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.
Meet them Face-to-Face
There is nothing like talking to a person face-to-face to find out what they need. You can respond to their concerns and increase your knowledge of what you need. Sure, it is easy to send a flyer, but just as easy for them to throw it into the waste bin without even reading it.
Find out when the best time to talk to the principal, supervisor, teacher, or get in front of the Parent Association. Each school has its own schedule and there are times when the supervisor is in the classroom for support. Try a quick questions when kids are dropped off or picked up, to ask when a good time to make an appointment, and remember this is usually too busy a time to have a conversation! Be aware of what is going on around you and respectful of their time, and make an effort to fit into their schedule so you can talk face-to-face.
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 if it is available, if not talk to teachers to get more information. 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. There was a time when the aim was 23 students or fewer in primary classes. But with budget cuts, we know these numbers fluctuate. 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 Education/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.
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: Especially When 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. Don’t forget the first point, try to talk to someone in person.
Even if you don’t get a booking, really listen to their feedback, concerns, and problems so that you can find ways to help them in the future or to help others with the same concerns.
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
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