The Metrics of Itty Bitty Yoga
The Metrics of Itty Bitty Yoga is a fancy way of goal forecasting. It is my way of claiming: These are my intentions with your children this year; this is how we will measure success.
Beyond the meta-themes that I have previously described, including: Movement, Mindfulness & Wonder, as well as Ethics and Community (click HERE if you missed that blog), my intention is to provide these four elements in each of the upcoming Yoga Ethics Stories as I unpack the Yamas and Niyamas (click HERE if you missed that blog) throughout the Yogademic year.
I am poised to launch the “Itty Bitty Ethics Stories”, which are essentially a series of children’s books in progress. Each story will focus on one of the yamas (social ethics) or niyamas (self care ethics) and will contain each of these four elements: Planet Care, Peace Practices, Brain Gains & Social Care. Further, each story will be hosted and narrated by an animal character to help the children connect through the wonder of storytelling.
Let’s unpack the elements:
In keeping with the Montessori philosophy that children learn directly from their environment, I will offer opportunities to learn about the biggest container and widest environment within which our children are held: the planet. These conversations and skills acquisition will provide children with time to think about how much the planet supports them (providing food, shelter and natural challenges to overcome) as well as how we can in turn support the planet by taking care of our environments; both micro and macro, from our home yards to the oceans and rain forests. I will make connections between keeping an orderly work space, and how this serves the larger world by creating harmony, balance and waste reduction. I will also approach craftivism as a way to intersect art and activism, culminating in a big end of year project that will be on display at both centres. Stay tuned for the big end of year reveal!
This element may be the most obvious and require the least explanation; however, it is also one of the most important in supporting your children towards self-regulation, self-reliance and self-confidence: contemplative practices that promote peace within and without, both internally and externally. We will be practicing a variety of meditation techniques, providing your children with a robust skill set that they can both share and practice at home along with you. In the very near future, I will be posting videos and podcasts that help you to share in peace practices with your child directly, drawing from the learning we do together in the classroom.
There is a massive amount of research literature available that connects, correlates and demonstrates causality between movement and brain growth that I will be drawing on this year in order to provide the most efficient, functional and enjoyable movements for your children. I’m leaning into the science of movement, informed by yoga, embryology, ecology, biomechanics as well as the learning that I’m doing in dance and movement therapy to provide your children with movement opportunities that support optimal brain growth and development. Meditation has also been shown to have remarkable positive impacts on brains, including improving the areas of the brain responsible for executive functioning, such as planning, choice making, and understanding consequences.
Prosocial behaviours are lauded in children, especially those behaviours that demonstrate and support connections to others within the range of developmental appropriateness. I hope to take this to deeper level, in concert with Christine’s focus on character education through virtues. And this is also where ethics come into play. There won’t be a formula for behaviour, but rather evolving and emergent conversations that are both planned and take advantage of learning opportunities as they arise. Collectively with the school staff, I hope to promote an attitude of community and care between and among the children. Rather than promoting ‘being nice’ as rhetoric, I will be focusing on helping children to make choices that are based in honesty, non-violence, compassion, and that are empathetic to their peers, as well as adults.
I hope that this provides you with a sense of the landscape in finer detail. This concludes the BIG explanations about what I am doing and hope to achieve this year. From now on, the posts are intended to be more useful and practical, less theoretical. I thank you for your interest and support and as always, am here to respond to any questions or concerns you may have. I realize it is an ambitious year I have planned, but I have reduced my private practice substantially to focus on this writing and curriculum development in order to provide the richest and most scientifically supported material and experiences for your children this year. I do hope you’ll check in with me to let me know what you think. And, please be sure to ask your children what they learned in Yoga and Movement each week.
In Peace, Care and the Joy of Movement!