3 Reasons I avoid "child friendly" Pose Names.
In my elementary aged kid’s yoga classes, I rarely use the “child friendly” pose names that are popular. I use the English pose names that I use in my regular vinyasa classes. That was a conscious decision at the start, when first thinking about Mindful Moving Kids, and what I wanted it to be.
But let me start by explaining that yes of course there’s always an exception. For kids younger than elementary school, more age-friendly pose names help! For preschool aged kiddos the challenge of moving their bodies in unfamiliar ways is enough. Adding new vocabulary isn’t necessary to stimulate their motivation to learn.
Now that we've made that distinction. I'd love to share why, for elementary school age kids and above, I stick to pose names that are the same as the pose names I use in adult classes.
Reason #1: Curiosity
Yes, calling “mouse pose” instead of “child’s pose” may bring a brief smile or flash of imagination; but I believe that we can challenge kids with our words.
Instead of over-simplifying yoga terms in hopes of engaging young learners, why not stimulate their imaginations in a different way, and stretch their thinking with a new vocabulary?
While “warrior II” may not be as immediately familiar as “surfer”, let's welcome the curiosity and discussion an unfamiliar term like this can prompt.
Reason 2: Challenge Is Stimulating
In the long run, this method ends up being more successful in maintaining attention and engagement - because the novelty and perceived challenge keeps kids stimulated.
There’s research to support this approach; in fact, learning theory is a huge area of psychological research, and one that is near and dear to my heart (ask me about the learning theory lab I worked in during college sometime; the stories are ridiculous).
Studies on motivation in children have shown that kids are born with motivation to learn. Additionally research in childhood learning and development confirm that motivation is more easily sustained when kids are challenged by achievable goals. Simply put, if it too quickly becomes easy, they are less likely to stay motivated.
Reason 3: Bring them into our world
More anecdotally, have you ever noticed that kids usually get a kick out of being treated like adults? (ie: the Shirley Temple presented in cocktail class with an umbrella).
Kids want to be in the same world as the adults they know! Why should yoga be any different? Make it fun, and make it accessible. But, also make it unfamiliar and challenging, too. If you do yoga with your elementary age kid, they want to know that their yoga is just as important and real as your yoga!