Preschool is an amazing place for learning, exploring, socializing and fun. Of course any gathering of small children also needs quiet and peaceful times. The quiet time is not just to give the kids (and teacher!) a break, but also to simply learning enjoy being peaceful
Here are some easy ideas to try in the preschool classroom:
Sharing energy by sitting back t back
A very simple strategy is to let the children sit in pairs, back to back during independent activities. As an example, a child playing with blocks sits close to another child who is coloring. However, they sit on the floor with their backs facing each other. Physical closeness gives childrens a real sense of kinship with each other. It gives them belonging, comfort and warmth.
Sitting back to back, the children can focus on their own activities. Plus they are less likely to engage in the “fun” of distracting each other. Keep changing the pair, so that each the children get a chance to bond with all of their classmates.
Yoga for kids
Incorporate child -friendly yoga poses into your movement time. Yoga promotes peaceful with its slow movements and full stretches, In addition the kids breathing will be deeper and more regulated, which helps soothe hyper feelings.
Child friendly yoga poses should emphasize relaxation rather than a physical challenge. Lotus style sitting is not needed! Some poses are fun and appealing to kids, and very beneficial to them. Here are some to try:
Lion pose: Ask the children to sit on the floor with their feet tuck under them. Next, lean forward a little and place each hand in front of each knee. Finger face forward and are separated from each other as much as possible.
Now it’s time to make a lion face! Demonstrate for the children first. Open your eyes wide and look up at the ceiling. Next, open your mouth wide and stick your tongue out and downward. Stretch the tongue as far as possible and hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Note, have a box of tissues nearby in case one of the kids accidentally drools.
Bunny Pose (easy version): Still sitting with their feet tucked under, the kids will drop their hands to their sides, lightly touching the floor. Now stretch the arms out in a semicircle movement, moving the hands from the ground to straight overhead.
Palms are facing forward as the hands are overhead. Next bend forward from the hips until the forehead touches, or nearly touches the ground in front of the knees. The palms rest on the floor as the arms start to relax. Tell the children to keep relaxing more and more as they hold the pose for 30 seconds.
Return to the original upright seated position by raising the trunk up while keeping the hands overhead. Slowly bring the arms down in a semicircle on each side of the body until the hands rest on the floor again.
Palm tree pose/Tiptoe walking Stretch your arms overhead, then lace the fingers together, palms turned upwards. Drop your head fully back and look at your hands above you. Now stand on your toes and start walking around on tiptoes. Keep walking around for a minute.
To stay in balance you will need to focus on your breathing, not on your steps or your hands. It’s a very interesting lesson in how our bodies work! Make sure they kids have plenty of space for this movement. They rarely, bump into each other but may trip over furniture or toys.
Singing bowls and tuning forks
The metal bowls that Himalayan monks use to request food from their communities have become popular for their soothing sounds.
The bowls are played like instrument, producing greatly relaxing sounds. Tapping a wooden striker or ”mallet” gently on the side of the bowls brings out a pretty bell sound. Running the striker in a circle along the rim of the bowls makes another, magical sound that you can actually feel. In fact, the metal singing bowls, or crystal versions, are used for sound therapy or sound baths. These are deeply calming and relaxing sessions for individuals or groups.
A sound bath would work wonders in the preschool class as well. Learn to play a singing bowl first before trying it in the classroom. Singing bowls can be a bit pricey, but you can have a similar effect using tuning forks. The children will be fascinated and will want to try it themselves.