Broken Arrow Express
ACTIVE INSTRUCTION: Priscilla Godi sits with students from Kids in Motion Academy. The full-day school focuses on kinesthetics and incorporates sign language, art, science and the Bible into the curriculum. Classes take place at SSB Kids, a 20,000 square-foot multi-sport center in Broken Arrow.
EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers
Things are never quiet at SSB Kids, a multi-sport, multi-use center in Broken Arrow. Owner Priscilla Godi began the business some 20 years ago in her backyard because she saw a need for more physical activity among children. Godi was teaching elementary school at the time.
After two years, she left her teaching position to focus fully on her new venture, which had evolved to mainly gymnastics instruction, the most popular sport among her students.
By the third year, the amount of children attending had grown so large, Godi moved to a space in the Fontana Shopping Center. She spent the next 10 years regularly expanding and relocating her company in order to keep up with her growing number of students.
Godi and her husband, Mitchell, who joined the company in 2000, eventually found land in Broken Arrow at 1700 N. Redbud Pl. where they built the current 20,000-square-foot facility.
In order to take full advantage of the building’s size, programs are offered throughout the morning, day and evening.
Many of these programs, says Godi, came about due to necessity. “When the four-year-old program began in public schools, the young students who were here during the day were suddenly gone to school,” she says. “And we had an empty building until 3:00. We had to find ways to fill the building.”
And fill it they have.
SSB Kids offers before-and after-school fitness programs, competitive and recreational gymnastics classes, competitive trampoline and tumbling classes, a competitive cheerleading program, spring break and summer camps, karate instruction, swim lessons, and adult fitness classes.
The building is also used for special events like birthday parties where children play on inflatables, fly through the gym on a zipline, and shoot into the air on a bungee cord.
In addition, children ages two through first grade can enroll in Kids in Motion Academy, a full-day school that focuses on kinesthetics and uses a curriculum that incorporates sign language, art, science and the Bible into the core subjects of literature, language arts, math and phonics.
“Studies show that practices that bridge the left and right brain hemispheres are most beneficial in retention and making connections,” Godi says. “Students see, hear, say and do (what they are learning).”
As a 15-year public school teacher, Godi’s focus has always been on teaching. That is her first love, she says. At age 23, she was asked to be the director at a preschool and knew, from then on, that teaching was her calling. “I have worked with kids ever since,” says Godi.
Godi makes sure that physical activity and movement are at the core of what students do.
“Most 2- to 3-year-olds are doing much more physical activity here than other kids their age,” she says. “Our students are swinging from bars, touching their toes, jumping on trampolines, cart wheeling.”
The success of Godi’s program is apparent. When the school opened in 2006, five kids were enrolled. By the end of the first year, the school had grown to 25 students. Currently, 120 children are on the waiting list.
Godi does little advertising. Her students’ progress is all the proof needed. “Through gymnastics and other avenues, students . . . learn extraordinary character traits such as self-discipline, patience, hard work ethic and confidence,” Godi says. “Each day when they get on a balance beam or trampoline, they learn to follow directions, deal with and overcome fear, and stay focused. Students leave the school and they will never be the same.”