InterviewAn Interview With Trevor Barnett, CEO Power Tots, Inc.

Power Tots, a progressive movement company based in the Washington, D.C. metro area, helps children from the age of 12 months to 12 years-old develop physically, mentally, and emotionally while equipping them with healthy habits, a positive attitude, and a good outlook on life from an early age. To learn more about Power Tots, we conducted an interview with Trevor Barnett, CEO of Power Tots.

Trevor Barnett, CEO Power Tots, Inc.

1. Can you tell us more about Power Tots?

Power Tots has been in business for over 30 years and we are based in the Washington, DC area.  Today we are serving over 60 locations in DC, Virginia and Maryland and we continue to grow our business in these areas while also exploring opportunities for growth beyond the greater DC market.  We are a company focused on the power that movement can have on early childhood development and we do this through gymnastics, dance and yoga programs that incorporate age-appropriate cognitive skills to further enhance development mentally, physically, socially and emotionally.

2. What age ranges do you accept? And, how can you help in developing them physically, mentally, and emotionally?

Our curriculum is designed for children between the ages of 12 months and 12 years old so we accept any and all children in that age range.  Our programs incorporate age-appropriate cognitive skills to further enhance development mentally, physically, socially and emotionally.  It is important to remember that by age 6, 90% of brain development has occurred.  Studies show that facts and information repeated while performing movement or exercising are better retained.  Our programs focus on increasing strength, balance, coordination, agility and flexibility through gymnastics, dance or yoga.  These early years are critical for overall motor skill development. We do this all in a positive environment that offers constant encouragement and support, providing an example and opportunity for children to exhibit the same.

3. What kind of classes do you offer?

We offer classes with age-based curriculum in gymnastics, dance and yoga.  We also offer smaller classes tailored towards students requiring focused attention, such as children with Down Syndrome or Autism.

4. Where do you conduct your classes and activities?

We run most of our programs at daycare centers, schools and at aftercare programs where the child is already enrolled and Power Tots is an enrichment offering to the children in their enrolled locations.  We also run a handful of programs at public locations in Washington, DC and Maryland where a child does not need to be enrolled.  We are seeing more and more demand for additional public locations so a studio or two of our own in Washington, DC may not be far on the horizon.

5. Why do you think that such activities should start from a very young age?

This question really gets right down to the science of our focus and brings me back to my earlier comment about brain development.  Such a significant portion of brain development occurs before the age of 6.  The power of movement helps stimulate the hippocampus, the learning memory center of the brain, and also increases the synaptic connections in the brain for creating memories as well as motion and movement patterns and function.  So we strongly believe that developing those fine and gross motor skills congruently is really working to help develop a well-rounded child with a brain and body ready for learning.

6. What skills can the child gain from your activities?

The most important skills a child will take away from our programs are a combination of the physical, social and emotional.  A child will see enhancement in gross and fine motor skills, an increase in overall awareness of body in space, an increase in cardiovascular strength, our activities aid in the support of memory and neural plasticity, and most importantly, a child will learn important skills such as listening, following direction, concentration, taking turns and sharing while experiencing a positive interaction with peers.

7. Does joining your programs interfere with the child’s academics?

Absolutely not, and in fact, research shows that physical activity enhances the ability to concentrate and retain information, making children that much more productive in the classroom.

8. How do you see the child cognitive development industry in the coming 5-years?

I believe the education industry more broadly is just coming around to understand how important the power of movement really is during early childhood and physical activity in general will be more structured to capture some of the very benefits that we focus on for our enrolled children on a daily basis.  We are not organized play and I think educators and parents are realizing there are more benefits to the power of movement than just being an outlet for energy release.

9. What recommendation would you like to provide to those willing to enter this industry?

I think, generally speaking, we are short of professionals and enrichment providers in this field and children deserve more opportunities for structured movement programs.  It is a noble undertaking and I’d suggest to anyone willing to enter the industry to really focus on the integrity of your program.  What we’ve found is our programs are such an outlet for children from their day to day routine – any dilution of that integrity will no doubt remove the magic of what we are focused on, and that is showing how beneficial it can be to believe in the power of a positive attitude.

This interview has been sponsored by Power Tots, Inc.

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