Yoga in the Montessori Classroom

“…The true goal of motion is much larger than to supply an urge for food or strengthen the lungs; it’s to serve the ends of existence, the common and religious economies of nature.” Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Thoughts

Not solely was Maria Montessori an educator and a psychologist, she was additionally a yogi, albeit an Italian one. The phrase “yoga” means “union”, and this union refers to physique, thoughts, and spirit. In her guide The Absorbent Thoughts, Montessori tells us, “…motion has nice significance in psychological growth itself, supplied that the motion which happens is related with the psychological exercise occurring. Each psychological and religious progress are fostered by this…” For college students of any age, yoga reveals a path to our innermost selves. On the identical time, it helps us create our personal particular place on the planet round us. Yoga, like Montessori training, is a technique of discovery.

Purposeful motion is an integral a part of the Montessori curriculum. For the previous six years, the Houston Montessori Middle has supplied yoga because the motion curriculum for the early childhood trainer coaching. Interns discover ways to incorporate nature themes right into a fundamental routine that features actions in all instructions. Kids get pleasure from imitating the animals whereas studying how their our bodies really feel within the totally different poses (“asanas”). Yoga for Kids, a guide by Mary Stewart and Kathy Phillips, is a wonderful useful resource for academics or mother and father exploring yoga for the early childhood classroom or for the house.

Publish Oak Faculty’s Mirani Smith consists of yoga as a part of the person work in her major classroom. Supplies embrace Imaginazium’s Yoga Equipment for Youngsters and a delegated rug or mat. “Mainly, the kids have permission to make use of the yoga playing cards anytime all through the day, and what appears to be taking place now could be each time they arrive to a degree throughout their work when they should take the initiative to maneuver on, they’re coming to me and saying, ‘Perhaps I want to make use of yoga to get began with one thing else, or to have extra vitality to work, or to calm my physique.’ ” Mirani notes that the kids have internalized yoga and are utilizing it in ways in which work for them as people. “It is superb that the kids who really want it are those who’re doing it.”

Yoga playing cards are chosen three or 4 instances a day. Mirani, who had knee surgical procedure awhile again, provides, “Since I can not do most of it, I am going to inform them, ‘Present me how!’ ”

One other means to make use of yoga within the classroom is to include poses into the precise classes in order that youngsters use their our bodies as kinesthetic studying instruments. For instance, a lesson on forests would possibly embrace applicable asanas comparable to tree or mouse. A shapes lesson would possibly embrace triangle pose or making circles with the arms. Many letters of the alphabet can be created with the physique.

As youngsters attain elementary age, their our bodies develop firmer and it turns into extra vital for them to work with a skilled yoga trainer or an skilled practitioner who can observe physique alignment and make corrections if crucial. “If it hurts, do not do it!” is a vital rule for yogis of all ages who be taught to just accept accountability for their very own our bodies. As a result of yoga shouldn’t be aggressive, it provides a wholesome different to organized sports activities. On the identical time, it supplies a complementary type of coaching for younger athletes needing to boost their efficiency.

Elementary youngsters may deepen their understanding of how the poses profit the physique/thoughts. One exuberant but reasonably wobbly six-year-old found focus whereas training tree pose, a one-legged place. As this little one focused on her pose, her standing leg stabilized and her eyes grew rounder and rounder… Maybe she discovered different methods to use that lesson!

By adolescence, college students can work extra abstractly with yoga. Many younger individuals must work with specific areas within the physique because of sports activities or different actions. Gender variations additionally change into extra obvious at this age. Younger girls are usually extra versatile and should want to develop power; younger males typically favor to stretch. Due to this fact, it’s typically useful to show them individually. But virtually all college students profit from rest practices, which might ease the stresses of adolescence.

A thoughtfully designed yoga curriculum works nicely as a part of a highschool P.E. program and encourages progress at each degree: bodily, emotional, psychological and religious. Montessori teenagers can take part extra absolutely in creating objectives for themselves as people and for the category as an entire. Extra superior practices comparable to respiratory, meditation, and philosophy will be launched to those younger adults. Highschool college students typically face intense pressures and may profit vastly from common meditation and rest practices. One younger lady even credited yoga with saving lives as a result of it helped her cope along with her highway rage.

The philosophy and practices of yoga are very appropriate with Montessori ideas. As a system of lifelong studying and evolution, yoga invitations us to maintain discovering. And apart from all that, IT’S FUN! Absolutely Maria Montessori would approve.

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