The Little Gym opens in Carmel’s Merchants’ Square

From left, Steve Barger, co-owner and chief fun officer; Suzanne Barger, co-owner and lead instructor; Chelsea Baker, lead instructor; and Samantha Cuparencu, program director. (Submitted photo)

A competitive gymnast growing up, Suzanne Barger coached gymnastics for 17 years in several states.

However, she conducts a different type of training as co-owner of The Little Gym of Carmel with her husband, Steve, which teaches gymnastics as development.

The Bargers lived in Carmel for 10 years before moving to Virginia Beach, Va. It was there they took their son, Sebastian, 4, at 6 months to The Little Gym. So, they decided to purchase a franchise and open it in Carmel.

“We loved it so much we decided to bring it home with us,” Suzanne Barger said. “We felt (Sebastian) gained a lot of independence and it’s very nurturing. He really blossomed there and he loved all his instructors.”

The family purchased the franchise, the only one in Indiana, and moved back to Carmel in September 2017.

The Little Gym opened with an open house June 2 and started classes June 4 at the 4,800-square-foot building at 271 Merchants Square Dr.

“What is different about us is we focus on three dimensions of learning. There is the physical development that we do called Get Moving,” Steve Barger said. “But we also focus on two other dimensions and they are very age specific. When we have a 3-year-old class, the only age we have is 3 years old because we are trying to hit milestones for each particular age group. The other two dimensions we focus on are cognitive thinking skills, which we call brain boost. What is really important that no one else focuses on is social skills. We call it Citizen Kid. For kids that are getting ready for preschool, we try to get them to listen and follow directions.”

Steve was in the corporate world as a market executive.

“Now I come in and play with kids every day. What could be better than that?” he said.

The classes start at 10 months and are offered through age 12.

“The parent-child classes, from 10 months to 3 years, and the 3- to 6-year-old classes are very popular,” he said.

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