Sunday, September 27, 2009


This is my first year to teach five year olds.  After teaching grade school girls for so many years, this is an adjustment.  Besides making my lessons simpler, I know I need to bring in more activity and flexibility.

For each lesson, I plan to sing songs, do some yoga for kids, as well as have a lesson, most often using a story book.  For yoga, I drew upon this great DVD.  Promising positions to me:
  • B is for Butterfly
  • F is for Friendly Flowers
  • H is for Hot Air Balloon
  • K is for Kissing Pose
  • M is for Moo Meow
  • O is for Om
  • P is for Pedal Laughing
  • Y is for Yoga
Through the year, I end up using F is for Friendly Flowers pretty much every time.  It works well as a way to bring us together as a group, and settle down for the rest of the lesson.  H and M work out well as ways to allow the kids to release some energy as they get restless.

Songs I expect to use from our Dharma School Songbook:
I plan to use Respect Polka every time as a way to acknowledge each child in turn, and Buddha Power every time as a signal we are about to have snack.  I'm not a great singer, especially as a lead, but kids don't worry about that, so I plan to use these songs that either are regularly sung in the larger group, or are easy for me to sing and the kids to learn.

If Peace Is...The order may vary depending on the restlessness of the kids, but my usual plan is to start with F is for Flower yoga, a simple checkin, a song, a story, Buddha Power song, snack, cleanup, then a craft activity.

For this first lesson, I introduce the idea of Bodhisattvas, and I use the book If Peace Is....  I find quickly that these kids will do well with more complicated books.  They sit quietly and I have plenty of time for extra yoga positions and songs.  With the older girls, I usually kept the first lesson simple and introductory, as they were busy catching up with each other after their summer off.  In this case, I find the kids don't know their place yet, so they listen quietly and aren't very restless.  For a craft activity, I keep it simple, using this image of various people circling the world.  A Google image search, limited to line art, is a Dharma School teacher's friend.  It was a Sunday School image for Christians; I used an image editor to modify it and make it more secular, adding a mandala to the center.