By Faye Martins
Yoga is great for people of different ages, but is it beneficial in a preschool setting? The answer is a resounding yes, and here’s why.
It might be hard to imagine preschoolers successfully performing a discipline like yoga, but with the proper modifications it’s excellent for younger children. Preschoolers often have a hard time focusing during the school day, and this is usually because the child has pent up energy that needs to be spent. Offering yoga in preschool gives children a positive outlet for their physical energy, meaning that they will have improved focus and better behavior when expected to sit quietly and listen during the rest of the day.
In addition, preschoolers are known for having very active imaginations. Many preschool aged children spend their days daydreaming in their own little world. It’s easy for these kids to fall behind their peers in terms of grade level due to simple lack of attention. Imaginative children can be exceptionally bright, but they must learn to focus in order to really let their intelligence shine. For these children, yoga in preschool is a need.
Simple, age appropriate yoga poses teach young children body awareness, and also improve muscle tone and motor skills. Preschoolers are still learning about balance and what their bodies can and cannot do. Yoga supports this type of learning. In addition, the poses in yoga practice have special appeal for young children, who will be delighted to imagine themselves as the animals the poses are named for. This gives a positive creative outlet for a child’s imagination.
Learning how to sit still and focus on breathing, if only for a short span of time, will improve a child’s sense of mindfulness and reflection. Preschoolers easily lose themselves in the emotions and thoughts that they are feeling at the time, and it can be exceptionally hard for them to reset once their minds are on a specific train of thought. Preschoolers who learn how to do simple breathing exercises during a warm up or cool down will likely have an easier time switching gears during the rest of the school day, which is essential for success throughout the school years.
Preschoolers also need structure and routine more than their older counterparts in order to feel safe and secure. Having yoga as a daily part of preschool gives young children a sense of stability, because it’s something they can count on everyday.
The ideal length of a yoga session for preschoolers should be short and sweet, since the attention span of a young child isn’t very long. Fun should always be the primary focus during these workout sessions.
By offering yoga in preschool, schools can give their students a foundation of fitness and flexibility along with improved focus, which leads to greater learning. What could be better than that?
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