How to Start a Kids Yoga Program at a School

An empty playground, soon to be filled with children.

Back to school looms closer and closer.  This is good news for kids yoga teachers interested in finding new classes.   Here are some pointers, from experience, on how to get a kids yoga program into a school.

How Well Do You Know Your School System?
The first thing to do is to get to know your school system and curriculum and this is where we give thanks for the internet. Search your city name and “education,” “Ministry,” or “Board” until you find the official government website.

You’re about to learn a new language – the one used by your school.  Write your proposal using the language from their curriculum NOT yoga language.  You won’t find a single requirement for chakra opening in a school curriculum.  Each school system has their own vernacular, learn it and use it as much as possible in your proposal.

Physical Education Curriculum:
What is it called and what are the curriculum requirements.  In my area (Ontario, Canada) the Health and Physical Education program is divided into “Strands” (see what I mean about language!).

There are three strands in Grades 1 – 8, and four in high school.  When you’ve got a good idea of how your yoga program enhances the curriculum, then who do you talk to?  Usually its the Physical Education Department Head.

Class Sizes – How Many Can You Teach?
Also look on the website for the typical class size.  This will help you determine how many classes you can teach at a time.  If you put two classes together, one teacher can stay for yoga while the other gets to catch up on other work.  It also cuts down on expenses.  My area tries for 23 students or fewer in primary classes.  Put your class size limits in your proposal as well as how many classes you can teach in a row.

Professional Development for Teachers:
Can you sweeten the package by adding a free class to teachers at the staff meeting if they book you for a minimum number of classes?  Talk to the department head, VP or Principal of the school about how you can save them money and time.

Other Types of Education in the Curriculum:
Examples:  Stress Management, Character Development, Healthy Schools initiative, Michelle Obama introduced the Let’s Move program.  Tap into these with kids yoga.  Please share any grants you know of in the comments!

Lunch-Time or After School Classes:
These classes usually involve charging each student enrolled.  If you can get high numbers you can keep the cost down and still make a living.  Approach the Parent Board at the school as a way in.

Daycare Classes:
Some regions offer daycare programs for after school.  Approach the daycare manager about doing a weekly class in each room.

Make someone’s life easier.
Who ever you approach, make their life easier.  No one wants a program that means more work!  Deliver a great kids class.  If you can’t, get the yoga and kids yoga training to do it. You’ve got to know how to manage and run a kids yoga class or you’re program won’t last.

Become a Reliable Resource for the School
Most of the places I teach kids yoga, I’ve gone to for over 7 years, some schools for 10 years!  It’s better to return to a school rather then to keep finding new classes.  If you make the whole program stress-free, they will want you back and this is good for everybody.

The Time is Now:  The Week Before School Starts
All this information is very timely!  There is a window right before school starts where the teachers are back to work but the students aren’t.  In Ontario the teachers start back on Sept. 1 but the children don’t come back till Sept. 7.  Find the window and go in with a proposal.  Or wait a month till the back to school rush is over. You may be able to help the teachers meet their requirements.

All the best to everyone out there working to increase kids health and happiness.  Please feel free to add any insights or links you have to the comments and let’s get more kids doing yoga!

Aruna Kathy Humphrys
www.YoungYogaMasters.com

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Comments

  1. Thanks Kathy
    This is a brilliant help. I have been asked to put my first proposal together for a primary school and this has been wonderful.
    Thanks
    Rocci

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  3. Casey Schmidt says:

    Thank you for the post. I am just getting started and basic article helped with some of the research questions I had. Any tips on how to present or exactly what to present?

  4. Great post Kathy! This answers the question we get from so many teachers. So important to gain the buy in from the administration first. I would also recommend meeting first with the principal, then getting 10 minutes to do a presentation at the start of a regularly scheduled staff meeting to gain the buy in of the staff. The progam will be much more successful if the teachers understand the value of it.

    Thanks again!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Know who to approach at the school: Depending on the atmosphere at your school you may want to approach from a few directions to get yoga into a school.  This article, based on an interview I did with a school Vice Principal (soon to be Principal) will give you tons of ideas for approaching department heads, parent advisory boards, and principals:  How to Start a Kids Yoga Program at a School. [...]

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