way home. Léon was eight months old at the time. Oliwia’s tears were from joy and a little sadness.

She was happy from spending an incredible hour bonding with Léon in the gym. And disappointed because she felt like we’d missed out by not joining classes with our son sooner.

We first visited The Little Gym in Harrogate, UK, during a trip to Graham’s parents. It was warm, welcoming, bright, high quality, professional... and so much fun! We smiled so much that our cheeks hurt.

We fell in love with The Little Gym after that first visit, and we took Léon back every time we visited Graham’s parents….and still do.

After more than 20 years working as a civil engineer and developer, Graham had been made redundant. We were looking for the ‘What’s next?’ in our lives.

We knew that whatever we did, we wanted to do it together, as a family. And having a child had affected us profoundly. We wanted to do something that helped new parents, that could make a difference to other children, and help other families.

With almost perfect timing, we got an email from The Little Gym Harrogate. The Little Gym Europe was looking for passionate people to open gyms in Europe. We thought ‘This is perfect!’.

In November 2012, we opened The Little Gym Krakow. Today, 400 children crawl, run, cartwheel and somersault around our gym each week.

We’ve made it our mission to make every child in our gym feel welcome, loved, nurtured and happy.

We strive to build children’s physical strength and motor skills, improve their balance and coordination, develop social skills and teamwork, and give them the courage to try new things.

We also give parents a warm, welcoming and positive place to bond with their children. The chance to shut out the rest of the world for that precious time in the week. A chance to explore together, laugh and see what their children are truly capable of.

We see children arrive in our gym timid and shy, struggling to adapt to preschool or to make friends. And in just a couple of months, we see them blossom like flowers in our positive and accepting environment.

Children that can’t engage and pay attention suddenly start participating, engaging with our instructors and the children around them, listening, and learning to focus.

And parents tell us they turn around to find their children walking on fences, swinging confidently on bars in the park, and doing adventurous things they never imagined possible.

We even hear of grandparents telling their children what a difference ‘those classes’ are making to their grandchildren – an opportunity their own children never had.

And we’re certainly not going to argue with the grandparents!

We consider ourselves so lucky to have stumbled across The Little Gym. And we consider it our duty and an incredible privilege to share that experience with the children and families of Krakow.

The Little Gym Moscow: Oktyabrskoe Polye

Andrey Palutin

I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and been passionate about customer service. I’ve spent my career telling organisations how to offer the very best customer service. But I wanted to find an opportunity to build my own business, have my own customers, and offer them an incredible experience. And with The Little Gym, I found it.

My friend, Marina, was living in America, and I would always ask her what products and services she loved that we didn’t have in Russia. One day, she told me about The Little Gym. And I wouldn’t have believed that day would end up changing my life!

Marina’s daughter went to The Little Gym in Houston, Texas. She couldn’t stop talking about how much her daughter loved the classes, and how much she loved the company. So, with ‘New York, New York’ ringing in my ears, I hopped on a plane and ended up at The Little Gym in Manhattan.

I liked everything about The Little Gym from the first moment I saw it. The smiles on the children’s faces, the colourful and clean facility, and the teachers – everyone was so friendly and caring.

I watched the classes as I enjoyed my coffee in the lobby, and the programme was a revelation. I could see The Little Gym making a difference in front of my eyes. Children were learning to love movement and sport, they were being nurtured by their teachers, and they were having great fun.

Children are like rockets – the smallest change in their trajectory at the point of take-off can have a huge positive impact in their flight path… or life path! And at The Little Gym, I could see that difference as they confidently ran out of the gym at the end of their class. This programme was setting them up for a confident, healthy life – and I loved it.

The Little Gym Moscow was born that day in Manhattan, while I enjoyed that coffee surrounded by the smiles of children and their families. All I could think was that I wanted families in Moscow to experience this new approach to children’s activities.

And the approach really is unique. Every child is nurtured, accepted and encouraged to succeed. The classes are about much more than gymnastics – a place where children not only learn to love regular exercise, but also build their confidence and courage, and learn important social and emotional skills.

So I took the plunge and started my journey to open The Little Gym Moscow franchise.  My little girl was born during our journey to open The Little Gym Moscow, and she is our very first customer.   

We can’t wait to welcome other children from all over Moscow to our Gym. We’re looking forward to making your children’s eyes sparkle with fitness, fun and confidence while you enjoy that coffee in our lobby!

The Little Gym Wandsworth & Fulham

Alastair Kendall

My parents nurtured a passion for sport in me from a young age. And like father like son, I encouraged my children, Emma and James, to be active from tiny tots. Emma and James grew to be passionate about gymnastics, and I thank them now for the introduction!

About 15 years ago, as a stockbroker in the City, I decided that the balance in my life (with two young kids) was wrong. So I left the City and started to look for a new adventure. My experience with Emma and James made me realise what an incredible boost physical activity at a young age could have on children’s all-round development.

And my new passion was born. I wanted to create a warm and caring space that gave other parents a smart, easy way to boost their kid’s self-esteem, social skills, and physical and intellectual development through sport.

As luck would have it, my wife, Anne, came across The Little Gym. We immediately knew this was the business we had been looking for. Kids were taught in small groups, they had lots of one-on-one attention from coaches, the kids were grinning like crazy, and our hearts just melted. So, I threw in my day job (a scary moment!) and started my new adventure with The Little Gym.

When we laid our Big Red Mat – the heart of any The Little Gym – we almost burst with excitement knowing that dozens of little feet would soon be bouncing on it. That was 12 years ago. Today, more than 650 kids of all ages and abilities come through our doors each week. They run (or crawl!) around, let off steam, learn new tricks, make friends, laugh (a LOT!), and discover what we hope will be a lifelong love of sport. Whatever their level, we celebrate their individual achievements. And I love that.

I can’t tell you how amazing it is to see the kids in our classes grow and develop each week. We love to hear stories and get videos from parents showing how our classes are boosting kid’s happiness and development at school and home. We hear again and again that our song, “It’s time to…” is also helping kids to get things done at home – much to Mum and Dad’s relief!

As a former stay at home Dad, I love how comfortable Dads and Granddads are in our gym. On Saturdays, in particular, our gym has a totally different atmosphere to other days. Let’s just say, there can be a little more Dad-led risk taking in our parent and child classes on a Saturday morning!

The day a child turned up to his parent/child class with a chauffeur (because the nanny was sick and Dad/Mum couldn’t bring him) was one of our funniest moments in the gym. The chauffeur had no idea that he was expected to go into the parent/child class. He was quite self-conscious, but he ended up having a great time in the class – and I was very proud of our team for making sure that he was comfortable and had fun.

Speaking of our coaches, they make the gym what it is. At last count, our five permanent staff members have been with us for six years on average. Every day, kids run in, speed over to their favourite coach, and give them a hug or high five. It’s brilliant to watch.

I’m still incredibly passionate about the role that being active plays in a child’s life. And we feel very privileged that, over the last 12 years, more than 8,000 members have let us play a part in their children’s development.

The Little Gym Wavre

Frederic Woitrin

I first brought my son, Simon, to The Little Gym when he was just 18 months old. He was so happy and engaged in class, and my wife and I loved the special one-on-one time with him. But I never would have believed, back then, that five years later I would own The Little Gym Wavre!

At the time, I was travelling between 134 countries training teams for an international company. I spent too much time on planes, missed my children, and time at home was precious. My one hour of uninterrupted fun with Simon at The Little Gym Wavre was priceless.

One day I spoke with Pierre, the owner of The Little Gym Uccle, and told him that I was impressed with what he had created for members. Not long afterwards, Pierre contacted me with an offer. Would I like to take on The Little Gym Wavre franchise?

The answer was yes! I had always wanted to start my own business. And after spending seven years as a scout leader, the idea of having a job where I was making a difference to children’s lives every day – well, it was like a dream come true!

That was one year ago, and today you will find me at The Little Gym Wavre every day. Nearly 300 children crawl, run, jump and cartwheel around our Gym each week. We see their confidence blossom as they build the courage to walk on the beam, reach out and make new friends, and share big smiles with their parents.

Parents tell us we are making a big difference in their children’s lives. They tell us about shy five year olds that are opening up and making friends. Or children that were scared to try new things, and now confidently swing on the high bar or balance on the high beam.

They also tell us that they love being a part of The Little Gym Wavre community – that they, too, are having fun meeting up with other parents, sharing a cup of coffee, and making friends. My team and I are passionate about The Little Gym Wavre. Helping children develop life skills that will be with them forever, making children and parents smile, and knowing you’ve made a difference – there’s just no better job.

The Little Gym Windsor

Andi Page and Matina Macintyre

Matina finds it almost impossible to keep her feet on the ground. Whether on the beach or a London street, she’s always only two steps away from a cartwheel. But it was that passion for gymnastics that led us both to The Little Gym – a decision that has changed our lives, and the lives of our families.

An ex-gymnast herself, Matina’s children have been members of The Little Gym since they were babies. Matina noticed that her children glowed after each class, and the difference it made to them physically, socially and emotionally was amazing. Today, they are often seen happily teaching children to cartwheel in the school playground.

Andi, passionate about child development and any kind of sport – from paragliding to scuba diving –  fell in love with The Little Gym straight away. Andi was gobsmacked by the programme’s fun, nurturing approach to developing the whole child after her two children also joined The Little Gym. You get two steps in the door at Andi’s house and at least one child will run up saying ‘come and see my somersault!’.

And now we have four children that can't resist cartwheeling. Going out as two families and trying to manage all those cartwheels – now, that’s tricky!

It was when we acted as Chair and Vice Chair of our local school’s parent’s association that we discovered how well we work together, feeding off each other’s energy, positivity and a joint passion to make a difference. 

But we wanted to make a difference outside of our school as well. So, we joined forces, got our British Gymnastics coaching qualifications, and started our journey to open The Little Gym Windsor.   

In our gym, we want each child to feel loved and valued, building their self-esteem and confidence on a personal level. We want to build their bodies, their brains, and their social and emotional skills. And by doing that, we will help them build a foundation of skills that will last a life time.

Just as importantly, we want them to have FUN – that’s when they learn best! Throwing on an imaginary cape and feeling their feet fly as they master their first forward roll, cartwheel, somersault or flip. We want them to float on a happy, confident cloud every single time they leave the gym.

We can’t wait to welcome your family to The Little Gym Windsor, and we hope to see your child's eyes sparkling with fun and confidence in our gym soon!

The Little Gym Cambridge

Ned Baring

I was a geography teacher before I opened The Little Gym Cambridge. While I love teaching, I made a decision that teaching children in a seated classroom wasn’t for me. I felt restrained, wanting to give my students a richer out-of-classroom learning experience than the curriculum allowed.

I was heavily involved in the Duke of Edinburgh Award through my school, and I had seen first-hand the positive impact that out of classroom learning has on children. I was at a crossroads in life, and wanted to go in one of two directions. Either find a way to bring a new kind of learning to children, or start up a cycling business (my other passion) – which ever I could make happen first!

My sister lives in London, and my nieces attend The Little Gym Westfield. One day I joined them, sat in the foyer with a cup of coffee and watched my nieces in the gym. The girls were grinning from ear to ear – they loved it! And I could see why. They were given individual attention by enthusiastic instructors, there was a clear learning path, and – something that I’d never seen before – they were given the freedom to be themselves.
I was hooked. I thought it was a fantastic way to teach any child, whatever their stage of development and ability, to love sport and movement, work together in teams, embrace their creativity, develop life skills, and build their confidence as individuals.

I went home to Cambridge, spoke with my wife, and teaching children won out over cycling. We opened The Little Gym Cambridge in 2013 and today nearly 800 children visit our gym each week.
It has been an exciting ride, from the moment our gym equipment arrived and we ripped open the packaging, to the first day we opened our doors. Our first week was amazing. I’ll never forget the looks of excitement on the children’s faces as they saw our equipment for the first time, the grins on my team as they greeted our first visitors, and the looks of combined delight and nervous excitement on the faces of the parents.

The parents told us we lived up to their high expectations, thank goodness! Many of the families that joined us in those first months are still members. They say that the gym is their ‘other’ family space. The warm, friendly place they come to each week to have a break, enjoy a cup of coffee, chat with friends, or just relax knowing that their children are safe and happy.

We have seen so many children grow over the last three years – not just in height, but in confidence. They have blossomed in front of our eyes. And their parents tell us that they can see a difference. We’re very proud to have played even the smallest of roles in boosting the confidence and life skills of so many children. And to be honest, the team and I can’t really call it work. We have so much fun laughing with the children and each other.

If you ever hear us say ‘I’ve found a button’ in the gym, watch out. It’s our code word for spider. Sometimes our team gets so distracted taking care of the children that they forget the code word. Like Megan, who when I said ‘I’ve just found a big button’ replied, ‘oh, give it to me’. She got quite a shock when I did! The children thought it was hilarious, and my team still laughs about it today.

The Little Gym Godalming

Clea Rosenfeld

As a child, my world revolved around ice-skating, dancing and gymnastics. I balanced school and study with cartwheels, leaps and spins, not stopping until I became the French national ice skating champion.

My love of sport was born in those early days, and I have so many happy memories of the joy sport brought to my childhood. For me, that joy did not just come from winning – it came from the feeling. The feeling of spinning, feet flying through the air, my first forward roll, my first cartwheel – nothing can compare!

As an adult, I built a career as a global investor relations executive. Even then I knew that I wanted to work for companies that were making a difference to children. For more than a decade, I worked with paediatric specialist, Shire Pharmaceuticals. My days were spent working with researchers, doctors and pharmacists that were creating drugs to help children breathe for themselves, to walk again, to start growing, and to have better childhoods.

I discovered The Little Gym when my son, Luca, was 18 months old. I knew that I wanted sport to be part of his life, and took him to The Little Gym Hampton. I went to a few classes, and I totally fell in love with the concept.

We stayed for many years, and I can still see Luca’s little face when he was smiling and laughing, and grinning at me through the viewing window. The parent-child classes were such a wonderful bonding experience and I could see my boy progress through each stage of the curriculum. He was learning and having so much fun. It was just absolutely magical!

My son is a teen now, and over the years I’ve seen first-hand how The Little Gym contributed to not just his body, but also his soul. There was no judgement, it was non-competitive, and it focused on developing the ‘whole Luca’, not just his body. I could clearly see his balance, confidence, academic, social and athletic skills being nurtured and enhanced. I loved it.

I’ve always been passionate about children and making a difference to people’s lives. When I decided to become a business owner, I wanted to combine those passions – work with children, contribute to their happiness and development, and support their families.

The Little Gym was the perfect fit, and a little bit of digging revealed that it was a franchise. That’s really the minute that The Little Gym Godalming was born!

I can’t wait to welcome you and your children to The Little Gym Godalming, and to see it full of children that are loved and appreciated by our team, and encouraged to learn through fun. All while their grown-ups relax, chat, work, or even catch forty-winks in our lobby.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

The Little Gym Harpenden

Lindsey Venner

I first came across The Little Gym when my son, Sam, was a baby. My sister was a member at The Little Gym Amsterdam, and Sam joined his cousin’s class whenever we were in town.

I remember our first visit to The Little Gym Amsterdam. The welcome was warm, the teachers were friendly, and it was bright, clean, and very professional. And I was having great fun with Sam.

I enjoyed my job as an Audit Manager at Ernst & Young. But I started daydreaming about having my own business and found myself doodling ‘The Little Gym’ on my notepad.

The Little Gym had captured my imagination. I’ve always loved spending time with children of all ages. And I’d always enjoyed teaching – to the point that my Mum thought that I’d end up a teacher.

I started researching owning a The Little Gym franchise. I wanted to find out more, and met with franchise owners from across the UK. They were overwhelmingly positive about The Little Gym.

And in 2009 it happened! I opened my own business – The Little Gym Harpenden. I remember sitting around my dining table – our office back then – when we announced our opening date by email to interested parents. Our phone rang two minutes later with our first enrolment. We were so excited; I’ll never forget.
Within two weeks, 120 children had joined. Within six months, 300 children had enrolled. And today, more than 600 children crawl, run, cartwheel and somersault around our gym each week.

Seven years on and we regularly hear from parents that our classes make a real difference to their children. We feel so privileged to be allowed the opportunity to contribute to their development.

One mother of twin daughters told us recently that our classes have made a huge difference to the strength and agility of her prematurely born girls.
Another Mum told us that she has to drive a different route to get to the shops. If she drives past our Gym, her baby gets too excited and demands to go to class.

All of these stories make us realise how much the children thrive in our gym. Our classes are positive, fun, nurturing and structured. They see the same happy teacher each week in a friendly, bright and familiar environment. And while they’re having fun, they are becoming stronger, more agile, and building confidence and courage that will last a lifetime.

It doesn’t matter how old they are or whether they are sporty. We make it okay to start at six months or six years, and make children feel good about themselves and what they are doing -- regardless of their level of development or natural affinity for sport.

My favourite is that special time when three year olds move from being in parent and child classes to being on their own. The mums, dads and children are often a bit unsure. But when you see the little boys and girls take those first steps into class, smile and blossom with a new sense of independence – nothing can beat that moment. And we always have a much needed cup of tea on hand for Dad and Mum!

The Little Gym Luxembourg

Stéphanie Vanhove

The first time I went to a The Little Gym, tears came to my eyes. I thought “How can people make a living out of giving parents precious time like this with their children… it must be the best job in the world”.

We had visited The Little Gym Waterloo after a colleague of my best friend’s husband had fallen in love with The Little Gym concept and left his job to open a Gym in Waterloo. Watching that first class really took my breath away and I loved it from the start.

I had been an auditor for six years. While I liked working with numbers, it was people that I really missed – I wanted to be doing something warmer, something more human. The Little Gym appeared on my horizon while I was on maternity leave, and the timing was perfect.

This was back in 2001 – what a terrible time to be opening a business. The Internet bubble had exploded, and no bank would lend me money. My amazing family and friends came to the rescue, and we scraped together what we could to open The Little Gym Luxembourg franchise on scraps of borrowed ‘love money’.

The Little Gym Luxembourg really is a labour of love. We poured our hearts and souls into opening the gym. It was a family adventure – with my two eldest children just babies at the time. And in 2003 we opened our doors.

It is hard to believe it has been 12 years since that crazy, exciting and slightly terrifying day. Thousands of children have crawled, run, cartwheeled, laughed and high-fived around our gym since then. And some parents have been with us for 12 years and through two or three children.

We care deeply for our members – both parents and children. We want parents to come and have a wonderful time with their children, relax in warm and positive surroundings, and look forward to coming to our gym just as much as the children do.

Life is so busy – we want to give parents back that precious one-on-one time with their children.

And we know the children have a great time – some parents tell us they can’t even drive past our Gym without their children begging to come in.

That feedback really makes our day. Our whole mission is the develop children while making them feel great about themselves. We want every single one of the 800 children that come to our Gym each week to leave feeling loved, important, and with a big grin on their face!

One of my favourite member stories comes from little Romy. Romy joined as a 10-month old and is still with us four years later. When she was four years old, her family were at the airport to catch a flight. Romy was proudly wearing her The Little Gym Show Week medal around her neck. When airport security asked her to take it off, she stubbornly refused. Such was her pride that airport security needed to negotiate with a four-year-old!

The Little Gym Sofia

Martin Petrov

I've always felt strongly about making the world a better place. It is how I found myself working in international criminal justice at the United Nations and the International Criminal Courts. Ever since I was a child, I just wanted to make people’s lives better.

Now, I want to make a difference in my homeland, Bulgaria.  I want to help nurture our next generation, to build their confidence, courage, strength and opportunity for lifetime success. And I know that the unique programme at The Little Gym is the best way for me to make that difference.

I discovered The Little Gym four years ago while living in The Hague, the Netherlands, with my daughters, Monica and Martha. We had tried many children’s activities, but nothing had been quite right. Then we discovered The Little Gym – wow!

I still remember the first time we walked in. It was bright and colourful, stimulating and positive. The smiles on the children’s faces, the giggles, the energy – I loved it. I could tell immediately that something special was going on.

We could see a huge difference in our youngest, Martha. She was so energised by the classes, and she was clearly learning life skills, not just gymnastics. She was more considerate of things going on around her, and she was more confident and articulate. We were amazed.

A few years beforehand, I had a personal epiphany that would ultimately change the course of my life.  I had escaped from work to see my eldest daughter’s school play. I felt guilty that I didn’t attend enough of my daughter’s special events at school due to my work schedule, and I was determined to go that day. But my head was still so full of work.

The singing started and my head snapped back to the moment. Tears came to my eyes. Here were 25 four year olds, all different colours and religions, so pure and genuine, all playing together, happy, innocent and living in the moment. I decided right then that I wanted to do work that would help, protect and benefit children. I didn’t know when or how, I just knew that I had a new mission in life!

Then in a surprising twist, my wife discovered that The Little Gym is a franchise. She said “Martin, isn’t this what you were looking for – to make a difference to children?” And, here I am, opening the very first The Little Gym in Bulgaria.

The Little Gym is something special. It goes beyond gymnastics to grow the whole child. Children develop creativity, make friends, learn new languages and develop their confidence, emotions, intellect and bodies in our Gym. The beauty is, they are having so much fun they don’t even realise they are learning.

We are so excited about nurturing and growing the children of Sofia, and we are looking forward to welcoming you and your child to our The Little Gym family!

The Little Gym Warsaw: Wilanow and Powisle

Tom Pozorski & Maja Pozorska

Our daughter, Olivia, was one of the very first children to join The Little Gym Den Haag in the Netherlands. She was turning three years old, and we decided to hold her third birthday party at The Little Gym.

It was bright, colourful, friendly and professional. And we were ‘wowed’ by what our little girl was capable of.

Our tiny little three year old girl was doing forward rolls on the high beam – and loving it!  She was grinning from ear-to-ear, so proud of herself. And that was when we fell in love with The Little Gym.

Back then, we didn’t realise that holding our daughter’s third birthday at The Little Gym would change our lives forever.

But we were so impressed with The Little Gym that Tom left Heineken – where he’d worked for 10 years – and invested a big part of our life savings to bring The Little Gym franchise to families in Poland.

We wanted parents in Poland to experience the quality and professionalism of The Little Gym. And we were excited at the prospect of boosting children’s coordination, balance, confidence, listening skills, and helping them to make friends – all while having great fun.

Our ambition was to not just bring one The Little Gym to Poland, we wanted to help parents all across the country give their children a great start in life. So we talked with The Little Gym Europe, and bought the Master Franchise for Poland.

The Master Franchise means that other people interested in opening a The Little Gym can contact us, and we will help them on their journey to open their own The Little Gym franchise. We love to hear from people that want to bring a The Little Gym to their town.

We have also opened two gyms ourselves in Warsaw – and we spend our days welcoming parents and children to our gyms in Wilanow and Powisle.

In November 2011, we opened The Little Gym Wilanow. Today, nearly 500 children from four months to 11 years of age crawl, walk, run, cartwheel and somersault around our gym in Wilanow each week.

And in January 2016, we opened The Little Gym Powisle. In just three months, we already had nearly 150 members joining us each week.

Parents tell us that they see a very real and positive difference in their children. They are calmer, more confident, physically stronger, and more willing to try new things.

Mums and Dads tell us they love to spend valuable time with their children in the gym, watch them with pride, and see their confidence blossom as they learn new skills and make new friends.

They also tell us that The Little Gym is their home away from home – they feel that they belong to something special.

We love that parents come here to meet their friends, have a cup of coffee, and take advantage of all the benefits our members’ only club provides.

We are so happy to be able to provide parents with a warm, welcoming club that not only builds stronger, more confident children but also promotes a sense of belonging in today’s busy world.

The Little Gym Wemmel

Catherine Guillick

Like many owners at The Little Gym, I started my journey as a The Little Gym parent. We discovered The Little Gym when our daughter was 14 months old. To us, it was a magical place. It was bright and nurturing, and our faces would get sore from smiling during her class.

We quickly decided that this weekly class was important for our daughter’s soul, not just her motor skills. We could see that she wasn’t just learning gymnastics. Her teachers were using gymnastics to stimulate our daughter’s overall development and nurture important life skills.

At the time, I was in the 20th year of a successful career in marketing and advertising. I had been a consultant for some of the biggest blue-chip organisations in the world, such as Procter & Gamble, but The Little Gym brought another opportunity to my doorstep … an opportunity that I couldn’t resist.

The Little Gym tapped into my passion for children, music, fun and innovation. It also fed my desire to make the world a better place for children, and to help them blossom into happy and successful adults.

And the idea for The Little Gym Wemmel was born. We opened The Little Gym Wemmel franchise in April 2017. Within just two months we had hundreds of children grinning in our classes, and a host of grown-ups – parents who shared a mutual desire to support their children’s development – sharing coffee in our lobby.

At The Little Gym Wemmel, we use gymnastics as a very clever tool to develop the whole child. We complement what children learn academically at school by helping children to develop important life skills such as adaptability, courage, confidence, and creativity. Importantly, we help children learn how to trust themselves.

It’s not easy to get those critical life skills to stick in the brains of children. That’s where our fun and creative approach to learning is so powerful. We know that children learn best when they’re having fun. When children leave our classes with big smiles and sparkling eyes, we know that that they are having fun learning all those life skills that will help them blossom as individuals.

We have a family of three children coming to our gym, and the mother told me the other day, “I always need to ask two or three times for my kids to put on their shoes. Except when I say that we are going to The Little Gym. Then they are on in a flash!” Making that positive difference to children and their parents… that really is my dream job. And I consider myself so lucky to have this wonderful opportunity to offer children and their families a second home at The Little Gym Wemmel.