"Miss Amy! Are we going to play Triangle Tag again?"
Others chimed in, "Yeah! Yeah! I love that game, can we play it again? PLEASE?!"
Whether they realized it or not, the kids had mastered a yoga pose and a sometimes difficult lesson in teamwork during this high-energy game the week before. I was proud of my new yogis, and didn't have the heart to squash their enthusiasm. Yet, I had so many new poses and activities to share! I was completely torn.
Later, I asked some other instructors for their thoughts, and found that this is a common dilemma in kids' classes. Although it's fun and worthwhile to bring something new to each lesson, often times kids, especially the younger age groups, need repetition week after week to engage in class, gain confidence in their practice and stay focused.
In my experience, the younger the child, the more you repeat. Toddler classes are the most fun when kids and caregivers participate in songs, rhymes, poses and activities. It takes several classes to absorb all of this material, especially when the typical toddler is toddling away from the group at least part of the time!
Kids around ages four through six are capable of taking in a few new things each week, but generally, 80% of the class format should be consistent week to week.
Lisa Flynn, founder of ChildLight Yoga, says "This is the age where they are building their independence and repetition empowers and encourages. As well, it provides a way for them to recognize and know what is coming next, which helps tremendously with their engagement."
As your class participants get older, you can introduce new material each week, especially as you plan different themes or intentions. However, the opening warm-up sequences and closing messages may be the same each week, providing some degree of consistency and flow to class.
Some kids love to remember the different names one pose may have. For instance, the traditional child's pose may be seed in a garden-themed class, or park bench in an imaginary visit to the playground. It's fun to test your students' memory by asking them what other names that pose may have. They will even come up with new ones you may not have thought of! — Amy Bevan