Blake began his career as a competitive gymnast at the Iowa Gymnest. He started coaching in 1998 with his father, Allen Kittrell, on his tumble bus. While trying to find his passion, he received his Bachelor Degree in Nursing at Mount Mercy. During this time, Blake continued coaching and then in 2012 decided to open Kids First Gymnastics with Annette Rashed.
Our facility is located just off Hwy 30, at the Kirkwood Community College exit. We are north a few blocks from the highway on the left side, next to the Kirkwood Continuing Education Center and burn building.
According to www.positivecoach.org, "Encouraging athletes with positive reinforcement helps them hear and heed the necessary corrections. With that winning combination of truthful, specific praise and constructive criticism, athletic performance improves and so do the chances that kids stick with sports longer and learn all the valuable life lessons inherently available through organized competition."
Finding what the kids are doing right and giving them a focus and expectation for the next turn is the foundation of positive coaching. This gives us some of the most powerful teaching tools available by building confidence, self-esteem and internal motivation.
"Character education is used to describe the teaching of children in a manner that will help them develop variously as moral, civic, good, mannered, behaved, non-bullying, healthy, critical, successful, traditional, compliant or socially acceptable beings." - https://en.wikipedia.org
We have spent over a year developing a program to spend a few minutes of each class building important character traits. We review traits like honesty, compassion, generosity, and many more! Not only is it developing the kids but the staff and culture of the gym!
Safety & Training
All of our staff go through: background checks (18 and over). These background checks are redone every year. They are trainined in basic first aid, conconssion safety, and safety in the facility.
Beyond that they spend several hours taking coaching courses followed by hands on training. Once that is completed they must demonstrate compentency during a final checklist. We also mandate monthly continuing education for all our staff.
We also have a robust security camera system and alarm system to ensure everyone's safety.
Read our RAVE Reviews!
We had our daughters 6th birthday party today! The staff was absolutely amazing! So friendly, well organized and the kiddos had a great time! We will be back for more parties for sure!!
My daughter is so excited to go class each week. She really likes her teacher. There has been so much variety in the beginners class which has been great too. Each week is a little different which really keeps my daughter’s interest. The Open Gym offered Friday and Saturday nights is fantastic too! We also
Absolutely fantastic place to have a birthday party! They took care of everything while being respectful and asking if we had any preferences. The kids had a blast! If you need an indoor birthday idea, this place is fantastic!
Took daughter to the Princess Tea Party, and we couldn’t get her to leave! It was an incredible time, and the staff (a.k.a Snow White) was amazing. Seriously considering signing her up for classes.
Took KJ to free story time and free open play time this morning. We had so much fun and they even had some fun gifts I got for X-mas! We will be back!
We celebrated my son’s 4th birthday here and opted for the Everything package! They did a great job. Three staff members took extraordinary care of us. I’d highly recommend them for a party! Thank you!
Great staff that is truly interested in the well being of the children under their care and influence!
I recently visited open gym with my two daughters. While the gym was quite busy, I was incredibly impressed with the staff at Kids First. Every employee in the gym was beyond helpful, energetic, encouraging and patient despite the demands of the many children in attendance. Safety was always constantly and consistently but positively maintained.
My little girl looks forward to attending her class everyweek. Its also a joy to go and watch her. The teachers are great and attend to each kids needs as fit. They push the kids forward and promote goals. I really love that everyweek its a diffrent format and that they also work with each
3rd year of Summer Camp success and fun for our little guy again this Summer! Thanks everyone for keeping him safe & happy! Also beautiful new location!