At MY Kindergarten our morning Yoga routine helps us learn English words and phrases in a thoroughly immersive way. Kids learn new words by experiencing first-hand how plants grow, leaves and branches move in the wind, butterflies fly, the rain falls down, bridges stand, rocks lie on the ground, and so on. In the process of learning new words, listening to and following instructions, we learn how to use our bodies to feel more connected (with ourselves and others) and to celebrate the power of our physical capabilities.
Flexibility in practice
Surprisingly, when I let students make a pose of their choice, they always choose the most challenging ones.
Learning how to express our gratitude to nature with a customized chant and a “homemade” poster
This customized Yoga exercise will be part of our mini performance which I will share more about in a post later on.
Up and down, back and forth
It fills my heart every time I hear the kids say “I want to try”, when they are introduced to a new and challenging pose.
Twisted or not, we are part of the animal kingdom
We are part of nature
Experimenting with the abilities of our bodies
Meditation and relaxing music
We wrap-up every morning session with 2-3 minutes of relaxing music while discerning the hidden sounds such as running water, breaking waves, piano, and so on. Other times, we listen to traditional Japanese music and that’s when once I had one of the most touching experiences. Instead of listening to the music without talking, some of the kids were giggling or chatting. Once the music was over, one of the students turned to the misbehaving kids and exclaimed in a reproaching manner “Everyone, this is Japanese music!”
We work on breathing by imagining we are holding a small piece of cake and blowing a candle.
Displaying our achievements and taking pride in ourselves
Our Yoga exercises also open up some space for creativity and imagination by brainstorming and giving names to certain unnamed poses. We named this pose “Heart”
It is so cute to see children start making yoga poses during our story time when they hear certain familiar words such as bridge (“The Race” by Tim Archbold) or see images such as that of a boat in picture books (“Water” by Frank Asch).