After teaching yoga to kids in elementary schools in low-income neighborhoods in DC for over a year, a group of our volunteer teachers got together to discuss lessons learned which may be helpful for other teachers reaching out to this community.
A big thanks to Sarah Walter, Dawn Hennesy, Alexis Mitchell, and Scott Carson for compiling this resource!
Suggested Class Format:
Beginning – intention setting
Physical warm-up: Sharing a focus/building heat
- Time to work – finding power in the body
- Expansion – play/explore
- Building strength – abs/back
- Winding Down – transitioning to calmness
- Savasana – stillness/release
- Closing – taking your yoga with you!
- Timing of classes for kids yoga – 30 to 40 minutes (max) is best to maintain their attention!
- Boundary setting needs to be an important part of first class (and each thereafter)
- Structuring class is a good idea, but also being okay with not following the plan based on the energy of the group
- Games /Interactive learning techniques that have worked well to incorporate:
- Yoga Freeze Dance
- Have students teach each other and build upon knowledge of poses (after a few sessions)
- Yoga Deck
- Yogi Says
- Learning Sanskrit words
- Guessing the right name and how to say it
- Chanting Ommmmmmm – great technique to center the group
- Teaching Surya A and Surya B – building on each other each week introducing something new
- For assistant – have this role be more a of a partnership, a co-teaching relationship
- Have at least 1 certified instructor + teacher trainee/dedicated student
- Use no mats/same color mats to minimize distraction of mat selections
- Using music/changing music important during class
- Try to incorporate body awareness/relaxation during Savasana as much as possible