Top 3 Tips for Teaching in a Preschool Classroom

1. Define your time.

Most children thrive on structure and schedules, and preschool is normally their first formal introduction to having a schedule outside of the home. Students typically have choreographed days from the time they step foot into school until the minute they get picked up. However, it’s very rare things go according to plan every second of the day.

To combat this - make sure your class is clearly incorporated into the flow of the day, both for your sake and the teachers. If you can help it, yoga shouldn’t be the first or last class of the day. While it may be possible for you to “squeeze in” a few moments of yoga into the day, preschoolers typically need a longer time to settle down and tune in. You don’t want to feel rushed, so the key is giving yourself as much “flex” time as possible. This could mean making sure you have plenty of time to give yourself at the start of class, and having a buffer at the end of class to accomodate any unexpected circumstances.

  • Typically in-school yoga teachers “push in,” aka go to the kids, not wait for them. Personally, I ask every teacher to have the students “set up,” when I get in the room. This means they’ve already gone to the bathroom, washed our hands, cleaned up, etc. and are waiting on their “mats” for me without distractions.

2. Define the space.

If you have mats for all your students, perfect! This step is already done for you. If you don’t have mats - that’s fine too! Most schools don’t have enough for every student, and teachers are not expected to provide one for every child. This just means that you’re going to have to get creative with where the students will “take class.”

Typically with students this young, it’s easy to gather on a large rug/carpet. However be sure to keep in mind the implications of classroom teaching- if there’s nothing distinguishing yoga time from story time, the possibility for distractions increases. While it may be impossible for you to

  • Give each student a cut out circle made of felt (that way it’s harder to slip on softer, carpeted surfaces). These can be used to sit on, stand on, put one foot on while you balance with the other, etc. Not only are the circles defining personal space for each yogi, the shapes also serve as a prop!

3. Define your theme.

Every kids yoga class should feel like you’re taking them on a journey. Where? To see what? That’s up to you! Unlike adult yoga classes that consist solely of asanas, children's yoga requires more creativity and sometimes more effort. Some themes I’ve used in the past:

  • Ocean (jellyfish, seal, fish, starfish, and surfer poses)

  • Safari (lion’s breath, giraffe, elephant, cheetah, and crocodile poses)

  • Winter (snowflake, snow angel, snowball, sledding, and “zipper exercise”)

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