Albert Einstein: “Learning is experience. Everything else is just information.”
Did you know that key literacy milestones are impossible to achieve without certain motor milestones having been mastered? The process of acquiring specific motor skills wire the neural connections that help make reading and writing accessible and, eventually, masterful, fluid activities.
Did you know that without loving, supportive, safe bonds with adults and peers, children will experience emotional and mental stress, which has been directly tied with learning & emotional development delays?
Can you see the feedback loop? Learning is multi-dimensional.
Many paths nourish the learning body, mind, and heart, and those paths are not separate, but profoundly interconnected. Movement impacts the healthy function of the brain, emotions affect our state of mind, our state of mind influences our emotions, emotions influence movement patterns, etc.
Our children are not simply “blossoming minds” – they are each, in and of themselves, an entire blossoming universe of connections and possibilities. With Scooter & Me Action Adventure Series you can:
1) Support multi-dimensional /experiential learning.
Our yoga stories are built on a multi-dimensional model of experiential learning and divided into 3 units: Body, Mind, and Heart. Each unit builds upon and reinforces the others.
2) Increase cognitive abilities.
Yoga poses, Brain Gym® activities, creative movement, and specific exercises are integrated into the choreography. The sustained active play increases the heart rate and, in turn, the secretion of neurotropic factors into the bloodstream such as BDNF, which Harvard Psychiatrist Dr. John Ratey describes as “miracle grow for the brain.”
3) Strengthen fine and gross motor skill development.
The Body Series, emphasizes the basics of physical development, giving your child the opportunity to practice & master strength balance, flexibility and complex coordination.
4) Enhance early literacy skills
Yoga stories invite kids to physically follow a narrative, which reinforces early literacy-building skills. Combine storytelling with rhythm, rhyme, and follow-along fun – you get a triple dose of literacy-boosting activity.
5) Support social-emotional development
Adventure Skills are yoga Brain Gym® based self care and self-regulation skills that support your child’s social-emotional development. These simple techniques are used within the story so children understand that they can use them like the characters do to calm and center themselves as needed to overcome obstacles and make smart choices.
6) Defuse stress
The Adventure Skills give you and your students or children a new fun vocabulary of activities to share for diffusing stress. Now when things get tense, hectic, frustrating, irritating, confusing, etc. everyone can breathe and support them selves in specific ways that really work. With the ability to self-regulate, kids can be a lot more relaxed and productive.
7) Enjoy easy access to support and guidance tools
The posted Parent / Teacher Guide provides you with ideas for related activities, discussion, and co-creative time, as well as a complete list of our Adventure Skills, with pictures, instructions, and explanations. Use this guide to reinforce and expand on the lessons in the Kids Yoga DVD stories. And look for full 28-week curriculum for purchase and download in the Fall 2012.
Affirmations and mantras are terrific tools that children can use to resource/support themselves. They help them develop a healthy sense of self as well as a positive mental-social-emotional mindsets.
Affirmations are short; positive “I am” statements that call you into an intentional way of being. They should be accompanied by a visual image and inspire visceral sensations. When you use affirmation, you should experience yourself as you are declaring.
Mantras are words, sounds, statements or slogans repeated frequently as a way to attune with an intentional energy or quality.
Affirmations and Mantras change how we feel
Affirmations become mantras when they are repeated over and over to oneself, out loud or silently. They change how we feel by aligning and attuning body, mind and heart around a life-enhancing aspiration. In other words, affirmations are another technique for kids to use to set themselves up for doing their best and feeling good about their efforts.
Read also: Help Kids Build Confidence with Good Posture & Core Strength
Affirmations help children understand that, like the food they eat, the thoughts they think also shape how they feel and behave. All of the body-mind self-care tools in our self-regulation flash card set include a poem to be chanted while doing the activity. The words of the chant support children in remembering how to do the exercise and call them into a new way of being. When repeated, the practice and the shift in feeling become an embodied habit.
Step 1 – Notice
In using affirmation with kids, it’s important to encourage them to first notice if there are any repetitive thoughts already going on. If they are playing fearful, negative tunes such as: I can’t do this. I’m afraid. I’m not good enough. I’m ugly. I’m stupid. Then, of course, they will feel self-doubt, anxiety or anger. And, if that’s how they are seeing themselves, of course, they will have a hard time seeing the good in the people and events around them. Acknowledge if this is going on and let kids know that it’s normal and that everyone deals with those voices.
Step 2 – Change the music!
Then, invite them to change the music. Lead everyone in miming. Encourage them to pretend to change the radio station or access a new playlist that plays lyrics such as:
I am healthy and strong.
I am confident and capable.
I learn best at my own pace.
I am safe.
I am loved.
Step 3 – Visualize
It’s empowering for kids to act out physically what they are choosing to do mentally. This allows them to disengage with negative thinking and attune instead to a positive affirmation. As they repeat the affirmation to themselves, coach them to see themselves that way – reading well, climbing to the top of the jungle gym, making friends, etc. Give them time to notice how imagining it allows them to also feel it in their whole being.
My favorite book of beautifully illustrated affirmations for young children is artist Connie Bowen’s, I Believe in Me. When I was first teaching, it inspired me to use affirmations and visualizations with my students daily. Very quickly, I noticed the beneficial impact on attitudes, behavior choices, and the ability to self-regulate.
“Adults are just obsolete children and the hell with them.”
Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) wrote these words about what he thought of writing for adults.
What did he think we adults were missing that children are not missing?
How about the nonsensical/sensical beauty and wisdom of this?
“When beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles
and the bottle’s on a poodle and the poodle’s eating noodles – they call this a muddle puddle tweetle poodle beetle noodle
bottle paddle battle.”
We’ve always thought Dr. Seuss’ work was just as full of joy and wisdom for grown-ups as for kids. We’ve never outgrown him. Nor the other tales of our childhood. When he spoke derisively of adults in the quote above, we think he was thinking of a certain kind of adult, one who would never understand – or perhaps no one had mirrored for them lovingly in their childhood this simple truth: “A person’s a person no matter how small.”
Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! We are grateful for your wisdom and guidance and love of childhood and its smallest, wisest inhabitants, in whose number we remain, at heart.
Find a patch of sunshine near a window or go outdoors into your yard or on your porch (If you can’t get your child out of bed, just open the curtains, and let the sunshine in. Together, reach your arms up, come up as high as you can on your tippy-toes and reach for the sun! Hold on and bring the sun into your heart (arms fold in, hands to heart, as if gathering in sunshine, like a bouquet of flowers).
With your hands still on your heart lightly, take a nice deep breath in and let the sunshine expand in your heart (usually the kids like to exaggerate this and pretend like they are puffing up like big balloons – just let your child act it out however they wish)
Now, exhale, let it go …..and share the sunshine with all of your friends (let your arms open out wide as you exhale, like you are giving the sunshine away to everyone)!
You can do this a few times. You can name someone you want to share your sunshine with, specifically, but always remember to end, sharing it with the whole world. After all, that’s what the sun does – share her energy with each and every one of us. It’s a good lesson for all of us, and gets your morning in motion full of appreciation for the sunshine all around you, right in this moment, reminding you that each day is full of potential to be wondrous and glorious!
Below are 4 different breathing exercises to share with your children followed by a video demonstration.
Conscious breathing is simple to learn.
Start integrating the 4 different breaths below into your day – at circle time, meal time, transition time, drive time. Support children in regularly practicing by pausing periodically and taking the time to breathe consciously. Encourage them to notice and name how the different breathing exercises affect how they feel and think and behave.
Remind kids to use conscious breathing to help them manage their feelings and shift their own mind-body state, the same way you would other healthy habits such as teeth brushing, saying “please” and “thank you,” lining up for recess, cleaning up after themselves, etc.
Read also: Breathing Techniques that Develop Self Regulation
When you model connecting with the power of conscious breathing and encourage your students and children to explore it for themselves, you give them a way to cultivate their own inner wisdom and strength.
Flower Breath: Imagine smelling a beautiful flower, breathe in through the nose and out the mouth, releasing any tension. Stop and smell the roses, daffodils, daisies or any other flower they like. This is a simple way to connect kids to their breath and how it helps them to feel.
Hissing Breath: Breathe in the nose, long deep inhale, and out the mouth on a hissing sound, slow and long. Extending the exhale will allow kids to slow down their inner speed. It’s wonderful to connect kids to their exhale to help them learn to slow themselves down, mentally and physically.
Bear Breath: Inhale through the nose, pause; exhale out the nose, pause. Breathe in to a count of 3 or 4, pause for a count of 1 or 2; breath out for a count of 3 or 4, pause for a count of 1 or 2. Repeat a few times. This will help ground and settle kids. Wonderful for restful, reflective time. Imagine a bear hibernating. Helpful before nap time, story time or any creative activity.
Bunny Breath: Just 3 quick sniffs in the nose and one long exhale out the nose. Invite kids to pretend to be bunnies, sniffing the air for other bunnies, carrots to eat, or safety. It can be a lovely cleansing breath when you use it in this way. You can also use it when kids are very upset and can’t find their breath, because it will help them connect to their exhale, so that they breathe instead of spin out.
A Life-Long Tool for Managing Stress
When we teach breathing exercises to kids, we give them a life-long tool for managing their stress and cultivating inner peace. Each and every one of us has the ability to feel calmer, more relaxed, and more alert at any given moment. This ability is called “Conscious Breathing”. Whenever we use it, we are less stressed, more mindful, more creative and just plain cooler and kinder.
When we focus on breathing fully and deeply, we move out of our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight ) into our parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation and receptivity). When we consciously connect with and manipulate our breath, we plug into the communication highway, linking body and mind, with the messages we want to send. With specific breathing exercises, we can calm, soothe, support or energize our”state” as needed.