DeVeau’s School of Gymnastics has been a staple in the area since 1982. Throughout the past 39 years they have expanded twice, and now they have more than 60,000 square feet for classes, team programs, camps and activities.
“What makes us special is that we offer something for every child in the family, from babies and school-aged children all the way through high school,” says Taryn DeVeau, owner and instructor.
The preschool program was developed by her mother Joan, who was a physical education teacher before founding DeVeau’s. Preschool classes focus on gross and fine motor skills, reading readiness, and teaching children how to share and wait for one’s turn. She notes that for many kids, the gymnastics school is their first experience being around other children in a classroom setting. This is especially true throughout the past year due to school closures.
“We believe gymnastics is the foundation to any sport for whatever your child may want to do later in life,” DeVeau says. “It’s also great for general health and cognitive functioning.”
DeVeau’s puts a focus on gross motor skills that kids may not otherwise be getting help with, due to sedentary day-to-day lifestyles in front of screens and tablets.
The company teaches preschool kids how to skip, hop, gallop, jump and, in a roundabout way, fall properly. When DeVeau’s son was 3 years old, he tripped on his Superman cape when he was going down the stairs. Instead of falling forward and extending his arm, he instinctively ducked his head and rolled forward all the way down the stairs, landing on his bottom.
“He was totally fine, but had he not had that kind of instinct, who knows?” she says.
DeVeau’s also offers recreational programs for all ages, including girls and boys gymnastics classes, tumbling classes, cheerleading classes, and Ninja Zone classes. In girls gymnastics, when students are bouncing on trampolines, they’re learning patterning and sequencing, which is critical for math and reading.
“They’re learning how to pattern and sequence with their bodies instead of on a piece of paper,” DeVeau says. “Doing tuck jumps, straddle jumps, seat drops – remembering that pattern and then applying it is a fun way to learn.”
Through the years, their gymnastics team program – the largest in the state – has placed dozens of male and female athletes with college scholarships. They’ve trained Samantha Peszek, who started training at DeVeau’s at age 2, made the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, and earned a full scholarship to UCLA where she was an NCAA champion.
“We’re such a community here,” DeVeau says. “In fact, many of our staff have trained here, gone on to college and come back to coach, because this is what they love and where they love to be.”
The Ninja Zone program, with its rigs, trampolines, warp walls and obstacle courses, is a high-energy atmosphere that kids love.Luke Lautzenheiser, DeVeau’s husband, has created an amazing Ninja experience “where kids are having fun while being active without even realizing the strength and confidence they’re gaining,” DeVeau says.
The competitive cheerleading program, Dragons Elite, competes both regionally and nationally providing a great foundation for cheerleaders ages 5-18.The program is led by three former collegiate cheerleaders focusing on stunting, tumbling, dancing, jumping, and strength and flexibility.
“It’s a fun, high-energy, performance-based sport where kids learn to work with others and compete together,” says DeVeau, who is one of the coaches.
The coaches have a motto, which they ask their cheer students to repeat back to them at the end of every practice: “We are strong. We are confident. We are beautiful. We are family.”
“We believe they are all of those things, and we want to make sure that they believe it, too,” DeVeau says. “We care about their mental health and teaching these girls how to be confident in who they are is so important.”
They also offer a competitive trampoline and tumbling team that competes locally and nationally.
Some kids participate in more than one program – for example, gymnastics and cheerleading, or gymnastics as well as trampoline and tumbling.
“It’s great how working at one [discipline] makes you better at another,” DeVeau says. “It helps them become more well-rounded.”
She adds that the facility has families involved in multiple activities.
“Families can come all at once,” she says. “One child can go to gymnastics while another is in cheerleading, a third in tumbling, and a fourth in Ninja. Meanwhile, the mom can enjoy her coffee.”
Customers can shop at The Front Porch at DeVeau’s, located inside the main entrance of the school.
“We sell gymnastics apparel, children’s toys, clothes and gifts for the home,” DeVeau says.
Though it’s been a tumultuous year, she is thrilled that DeVeau’s has been a constant for students. Last spring when they were forced to close their doors for six weeks, they immediately switched gears and created closed Facebook groups, providing Zoom meetings so kids could still practice. As a result, many students came back stronger than before.
“Being physically active and around other kids is so important to children’s mental health,” DeVeau says.
Their primary mission is to raise kind, hard-working kids.
“Wins and championships will follow,” DeVeau says. “Our most important thing is that when they go out into the world, they are great humans.”
DeVeau’s School of Gymnastics is located at 9032 Technology Drive in Fishers, IN. For more information, call 317-849-7744 or visit them online at deveaus.com.