Creative Yoga for Children offers a simple, ready-to-teach Montessori-based yoga program for children age twelve and under. Following age-appropriate classroom themes, the book’s forty detailed, one-hour lessons are designed to supplement any learning environment and are accessible to parents and teachers alike–no special training is required. In a recent study by California State University, Los Angeles, yoga was found to improve students’ behavior, physical health, academic performance, and attitudes toward themselves. Research also shows that the benefits of yoga are particularly strong among children with special needs. This book demonstrates how yoga can become a fun daily practice inside or outside the school classroom.
Enhanced with over 100 black and white photos, the book’s themes, or lessons, are divided by age range (ages four to six, seven to nine, and ten to twelve) and explore topics based on the child’s developmental level. For four- to six-year-olds there are twenty hour-long lessons on subjects ranging from colors and the holiday seasons to sounds and words. Ten hour-long lessons for seven- to nine-year-olds introduce such topics as the body, countries of the world, botany, zoology, and the universe. For ten- to twelve-year-olds, ten hour-long lessons cover the environment, geometry, the Earth, fractions, the food chain, and more.
Following the structure of a classroom lesson plan, each lesson incorporates elements of yoga including poses, breath work, meditation, and mindfulness. A discussion of the theme and intention of the lesson is followed by a warm-up of yoga poses. The children then engage in a cooperative “connecting” activity designed to bring them together, and a fun and lively theme-oriented activity that involves movement and awareness. The class winds down with breath work, a craft, and often a story. Finally, there is relaxation time and a guided meditation. With this preset structure, the children feel safe while being challenged and inspired.
Derived from the educational philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori and the author’s own experience in the classroom and yoga studio, Creative Yoga for Children allows children to move at their own pace and to be free to learn and grow within a non-competitive, nurturing setting. An essential resource for the 4,000 certified Montessori schools in the U.S., this book will appeal to yoga teachers, classroom teachers, parents, and anyone who works with children.