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Marines trainer turns his focus

Training kids? Huh, it's not all that different to training marines.

That's the view of Stonemill Farms resident KC Pfluger, and he should know.

For Pfluger, after spending years training marines in Washington D.C., now leads children in workouts at the Rolly Pollies children's gym on Eagle View Boulevard, Stonemill Farms.

"My marine corps experience certainly helped," explained Pfluger, who operates Rolly Pollies with his wife Suzy.

"My first company commander said the best training for leading marines is having kids, and the best training for having kids is leading marines.

"It's the same skills, just a different level."

Rolly Pollies is different to a regular kids' play center. It holds weekly structured play sessions for children, aiming to improve young people's motor skills, mental abilities, self confidence and self esteem.

It's branching out to offer special needs nights to families, with two scheduled in the next couple of months, which will see the gym staff building on progress already made with groups which have included Stillwater Early Childhood Special Education.

The center has a six-year curriculum of nine-week sessions, which see children split into age-specific classes, which are named after a variety of bugs including caterpillars (kids six months to walking), beetles (three-year-olds) and fireflies (six and seven-year-olds).

The theme stems from the gym's name of Rolly Pollies; the roly poly bug is otherwise known as the woodlouse.

"We want the kids to come in and think they are playing for 45 minutes, but the stations we set up and the things we have them do are building up their physical strengths and mental capabilities," said Pfluger.

In addition to the gym classes, which see the kids being taught different stretches and moves, and using the Rolly Pollies equipment which includes a foam pit, climbing wall, several balance beams, climbing frames and a trapeze, art and music classes are also available.

Open gym time allows children and parents to move around the equipment at their leisure.

The philosophy behind Rolly Pollies and the classes it offers are certainly winning over customers.

Julie Lee, a resident of Woodbury, has been visiting the children's gym with her three-year-old son Trevor since it opened in November 2006.

"Absolutely I have seen it make a difference," she said. "His self confidence has seen an improvement and he does a great somersault now.

"He loves to come and the staff is awesome."

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