When you hear about yoga for kids, you may think, “Really? There’s no way my child could be quiet and still, doing pose after pose for 45 minutes!” The great news is, they don’t have to! Children’s yoga classes at Centered are intentionally and purposefully designed to meet children where they are developmentally. Kids are given plenty of space to be kids, while learning new skills that can aid their physical development, social-emotional learning, social skills, and much more. This post will discuss more about what our Itty Bitty Yoga and Kids Yoga Club classes offer in order to help you decide if yoga is right for your child. More information about teacher Katie Scherrer (me!) is also presented, so you can know more about my training, teaching philosophy, and experience working with kids.
Itty Bitty Yoga classes are designed for children ages 3-5 and their adult caregivers. We explore physical movement, early literacy skills, and social-emotional learning (SEL) concepts in an age-appropriate way, using books, storytelling, songs and imagination. You can expect a high-energy experience in which your children play and move, learn and practice yoga poses, connect with themselves and others, and have the opportunity to practice mindful stillness and rest. Some of the benefits of Itty Bitty Yoga include:
- Ample physical movement. Young children are still learning to move their bodies in various ways, and their brains can only concentrate on one thing at a time. When kids are learning how to move, this takes priority in the brain over all other types of learning and activity. Once a movement has become automated – or learned to a degree that the brain no longer needs to focus on it – there is more cognitive energy available for learning other things, such as letters, numbers. etc. By giving your child lots of opportunities to move their bodies in different ways, you are helping them automate the process of movement, so their brains can focus on other kinds of learning.
- Social-emotional learning (SEL). When we practice breathing, children are learning techniques they can use later to help process their emotions when they feel overwhelmed or upset. When we move in a group setting, children have to learn to be attentive to others, so they don’t bump into one another. When we celebrate the differences in our poses, we learn to appreciate diversity. When we pause mindfully and practice quiet relaxation, we learn to regulate our behaviors. All of these opportunities, which occur organically throughout every class, support children in their development of SEL skills.
- Early literacy skill development. Kids need a strong foundation of early literacy skills in order to be prepared to learn to read when they get to school. These include things such as knowing the letters, knowing how to use books, understanding that stories have a beginning, middle and end, and knowing how to rhyme. Through stories, songs, and other activities, we practice these critical early literacy skills in every class.
- Bonding. This is a special time for you to enjoy with your child. You will have the opportunity to marvel at your child’s learning over time, to work on creative movement activities together, and to enjoy quiet, peaceful moments of rest. Our classes are welcoming to all parents and caregivers, regardless of your own experience with yoga. Come experience them for yourself, and see what benefits manifest in your family.
A note for families who have attended Itty Bitty Yoga in the past, our Fall 2016 session will feature new books and activities in every class. Some familiar staples will still be there (like our chime song…that’s not going anywhere!), but there will be new surprises to enjoy and explore.
Kids Yoga Club is designed for children ages 6-10. We honor children’s emerging independence in this age group by keeping this class a kids-only experience. You are welcome to enjoy the sauna, a massage or a treat from the Centered Café during this time. It is also fine to drop your child off if you need to run errands during the 45 minutes of class, just please return by the end of class (4:45 PM) so your child is not left alone at the studio. Kids Yoga Club classes explore more physical poses (asana) than our Itty Bitty classes, but there are still some key differences between adult and kids yoga classes. We play games in every class, and often work together through partner and group poses. Breathing practices, mindfulness meditation, and relaxation are also included in every class. Though studying the effects of kids yoga is still relatively new, scientific research has discovered many benefits to children who practice yoga, including:
• improved self-regulation
• reduced negative effects of stress and stress response
• increased attention and social skills
• improved endurance, strength, motor planning, motor performance, static balance, bilateral coordination ,and flexibility; and
• improved cardiovascular health
About Katie Scherrer
I have been working with children of all ages for more than a decade, first as a Children’s Librarian and now as a Children’s Yoga Teacher. I have been practicing yoga and meditation for over 12 years. I am a certified Childlight Yoga Instructor, and have (to date) completed more than 80 hours of training specifically in the instruction of yoga to children. I am also a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT). I completed more than 200 hours of yoga teacher training at the Asheville (NC) Yoga Center in 2015. I am currently writing a manual for librarians and early childhood educators on the use of yoga in their preschool storytime/circle time programs to be published by the American Library Association in 2017, tentatively titled Stories! Songs! Stretches! Enhancing Preschool Storytime with Yoga and Movement. I have been teaching children’s yoga in Lexington in libraries, schools, community centers, yoga studios and early childhood education centers since 2014. As a teacher of young children, I am all about meeting kids where they are, and planting little yoga seeds in each class. For me, the physicality of children’s yoga practice is less important than their ability to come off of the mat feeling better than they did when they first arrived, and taking away a few skills that may aid them in their day-to-day life (which could be a yoga pose, a breathing practice, a meditation, or just a fresh perspective). My husband and I are currently expecting the arrival our first “Itty Bitty Yogi.” In order to allow myself space to make the transition to motherhood, I will be taking some time off from teaching; thus, the fall series of Itty Bitty Yoga and Kids Yoga Club at Centered will be the last chance to practice kids yoga with me in 2016.
Interested? Please Register!
Children’s yoga functions differently than adult yoga. A group of at least five kids is necessary in order for the classes to really work for children and to be sustainable for the studio and the teacher. For this reason, we offer these classes as a series and require advance registration. The fall session of both Itty Bitty and Kids Club are six-weeks in duration, from the week of 9/12 through the week of 10/17. Classes are 45 minutes long. Itty Bitty is on Mondays at 4 PM and Kids Club is on Thursdays at 4 PM. The rate for each series is $66. For Itty Bitty only we offer a 50% sibling discount for additional children. Registration details are available at https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home?studioid=49416. You can register online by following that link, or you are welcome to call or visit the studio and register with one of the staff. Please feel free to contact me or call Centered if you have any questions or need any further information about these classes. I hope to see lots of yoga families at Centered this fall!