By Faye Martins
Child literacy skills can be improved through kids’ Yoga classes. Learning to read, write and do basic mathematical computations are some of the cornerstones of literacy. A well-designed Yoga class that is geared for young children from kindergarten through the second grade will help young students to develop a solid literacy foundation. Yoga classes can help to facilitate the development of sensory motor skills and basic language skills. These rudimentary skills are critically important to the development of language, reading and writing skills that form the basis of further academic study and later career achievement.
The ability of a child to be able to soothe and self-regulate his or her emotions under stress has been linked to the successful acquisition of reading, writing and math skills. Through focused attention, breathing exercises and relaxation techniques, Yoga teaches children how to calm themselves and to compassionately and patiently practice reading, writing and math exercises until they solidify a competent level of literacy in these subjects. The open and accepting context of a Yoga class also encourages children to explore their own abilities and potential in a non-competitive environment. This sense of openness and acceptance also supports a child in being less anxious about practicing new academic skills.
Yoga classes for child literacy also increase their vocabulary and comprehension of new terms and ideas. During the course of a Yoga class, children are exposed to a wide range of unfamiliar terms as they follow a Yoga routine. Children are also exposed to different ways of thinking about the world through the cultural background of Yoga. This exposure to new ideas, vocabulary and cultural ideas, in addition to new ways of moving their bodies, helps to build neural pathways in the brain and form new linguistic connections that further support literacy acquisition.
The incorporation of music and rhymes also help children to develop phonemic awareness that is one of the building blocks for new readers. Weaving in music and rhyming is an easy and fun way for young children to enhance their phonemic awareness skills. Singing, playing and telling nursery rhymes will also create a fun and light-hearted context in which the children can enjoy practicing Yoga asanas, breathing exercises and even a bit of meditation. All of these Yoga techniques are wonderful tools that will help child literacy through emotional regulation, the acquisition of new vocabulary and the solidification of phonemic awareness.
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