Available in Dundee, yoga for pre-K classes
DUNDEE--In an effort to help children deal with their emotions as they get older, the Dundee school district is providing yoga instruction for every pre-K class in the elementary school. Children and teachers together perform Radiant Child Yoga under the instruction of Dee Anderson, who along with being a yoga instructor is a retired occupational therapist who used to work in-district.
"I feel it is so important to give these children early tools that can help them in their role as a student. I am most happy when I help children help themselves, and Yoga gives them tools to focus and concentrate on their role as a student," Anderson said.
Paid for through a $3,500 grant from the Yates Community Foundation, Caryl Sutterby, coordinator for Our Town Rocks, said yoga for children fits into Our Town Rocks' health improvement initiative.
"Generations of kids are damaged by not knowing how to handle stress, so we are trying to give them more tools to deal with life in a positive manner and react to life situations correctly instead of acting out in some way, shape or form," said Sutterby.
Sutterby went on to say that by giving children the tools to handle problems as they get older they are being given a foundation on which to build instead of doing patchwork when already under duress as they get older.
"This program is geared to help students, and by extension their families, with better health both mental and physical," Sutterby said.
Anderson said that through Yoga even small children can learn self-discipline, calming techniques and improve spatial awareness.
"I see it increasing their confidence, they are more aware of their breath and how it affects them, but the most important for children is that it is fun," Anderson said.
By keeping it fun, Anderson said it helps children remain engaged.
"For four year olds, you would think that laying still would be hard, but they love it. We do a deep relaxation, laying on the back at the end, to relax. When I ask what's the favorite part of Yoga it's always the relaxation part," Anderson said.
Just like adults, children also need quiet time, Anderson said.
"Kids can be as over-scheduled and busy as adults and I think this gives them permission to slow down, relax and pay attention to their breathing and bodies. They take it very well I think," Anderson said.
Yoga is taught to the children once a week Thursday mornings with Anderson going into each class individually.
"Teachers also join in and do yoga with me, which helps to show the children it is an important thing to do. And doing it first thing in the morning is a wonderful way to enter into their day, and it's the same for teachers," Anderson said.
By doing Yoga together, Anderson said that the relationship between teachers and students is strengthened along with improving the mental and physical health of everyone participating.
"It's good all around," Anderson said.