By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Teaching Yoga to children is a non-competitive method for enabling them to gather many positive life skills. One life skill that is essential for success throughout life is literacy. Literacy includes reading, writing, speaking, listening, and a general appreciation of language. Children begin to work on literacy from the moment they are born, as they are introduced to the sounds of the language. As they grow, their ideas of literacy expand to books, songs, poems, and rhymes. The more children are exposed to rich language, creative stories, songs, and books, the more literate they become. Elementary teachers often focus the entire academic year around literacy activities. Yoga instructors can also help develop children’s literacy through stories.
While the concept of storytelling is rather simple, the concepts and skills children learn from a good story are simply priceless. Through stories, children learn valuable life lessons about virtues, feelings, emotions, conflicts, and resolutions. In a Yoga class, they can learn important Yogic principles, including respect for others, positive thinking, releasing negativity, and using your body to help you through emotional issues.
Children learn the basic components of a story through storytelling. They learn that stories have a beginning, middle, and end. They learn about characters, setting, plot, and conflict. These are all important literacy concepts. Yoga stories ignite the imaginations of children, exposing them to a variety of ideas and concepts. Stories show no discrimination, engaging kids with different backgrounds, prior knowledge, and learning levels.
Yoga teachers should use stories to help children learn and remember Yoga poses, and to teach important Yogic philosophies. Yoga stories can be interactive, where the students act out the poses as the story unfolds. Yoga instructors can also use props to add interest to the story, and to allow kids to use their imaginations, as they transform their bodies into various animals and objects.
The options, of learning through stories, are limitless. Yoga instructors can use books, or make up their own stories. They can allow the children to participate by adding bits and pieces to the story. Children also love when a story is familiar and take pride in being able to retell stories in their own words.
Children can make valuable connections when they realize that stories are a part of many different venues in life, including school, home, and even Yoga class. Share a story during your next Kids’ Yoga class and you might be surprised how well the children respond.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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