Growing up if there was one rule that my dad enforced, and which no one dared to break or defy was ‘you have to work on our health rule!’ The unbreakable rule of doing yoga every morning was a routine that was never missed in our house. Growing up my father always stressed upon the importance of yoga and meditation. He said – “A healthy mind lives in a healthy body.”
During our summer and winter vacations dad used to say – “Vacations are the best time to work on your health and wellbeing.” As much as we craved an extra hour of sleep, dad used to wake us up early, take us to the park and then we did (were made to do!) yoga and meditation. At that time, I didn’t realize the importance or need of this routine, however, when I had my son I realized the reason behind his rules.
My son was a super-active baby from the time he was born. The moment he learned to walk, there was no stopping him. He was sprinting through the house all day long banging into tables and chairs. He was up to some mischief all the time, that’s when I realized that he had a lot of energy but I was not able to channelize his energy. All of that energy if not channelize properly, can be destructive for the child and for my pricey vases and glassware too!
Dad’s yoga routines made much more sense to me now. I realized why he had stressed upon this habit from early years. Not only does yoga channelize the energy of overactive toddlers it is also a means to inculcate discipline in them.
So one fine day, I sat my son down and told him that we’ll be doing yoga he answered nonchalantly – “But, I don’t want to.” Why I asked, he said – “Because I don’t know how to do it.” Now he was 3 years old and he wasn’t even familiar with the term that I had grown up listening about every single day. Why did this happen? One – I never thought of it, Two – His preschool didn’t have any yoga or mindfulness related programs. Not only is it important for parents to introduce positive and healthy practices like yoga and meditation at home, it is also the responsibility of preschools to include such topics in the curriculum so that early learners are open to these practices from a young age.
Knowing what I knew now, I had to search for a better preschool development program that gave my child the much-needed guidance and opportunities to adopt a healthier and disciplined lifestyle. I had heard about preschool accreditation agencies like QualityKG and their high-quality preschool accreditation standards; I wanted a program like that for my child. After doing some more research I found one of the best preschools with yoga as an integral part of their curriculum.
Here I am sharing what is good about these preschool development programs and the benefits I found at my son’s new preschool:
Teaching yoga to preschoolers can be a daunting task. At times, you’d find that it is quite difficult for the young learners to grasp the complexity of the asanas, at my son’s preschool, teachers make it a point to keep things a little less serious and a lot more fun. They acknowledge the power of playtime and teach yoga and meditation in an enjoyable and engaging way.
- Preschool curriculum accreditation dictates that a lesson plan should be created for the warm-up sessions, meditation and the yoga practice. This helps teachers stay prepared in terms of – topics of discussion, list of poses and activates to be conducted.
- Show some appreciation, when the little learners are practicing their asanas, teachers can motivate them by some kind words of encouragement.
- Don’t be fussy, as long as the young learners are being safe and having fun you can let go of a rule or two. What if the alignment is a bit off, don’t stress so much about their eyes being open or closed. Your goal is to give them an encouraging experience of yoga, not to make things too serious for them (you don’t want them to lose interest just because Ms. Yoga teacher is too fussy).
- Teachers must introduce the benefits of meditation and mindfulness to preschoolers, they need to show the young learners how these activities can help in improving their everyday life, this helps in building their interest. Also, it is important to keep parents and families involved in the yoga and meditation practice.
Benefits of yoga for preschoolers:
1. Improves their self-confidence and sense of worth.
2. Builds their concentration power and keeps them focused.
3. Helps in grooming their intellect and brainpower.
4. Encourages stability, flexibility, and dexterity.
5. Builds up their imagination as well as creativity.
6. Helps them in becoming calmer and more aware.
In the end -> breathe in – breathe out:
“Yoga” inside a preschool classroom helps students in a number of ways. As early educators, you need to provide lessons that go beyond the traditional approach and help the preschoolers in developing a skill set that’ll help them throughout their life.