Updated: September 8, 2023
By Anjana Chennagiri, Pretzel Kids teacher and blog contributor
Yoga for preschool aged kids is increasingly popular in recent years. Why? Because young children can reap the same benefits of yoga and mindfulness as their school-aged friends.
Besides, teaching yoga for preschoolers is fun and rewarding! And, as a teacher, you get to be creative to keep the kids engaged and having fun, while enjoying all the benefits of yoga.
But, do you know what will help you and the youngest yogis? A yoga curriculum & lesson plans for preschool students! Read on to learn more about how yoga lesson plans for preschoolers can help you succeed as a children’s yoga instructor.
Can Preschoolers Do Yoga?
Many preschools are adding yoga as part of their enrichment programs and curriculum. Yoga classes for little ones are also popular in yoga studios and gyms.
So, can preschoolers do yoga? Are they too young for yoga? Will adding a yoga class to the child’s routine add any value?
The answer is Yes! Preschoolers can and should practice yoga? Yoga in school offers numerous physical and mental benefits. It also helps with their socio-emotional needs and instills self- confidence in growing children.
Why Is Yoga Important for Preschoolers?
The preschool age is significant when it comes to a child’s developing body and mind. Toddlers and preschoolers alike are learning new physical skills, including fine and gross motor skills, balance and coordination.
Introducing yoga to a child during this developmental phase brings so many benefits.Through simple and mindful movements they will be able to grow stronger with improved bone strength, balance, flexibility and coordination. Yoga is also a great way to enforce a sense of discipline and instill important value systems like friendship, love, sharing and caring from a very early age.
Preschoolers are also growing socially and emotionally by constantly interacting with peers and their surroundings. They are thus subjected to a lot of stimulation, which can often lead to emotional meltdowns. Yoga, in turn, can offer children much needed downtime to pause, slow down and manage their emotions better. In fact, research shows that yoga and mindfulness in a child’s routine helps with hyperactivity, anxiety and focus.
How to Use Yoga Curriculum and Lesson Plans for Preschool Students
With just a little bit of planning and preparation ahead of time, teaching a preschool yoga class can be fun, easy and rewarding.
Here are 3 tips to get started with preschool yoga lesson plans.
- Prepare yourself by understanding the age and abilities of kids in the group you will be teaching. Each child is different and has different abilities. So being inclusive in your teaching is always appreciated.
- Be prepared to create a yoga lesson plan based on the duration and length of the class. For example, adapt your lesson plan to a one-time class versus a recurring series. Or, write a yoga lesson plan geared toward whether the class is online or in-person.
- Plan your themes. Theming is a key component when it comes to how to write a preschool yoga lesson plan. Little ones need to feel connected. So, come up with fun and creative themes they can relate to. Once you have narrowed down different themes, write down and print out your lesson plan in a step-by-step format. While writing a lesson plan, consider reading books about mindfulness for kids, adding props, and incorporating yoga games and music to keep the sessions fun and engaging. Preschool kids also love coloring! So, consider coloring pages or yoga printable activities for kids.
Why Do You Need a Yoga Lesson Plan?
A lesson plan makes your class meaningful. When you follow a theme and write down a lesson plan based on that theme, every move and pose is intentional. Make sure that yoga breathing for kids is also included in your class. This leads to structure and keeps the kiddos engaged.
Having a lesson plan ready will also give you peace of mind. You don’t have to worry about what to teach on the day of the class . You can simply follow each step you have already written down and have fun. Lastly, a yoga curriculum helps you become a better yoga teacher as you instill yogic values into young hearts and minds.
Yoga Curriculum Versus Yoga Lesson Plans
Let us take a moment to differentiate between a yoga curriculum and a yoga lesson plan.
A yoga curriculum can be vast and spread over multiple sessions over a period of time. For example: “Seasons” can be a curriculum spread over four different sessions of the year.
A yoga lesson plan, on the other hand, is focused more on the individual class and covers a particular topic rather than an entire much larger curriculum. For example, An “Autumn-themed” lesson plan might be chosen from the “Seasons” curriculum.
How Do You Write Yoga Lesson Plans for Preschoolers?
Writing a yoga lesson plan comes with practice. Theming allows you to be organized, creative and bring structure to your class.
Remember that preschoolers have a short attention span, so a themed 30 to 40 minute class is more successful than a freestyle one. Themes can be chosen from your yoga curriculum and can be vast, like nature or animals. Or, it can be more conceptual, like love, friendship or sharing. From here, you can take the kids on an imaginary journey by weaving yoga poses for kids and breathing exercises that fit your theme.
To get started, practice writing the 9 steps below on a piece of paper.
- Introduction: Introduce your theme for the day.
- Breathwork: A simple breathing exercise to allow kids to settle down for the session. Write down the name of the specific breathing exercise you will be teaching
- Warmups: Write down a simple warm-up fitness routine like stretching, jumping jacks, or other stretches to help kids prepare for upcoming yoga poses.
- Sun Dance: A typical yoga class isn’t complete without sun salutes. Write down a simple sequence suitable for little kiddos or you can pick a sun salutation song and do the poses together.
- Yoga poses/story or games: Here you can read a yoga story from a book or do specific yoga poses related to your preschool lesson plan. You can also play simple yoga games for kids.
- Fun break: Do some more cooling poses to bring kids to a state of rest.
- Relaxation: Write down the name of a specific exercise/movement to lead them to Savasana. This can be repeated breathwork or a relaxation song.
- Savasana/guided meditation: Kids can be led into savasana through a short guided meditation to help them visualize beautiful things and reflect on their class. To make it easy, you can just read a written script while the kids are resting on their mats.
- Closure: Thank them for coming!
Yoga Curriculum Ideas for Preschool Students
A yoga curriculum will help you cover a wide variety of topics over a period of time and it’s also a great medium to reinforce yogic values, spark imagination, and reinforce creativity through storytelling.
Here are some yoga curriculum ideas that preschoolers can enjoy:
- Animal poses
- Bravery and courage
- Popular holidays and celebrations
- Adventure trips
- Summer vacation
- Love and friendship
Yoga Poses for Preschoolers
Kids this age don’t have to focus on alignment and mastering the pose. It is more about just having fun! However, safety is still important as preschoolers are still developing bone strength and balance. So, choosing appropriate poses for toddlers and pre-K students is key.
- Tree pose
- Boat pose
- Warrior poses
- Starfish pose
- Butterfly pose
- Cobra Pose
- Downward dog
- Tabletop pose
Mindfulness simply means being present while being aware of everything happening around you without passing any judgement.
Mindful practices for preschoolers helps them navigate through a tough day. Three simple mindfulness practices include:
- Mindful breathing breaks like belly breaths
- Mindful meditation which allows kids to close their eyes and pay attention to all the sounds they hear
- Nature walks to help kids observe the outdoors by engaging all five senses
Breathing is a great way to help kids relax their minds and bodies. Here are some simple breathing exercises to incorporate in your yoga lesson plans:
How to Explain What Yoga Is to Preschoolers
Yoga for preschoolers can be explained in kiddie terms. Start your session with a question to the preschoolers. For example, perhaps you can ask “Who here has done yoga before?” Or, “Why do you think yoga is important”?
Keep things simple by saying “yoga can make you strong and flexible”, “yoga helps us to breathe better and make our lungs stronger”, or “yoga can help us be happy.”
Tips for Teaching Yoga Lesson Plans to Preschoolers
A simple lesson plan can go a long way to help you teach a successful class. So, plan ahead and follow some tips mentioned below to help you stand out from the crowd and book those teaching gigs!
1. Bring Your Unique Personality
You have a unique teaching style and a special way of connecting with children. Maybe you have a kind voice or you have funny jokes in your back pocket. Whatever it is, bring your own personality into your classes. Make it unique. Make it yours!
2. Pick Appropriate Poses
Your lesson plans are a guide for your class. But sometimes you have to get creative and modify your classes on the go. Pick poses related to your theme or offer variations of classic poses to fit your theme. Keep poses simple and safe to practice. Try them yourself or with your own child at home before teaching in a preschool.
3. Be Patient and Confident
Teaching preschool yoga is fun and fulfilling. But it can also be tricky as kids can be moody and unpredictable. Things may not be perfect and may not go as planned. So, be patient, take a deep breath, put on a smile and carry on with confidence. Just be YOU!
Are You Ready to Teach Yoga for Preschoolers?
Teaching preschool yoga is rewarding at so many levels. You, as a teacher, can help children cope with their socio-emotional needs and calm their anxiety.
We hope that these tips on the importance of a yoga curriculum and preschool lesson plans will help you succeed at teaching yoga for kids. You’ve got this!
Anjana Chennagiri is a Pretzel Kids teacher and blog contributor.