Children’s Yoga

“It’s not about being good at something. It’s about being good to yourself.”

Class links

“It’s not about being good at something. It’s about being good to yourself.”

Guiding children and teens in developing an understanding and appreciation of Yoga practices is an absolute privilege. I am grateful for the technological tools that make connection to people, ideas and practices like these possible.

children, digital media & innovation in education

The chapters exploring the Atelier and use of digital media with young children in The Hundred Languages of Children are some of my favorites. They are rich with inspiring stories, ideas and innovative thinking around possibilities for empowering children in multifaceted explorations of ideas, materials and technology.

“…we have to give closer attention to the processes of learning through the digital media, a subject still little explored with children. The digital experience is much too often exhausted simply in its functional and technical form. However, in addition to its technical aspect, if it is also used in creative and imaginative ways, it reveals a high level of expressive cognitive, and social potentials as well as great possibilities for evolution.” Vea Vecchi

In the virtual education space of Zoom (via Outschool) I encounter so many child-initiated moments of innovation with digital media. Of course Zoom is a digital tool that largely occupies the functional and technical forms, but I think it is most importantly a tool that affords incredible opportunities for global social connection and ultimately, evolution in the possibilities for shared social learning. Opportunities around using Zoom as an experiential tool for creative exploration are equally exciting. Some examples of child-initiated experimentation in this space include children -especially those in the age 3-8 age group- investigating:

1.) the camera on their Zoom device in ways that include altering the angle & placement, their distance from it & their placement in the frame, modifying the distance between it and objects, turning camera on & off  with intention

2.) the microphone on their Zoom devices including distance from it, volume, capturing the sound of objects and turning microphone on & off  with intention

3.) annotation functions including text, emoji and drawing tools

4.) virtual backgrounds & effects including transforming the video positioning and interacting with virtual elements

The power of the environment as the third teacher, along with my academic and professional background (and ongoing interest) in digital media arts serves as the foundation for how I approach designing virtual learning spaces. I utilize tools such as ManyCam, Prezi, Google Earth & Google Arts & Culture into these experiences to create fantastic spaces that, while somewhat novel, remain rooted in intentional design. As Tiziana Filippini’s points out “educators in Reggio Emilia speak of space as a “container” that favors social interaction, exploration, and learning, but they also see space as having educational “content”- that is, as containing educational messages and being charged with stimuli toward interactive experience and constructive learning.” (Filippini 1990) I’m eagerly embracing opportunities for fostering expressive, cognitive and social learning through digital spaces/ tools like Zoom. I feel very fortunate to be working in this creative laboratory with young children from all over the world at this point in time.

While the future of distance learning is somewhat unclear (like any vision of the future is!), it seems unlikely to completely disappear after things go back to “normal”- especially for homeschoolers & “after school” learning. I acknowledge the fact that there are barriers to access to virtual learning spaces and notable differences between physical and virtual, but I think there are so exciting possibilities for both settings. In addition, there are many valiant efforts being made to provide greater access for all. I’m eager to continue Reggio-informed experimentation and innovation in the virtual space.

reciprocity

Much of the reflective work I’m doing in my Master’s studies centers around uncovering and dismantling White Supremacy culture as it relates to educational systems and working with children. I’m sharing this as a way of hopefully inspiring others to engage in similar reflective work. As a white, middle class woman in the South I grew up immersed in some pretty limiting ways of thinking, especially in school. Up until a few years ago, I had a very foggy idea of just how pervasive and damaging these White Supremacy culture mindsets are. The work of confronting hidden biases and constricted ways of thinking is somewhat uncomfortable, but absolutely necessary. It has also afforded me a better understanding of the many ways that children are capable thought partners in this experience of working towards understanding and unity.

EXCELLENT resource here:

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF WHITE SUPREMACY CULTURE

From Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups, by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun, ChangeWork, 2001

400 and counting

Reflecting on the last year and feeling so much gratitude for all the families who trust/ have trusted me with their children. It remains astonishing to me that I am able to interact with so many families from all over the world from the comfort of my home. I’ve been “online” since the late 90’s and never imagined that my job would one day exist in this ephemeral space! My time in these joyful group learning experiences is nothing short of a blessing. Facilitating virtual learning experiences rooted in Reggio and Yoga inspired practices transcends the distance and the screen, and proves that responsive relationships are (and should always be) the foundation of education. Beautiful spaces are fantastic and much appreciated (and necessary!) but the relationships are really what make learning spaces magical. There are real connections being made and strengthened every day in this unique context of Outschool and I couldn’t be more excited about seeing where this journey will lead.

hello!

I’m grateful to everyone who reads this blog and visits this site, so just wanted to say thanks and (re)introduce myself. I have some exciting things in the works for Family Yoga and Reggio-inspired education that I’ll be sharing soon, but for now….

Mardi Gras 2021 mode

Hi! My name is Andrea, I’m an Early Childhood Educator, Yoga Teacher and Artist at heart. In my teaching practice I seek to honor a strong image of the child- meaning that I believe all children are capable and competent participants in learning experiences.

I began my career as an educator 16 years ago as a Teaching Artist in K-12 classrooms; I’m now an Early Childhood Educator and Yoga instructor facilitating virtual Reggio-inspired experiences and Yoga classes for children. I’m pursuing my Master’s in Innovative Early Childhood Education, with a focus on the Reggio Emilia approach to Early Childhood Education. Right now my main focus is on providing high quality, Reggio-inspired and Yoga-informed educational experiences via Outschool while I deepen my knowledge of the Reggio Approach to Early Childhood Education and conduct research on the possibilities for extending the reach of Reggio practices. My future plans include moving into the realm of educational policy and advocacy.

In addition to my work with children, I’m a Louisiana Pathways Trainer who provides professional development to Early Childhood Educators on the topic of Yoga and Mindfulness practices. I also offer an asynchronous course on this topic through Udemy.

I’m a 2020 graduate of Wild Lotus Yoga’s Soul School and a certified Children’s Yoga Instructor with six years experience teaching Children’s Yoga. My Yoga classes focus on sharing Yoga practices in engaging, child-friendly ways that encourage social-emotional learning, kinesthetic awareness, cognitive development and imaginary play. 

Along with Yoga, I love spending time with family, exploring outdoors, gardening and creating art. My friends and I created a Mardi Gras nonprofit, Krewe of Tradition, for my hometown of Houma, LA that continues to expand and delight. One of my favorite ways to decompress is by exploring Instagram and Tiktok- I am a huge proponent of mindful media intake, and have found these social media platforms to be beautiful spaces for connection and inspiration (follow the links if you’d like to connect there).

Thanks for reading!

If…

This is a book that opens minds and connects people. It is one of my absolute favorite books to share with young children because it opens up so much space for wonder, curiosity and freedom. One of the reasons why I began working in Early Childhood Education was to be able to spend time around humans who carry an uninhibited sense of artistic creativity and wonder. For better or worse, young children tell it like it is. I admire this trait in people and encourage it with children. With its beautiful images and mysterious questions “If…” presents a space for exploring other “what if’s” that’s both playful and sophisticated. I think this connects so strongly with young children because they too are playful and sophisticated.