I have had several inquiries this week regarding recommendations for the best kids yoga teacher trainings, where to find lesson plans & how I create my lesson plans. There’s not a simple answer.
I do what works for me & for the kids I see. I work in a very unique setting with very unique kids. The JD McCarty Center is a pediatric rehab hospital for kids with developmental disabilities. We serve kids ages birth to 21 years of age & the patients are assigned to therapeutic groups by their treatment team (which I may or may not be a part of). The kids in my theraeutic yoga group change from week to week depending on admissions & discharges from the hospital (think “revolving door”…. some kids will overlap in their time in the group but not much). So I don’t have the luxury of having a long period of time to teach yoga foundations that I can then build upon in later sessions. We’ve had a few patients stay with us an extended time that have gotten to be in our therapeutic yoga group over several months…. but that’s the exception not the rule. I’ve had kids as young as 2 1/2 yrs. & as old as 20 yrs. in the same class. Not ideal but I made it work. When I did yoga at our summer camps, the kids ranged from 8-16 years. Again…. not ideal but I made it work. The only time I’ve been able to set my own age parameters for a class was the “inclusive” kids yoga class I offered last summer for kids ages 4-8 years. Even then that was not an ideal age range (big difference between 4 yr olds & 8 yr olds in attention span, interests, size, physical abilities (including balance), etc…) but I had to make it that broad in order to get enough kids registered to be able to offer it.
My 24 years of experience as a pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist has taught me how to modify everything “in the moment” to meet individual needs (not just in kids yoga but in everything I do). I am always equipped with visual supports & props (because I know they are helpful for most of our patients). I always have a general idea / lesson plan of what my goals or intentions are for a kids yoga class (just like I plan for my speech therapy treatment sessions). But I’m not tied to the plan. It becomes obvious very quickly when I am going to need to modify in the moment. I have had several patients lately with physical limitations & orthotics that made it very difficult to transition from sitting to standing. I often don’t know that until they show up in my class. So I modify poses & activities in the moment so that all kids can be included & feel successful.
While I learned alot in my yoga teacher trainings, it is not the only info I use to create my classes. I have attended several other trainings, have read lots of books, reviewed lots of materials & constantly gain new ideas from blogs & social media sites. I also incorporate all that I know about developmentally appropriate practices, child development & inclusive practices from all the continuing ed I have attended over my career and life lessons along the way. I incorporate arts & crafts, music & books into my kids yoga classes. How I do it depends on the needs of the kids in that particular class.
One of the most frequent requests I get via e-mail & Facebook comments or messaging is asking for a recommendation for “THE best kids yoga teacher training”. My typical response is “there are LOTS of great kids yoga trainings out there. The best one for YOU depends on lots of factors: where you will be teaching kids yoga (a yoga studio? school? hospital? yoga-themed birthday parties? camps?), what ages of kids you will be working with, will you also be offering “family yoga” or “mommy/parent & me yoga”, if your classes be inclusive (include kids with special needs), where you live or your ability to travel to a training (both time & expense), the amount of $$$ you have to invest in a training, etc…”
Most yoga teacher trainings include info about developing lesson plans and/or materials that will give you inspiration for lesson plans. But there is no perfect lesson plan. Please don’t be offended…… I LOVE lesson plans. You see me sharing them all the time. They are great inspiration for ideas. But if you have a lesson plan that you love so much that you can’t deviate from it or modify it in the moment, it’s a recipe for disappoinment / disaster. In my opinion, that holds true regardless of the particular kids in your class (2 or teen, with or without special needs) or where you will be teaching. You need to be flexible to connect with each individual.
My advice is to combine what you learn in any kids yoga teacher training with everything you already know & already love to develop lesson plans that work for you. They will then be from YOUR heart…. from YOUR passion. So I guess there really is a “simple” answer….. “Follow your passion”. You can’t go wrong with that 🙂
I love to connect & exchange ideas! Feel free to leave a comment below or on the OMazing Kids Facebook page
Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, IAYT, RCYP-2
Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness activities for kids of all abilities
Radiant Child Yoga Certified – Levels 1 & 2
Contests & Giveaways on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsContestsandGiveaways
OMazing Kids LLC is an organization that promotes inclusive wellness activities for kids of all abilities. The blog and social media pages share information about books, DVD’s, CD’s, games and other products specifically designed for kids wellness, mindfulness and relaxation, product reviews & giveaways, lesson plan & activity ideas, research, kids wellness in the news and a connection corner with listings of individuals doing adapted yoga and those offering trainings.
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