By Tvisha Patel, Pretzel Kids contributing writer
Are you looking for a fulfilling job or side hustle?
Well, teaching yoga in schools may be the right fit for you!
Yoga can be very beneficial for kids, regardless of their age. To that end, schools have started to recognize the importance of yoga and mindfulness, and have implemented programs both during the school day and via afterschool programs.
This is where you come in! Schools, kids and parents need you! So, maybe it is time that you give some serious thought to how to teach yoga in schools.
Well, guess what? We have got you covered! Read on to learn how to get started teaching yoga in schools. We will dive into registered children’s yoga teacher training programs, how to choose the right teacher training course for you, how to teach yoga in schools, why yoga should be taught in the classroom, and how to be the best yoga teacher.
Ready, set, let’s do this!
Can I Teach Yoga In Schools?
Great question! Teaching yoga in schools is a fulfilling job which provides loads of benefits to children. Plus, there are tons of teaching opportunities. For example, several schools are looking for yoga instructors, and many municipalities have after-school programs which offer yoga classes as well.
Do I Need Certification and Insurance to Teach Yoga in Schools?
To teach yoga at schools, you will need to first make sure you practice your own skills, build qualities that will help you teach kids, and perhaps earn a kids yoga certification. Although there are no laws that make it mandatory to take a yoga teacher training course, every state and hiring entity has different requirements. So, it’s important to do your research so you understand what you need to teach yoga in schools.
It’s also recommended that you purchase yoga and fitness liability insurance. While some schools don’t require this, liability insurance offers you protection wherever you teach. So, before you start teaching, make sure you do your research and ask the administrator what type of certification and insurance you need.
Are There Other Legal Requirements for Teaching Yoga in School?
You may have several questions about how certification programs work and whether there are other legal requirements for teaching yoga in school. While you can potentially find work without a certification, a children’s teacher training course will certainly help you build your skills and stand out. Not only will you have a great time learning, but you will have an easier time getting jobs.
Where should you start with all the research and preparation? Don’t worry, we will discuss various yoga teacher training certifications, how to start teaching yoga after training, and much more below. But first…..
What Qualifications do you Need to be a Yoga Instructor?
As we noted above, a kids yoga certification may not be mandatory, but it’s certainly helpful! Likewise, some studios require that you are also a registered yoga teacher (RYT).
If you’re considering taking a yoga teacher training, be sure to research available options, both online and in person. Some programs have longer commitment times, while others are more flexible. The classic one is a 200-hour RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) certification. This kind of yoga teacher training helps you learn yoga techniques, methodology, philosophy, lifestyle and more. This type of certification is also approved by the Yoga Alliance.
If you want to teach kids yoga, you can also take an online course. Pretzel Kids is a great fit for anyone looking to teach kids yoga. Plus, there are no prerequisites when enrolling in the Pretzel Kids Method Course (and you do NOT have to be an RYT or adult yoga teacher first!)
Pretzel Kids gives you a proven way to start your journey! Plus, you can become a licensed Pretzel Kids instructor with tons of support from the amazing Pretzel Kids community. That’s not all….You’ll gain access to the Pretzel Kids web platform to get directly hired by schools, camps, studios and more!
With the right skills, certification and positive attitude, you’ll be teaching kids yoga in schools in no time.
Why Yoga Should be Taught in Schools
Many schools have realized how stress and daily lifestyle can impact kids. For that reason, many educators and administrators are implementing yoga in classrooms.
Benefits of Teaching Yoga in School
Yoga encourages kids to focus, become more balanced, get physically fit, and be more mindful. Indeed, yoga helps kids with anxiety.
Furthermore, by practicing poses, children get to take a break from academics and school. While doing so, they will improve their focus, which helps increase attention span. Mindful meditation also helps students focus on being in the present moment.
Here’s Another Reason to Teach Yoga in the Classroom
In today’s generation, kids are often stuck on their phones during their free time. This can have negative effects on their physical bodies and mental well-being. Implementing yoga in schools, however, gives students the chance to get away from their phones and enjoy a physical activity that becomes incorporated into their daily routines. It’s a win-win situation!
What Do I Need to Teach Yoga in Schools?
Now, for the biggest question on your mind: What do I need to teach kids yoga in school?
Good question! Teaching yoga to kids is different from working with adults in a traditional yoga class. You have to be organized and structured while making it fun and exciting. Remember: kids have different attention spans than adults, therefore you have to work smart and ensure that your lesson plan keeps them focused and excited. There are also different yoga games you can play to keep your classes engaging.
Matching the energy of the kids is also important! This means being playful, flexible, outgoing and more. After all, creating a connection through your personality will make the kiddos want to continue attending classes.
Having a lesson plan will make everything much more clear and meaningful. You will also feel more calm when you have an organized structure to follow rather than just doing poses without a class plan.
To begin, consider creating lesson plans that incorporate different themes. This makes each class different and exciting. For example, if it’s a specific holiday like Halloween or Thanksgiving, you can incorporate some holiday spirit into the class. Your classes can also be themed around different animals or characters. Bring out the inner child in you and have fun!
This is more a matter of logistics, but to teach in a school setting you’ll need to have ample space to spread out mats. So make sure you have a large enough classroom or perhaps have access to the gym or cafeteria. If the weather participates and there is space outdoors, this is even better!
Depending on where you teach, you may need to bring your own yoga mats. So, it’s a good idea to purchase 10 mats to start, and be ready to carry them in and out of schools with you. Alternatively, you can ask the school to provide the mats and have them waiting for you to set up when you arrive to teach your class.
Yoga for School: Teaching Tips
Here’s our top tip: Always be patient and confident. For many kids, yoga is new to them and it may require extra focus and energy. You may even face situations where they’re not paying attention, so you’ll have to learn how to interact with them. With confidence and patience, we know you can do this!
Participate with the Kids
To keep the kids engaged, it’s important that you participate in the activities with them and bring your yoga A-game. During yoga poses where focus is needed, you can shift into a more calming persona with a soothing voice. When playing games and doing other yoga activities, however, you can incorporate a bubbly and outgoing personality.
Make It Fun
For the most part, children aren’t going to follow you if all you do is a series of poses. So, you’ll need to mix it up with a fun lesson plan and activities. Here at Pretzel Kids, we have loads of fun yoga games you can try regardless of the size of your class. However, if you are teaching a large group, check out this list of fab yoga games for large groups of kids!
Keep It Moving
As we mentioned above, lesson plans are key to keep your student focused. They will also help you keep the classes moving along.
Here’s a sample of a basic lesson plan:
- Introduction: You can introduce yourself, which will also give the kids a hint of your personality. You can also introduce any fun yoga games you have planned.
- Warmup: The participants may have been sitting in class all day so it’s important to get them moving before doing any postures. You can incorporate calming breathing exercises first, then warm up movements like jumping jacks, lunges, stretches etc.
- Yoga poses: You can start with sun salutations and then incorporate poses like downward dog, mountain pose, child’s pose etc. Remember to do fun themed poses as well.
- Yoga games: You can plan themed games or fun activities to give the kids a break from the typical poses!
- Mindful meditation: This can help relieve anxiety and improve focus. You can include deep breathing exercises and positive affirmations as well.
- Closing: Conclude the class with relaxing breathing or a fun song. Say goodbye and remind them to join next time!
Have Schools Been Banning the Teaching of Yoga?
If you’ve read stories about schools banning yoga, don’t let that deter you. This is not a widespread issue and in fact, according to The Guardian and other news outlets, the state of Alabama lifted a 30-year-long ban on teaching yoga in public schools. Starting in 2021, yoga is allowed to be taught in its public schools (yet using the word ‘namaste’ and chanting ‘om’ are still prohibited).
The bottom line: It’s very rare that you’ll have an issue teaching yoga in schools due to outdated laws.
Should Schools Teach Kids to Meditate?
We’ve already touched on the importance of mindfulness meditation in this article. Weaving meditation into yoga classes is key as this helps children deal with their monkey minds and relax. Plus, social emotional learning (SEL) is more than a buzzword. Many school districts are implementing SEL and meditation is a key component of this.
Are There Any Negatives to Teaching Yoga in School?
Honestly, we can’t think of any negatives as yoga can have so many physical and mental health benefits. If you find that some children do not like it, you can always use the tips in this article to keep them engaged and make the classes fun. What have you got to lose?
It’s Your Time to Teach Yoga in Schools!
Once you figure out what you need to teach in school and discover why you should teach in school, you may discover that this is your true calling.
Starting a new journey may seem like a lot at first, but with the right steps and the tips we’ve outlined above, you can do it. And just think: Teaching yoga in schools is beneficial for the youngsters and YOU!
Tvisha Patel is a blog writer at Pretzel Kids. She loves doing yoga in her downtime and is currently a business student at Schulich School of Business – York University, in Ontario, Canada. Tvisha also enjoys exploring nature, music and photography!