So he started Go Kids, a multi-sport program for children ages two to six.
“It is a multi-sport exercise program for little kids,” said Feldman. “My goal is to teach kids to have fun with exercise, introduce new skills and focus on nutrition – a preschool with a sports base.”
Another twist is the “school” is not in just one location – Feldman has locations in Saratoga, Clifton Park and Latham.
“Each day I am at a different location,” said Feldman, who leases the spaces for the classes. “My goal is to be 30 minutes away for every mom.”
Feldman started on the road to his career when he began working at summer camps as a counselor and coaching youth groups. After earning a Masters of Science in Elementary Education, he did a teaching stint in Pennsylvania and volunteered teaching children in Thailand.
In 2010, he and his wife moved to Australia where he worked with a number of children’s fitness businesses learning the nuances of the trade. But after almost two years, the couple was homesick for family and they moved back to Saratoga County, where his wife had grown up.
While he had not envisioned opening a business before, he took the plunge and opened his own fitness company – Go Kids.
“I took ideas from each company,” said Feldman, who admits his own high set of standards was one of the catalysts for him starting his own company. “I like the challenge, plus I have always been independent and have a very high set of standards. It’s those standards that made it difficult for me to work for someone else. I’d see things I didn’t agree with and couldn’t do anything about.”
Feldman said the Go Kids program introduces children to seven different sports: soccer, tennis, basketball, hockey, football, baseball and track and field.
Running year-round in six, eight-week terms, each semester includes four sports taught in two-week blocks – two weeks of basketball, two weeks of soccer, two weeks of baseball and two weeks of hockey.
“We follow the same routine in every class, but with a different sport,” said Feldman, adding that helped to keep the children’s attention and keep them focused. “That way they don’t get bored.”
First, he said, they do warm ups; then go onto specific skills that are the building blocks for gross motor control and self-esteem. Next, the children participate in the sport, but it is designed to be fun, non-competitive and targeted to their age group.
“We use the imagination,” said Feldman. “For example, if I want them to lunge sideways, I tell them, let’s walk like a crab and then, to add in another movement, I tell them there’s the occasional seagull flying by and we have to duck to avoid getting hit by the bird.”
He said the routines are designed to foster self-esteem, improve motor skills and have an educational component.
“There is the egg game for the older kids where I ask them to go get an egg and bring it back,” he explained. “I can ask them to bring back the green egg or one egg and when they have gathered the eggs, I pretend to gas their cars for them.”
Feldman travels to each of his locations and sets up the entire fitness center for the individual classes.
“We set up each time,” said Feldman, who has an assistant at each class. “And usually we let the kids help us because it promotes teamwork and works on helping them with their motor skills.”
Keeping the class numbers limited to 10, said Feldman, help keep the teacher/student ratio low and is designed to give each child individual attention.
“That way we get to spend a lot of one-on-one time with the kids.”
Energetic and full of life, Feldman said he prides himself on the way he encourages and praises the children he works with, noting that he tries to refrain from the generic “good job,” praise.
“The encouragement they get and how they get it is good for their self-esteem,” he said. “I never tell them they did wrong – I try to differentiate myself with my praise.”
He added his goal is to get the child to like being active and gain from the experience.
“I want the kid to fall in love with it – to feel good about themselves when they learn a new skill,” said Feldman. “Kids need the opportunity to learn at their own skill level and pace. You learn soft skills from exploring.”
Noting that he will be partnering with Saratoga Independent School for their summer program, Feldman said he is also launching an after-school program for older children.
“It will involve multi-movement – dance, sports, Yoga-style movements, field day activities – but with the same philosophy,” he explained. “A fun, non-competitive way to exercise with a nutrition component.”
For more information about Go Kids, visit the website at www.123gokids.com or call (518) 415-2525.