Definition: Educational Gymnastics is a component of an elementary physical education curriculum that emphasizes learning body management skills and problem solving through applying the movement framework. Student learning is individualized and assessment is based on task accomplishments demonstrating creativity, effort and skill development.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF GYM-THING AND WHITTLE IN THE U.S.A.
It was in the early 1960’s when Mr. Whittle, from England, introduced a line of European elementary
physical education equipment to North America. The Whittle equipment consists of different size
trestles, ladders and attachments that allow children to explore climbing and solve challenges in
At about the same time Siegfried Gerstung came from Germany (1964) and offered his method of
“Bewegungs-Erziehung” (Movement Education) to the schools in the Baltimore, Maryland area.
The need for equipment encouraged him to build gym benches, gym boxes, balance beams, gym
ladders and other “Gym-Things” in his garage. A few years later he incorporated “Gym-Thing, Inc.”,
a manufacturing company, to produce and sell products needed for the Gerstung program.
During Mr. Gerstung’ s marketing efforts he connected with the J.L. Hammett Company, the
U.S. distributor for Whittle. This Massachusetts based school supply house hired Mr. Gerstung
to promote Movement Education on Whittle and Gym-Thing equipment, through workshops and
Expensive importing of a product from England made a cost effective distribution difficult. The
Canadian Company “Challenger” was given the rights of producing this line of Whittle equipment.
Both product lines, Gerstung/Gym-Thing and Whittle, were sold by the J.L. Hammett Company and
instructors were trained by Siegfried Gerstung.
In the early 1970’s Siegfried Gerstung bought the Whittle manufacturing operation of Challenger,
brought the production machinery to Baltimore and added a metal manufacturing department to the
existing wood working and resilient flooring operation. Since then Mr. Gerstung designed numerous
additional attachments to the Whittle line. Enhanced by the original Gym-Thing products, the entire
line of equipment is known today as Gerstung Movement Education equipment.
As a result of participating in an educational gymnastic lesson or unit a student will:
- Increase body coordination.
- Develop health related fitness components; strength, strength endurance, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance.
- Increase body and spatial awareness.
- Develop and perform a sequence of movements.
- Experience success through skill acquisition.
- Learn to set goals.
- Learn to cooperate with others to accomplish a task
- Learn to gain and maintain static and dynamic balances using different body parts, shapes and bases of support.
- Learn the skills and knowledge to be able to rotate the body on a vertical, horizontal and transverse axis.
- Learn to transfer weight from one body part to another, using traveling movements, rolling, and flight movements.
- Learn to suspend their body using hanging movements and shapes.
- Demonstrate traveling, rotation, hanging and balance movements and shapes using different pieces of equipment.
- Perform rotation, balance, hanging and traveling movements and shapes individually and in relationship to others.