There are not many fitness classes open to newborns.
But Lynette Colvin aims to change all that with Zumbini, a Zumba class for children aged four or younger.
“Sometimes it turns out to be more of a workout for the parents,” she admitted with a laugh. “Parents take the class with their child and move around with them.”
In the class, children sing, dance and play with instruments (or their parents do it for them).
Zumbini not only aims to encourage fitness, but also to develop cognitive and social skills.
Ms Colvin was teaching Zumba to adults last year, when she heard about Zumbini.
“I took a course in teaching it in Atlanta,” she said. “When I went I didn’t really know what it was all about. I thought parents would just stop in to do some exercise with their children and leave.”
When she found out Zumbini was actually a six-12 week programme she wondered what she’d gotten herself into.
“But the more I learnt the more I liked it,” she said.
When she started teaching Zumbini in May, she loved seeing the children develop and grow.
“When we started I had one 2-year-old, who didn’t want to give up her instruments at the end of the class,” Ms Colvin said. “By the end of the term, she happily handed them over. She knew what to do. It was great to see that progress.”
Zumbini participants receive a book, plush toy and a set of CDs.
The music is all original with a Latin beat. Ms Colvin knows the words to every song on all four of the programme’s albums.
“I’m a bit of a child myself,” she laughed.
One of the class favourites is the song Jumping Like A Kangaroo.
“Some of the children bounce off the walls when they hear that song,” Ms Colvin said.
She added that Zumbini brings shy children out of themselves and tires out the rambunctious ones.
“It is a 45-minute session,” she said. “When the children get home they are just zonked out. It’s like a party for them every weekend.”
Her hope is that the programme encourages bonding between parents and children.
“I think a lot of parents are very busy today,” she said. “At home, a lot of times you’re trying to do something while the children want your attention.
“This is 45 minutes of uninterrupted time together.”
She thinks that extra quality time might lead children to show more respect for their parents later on.
“That might lead the children to become more productive citizens when they grow up,” she said.
Her own daughter Lynet is 29 and about to get married.
“When she was little I don’t remember having a lot of classes like this,” she said. “Maybe it was just the space I was in. I used to take her with me when I went to singing gigs.”
Singing is one of Ms Colvin’s passions.
“I probably sing in my sleep,” she said.
She sang at the St George’s Club for ten years starting in 2000, but stopped a few years ago.
Her fitness journey started with a Jazzercise class seven years ago.
“I was looking for something to do with myself,” she said. In her working life, she’s a dental hygienist.
“I found I had a talent for Jazzercise. But when the instructor asked if I wanted to teach it myself, my mouth said ‘yes’ while my head said ‘no way’. I thought I didn’t have the body to teach.”
She’s since gotten over those fears.
“I think there is an exercise class for everyone,” she said. “You don’t have to match the stereotypical fitness student.”
Next year she plans to teach Zumba classes to senior citizens with mobility issues.
In the meantime, Ms Colvin will be offering a Zumbini demo session on Saturday from 10.30am to 11.15am at 20 Union Street, Hamilton, upstairs.
The class will kick off properly on Saturday, September 16 and run every Saturday until November 4 from 10.30am to 11.15am.
The eight-week course is $200. Discounts are available for parents with more than one child in the class.
• To attend the class visit zumbini.com and click on “demo class”. For more information call 734-5673 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org