By Megan Woodward Donley, After-school enrichment Yoga teacher
I have been honored to offer an after-school enrichment “little yogis” yoga program for the last five years at YCDS. As a 2003 York Country Day School alumna, I am a “lifer,” as I attended since kindergarten. I enjoy offering a program in a field that I am passionate about to current students at my alma mater.
The environment at YCDS encouraged me to pursue my passion and dreams, and now I am able to give back in that same environment. Yoga is a practice for people of all ages, backgrounds, and belief systems. It is wonderful to introduce this to children at a young age when moving their bodies, stretching, and challenging themselves to do various postures comes natural to them. Yoga provides methods to help young manage emotions and stress, as well as experience the freedom of expression and maintain a healthy body awareness and self-care.
We learn about the ancient discipline of yoga through play, song, breathing exercises, games, and mini-meditation sessions, where students practice being still and staying in the moment. A challenge for both kids and adults. Taught in tandem with the present moment awareness techniques, I also save room for”shaking our sillies out” and playing, too!
The students in my after-school enrichment classes range in age from 5 to 12, and I have witnessed much growth in through the sessions as the introduce the yoga practice into school and home. Two sisters have joined me in every session, and it’s apparent that they have developed a deep and beautiful understanding of yoga and stress management. Noticeably, it’s their offer of support to new students.
I am happy to part of the vibrant after-school enrichment programs that YCDS offers along with their diverse and rich curriculum. Such programs allow children to release tensions from the day and ease into their evening and home-life through fun and educational activities that further personal growth and foster social connection with other children. They are a wonderful opportunity for children to learn and grow in areas that aren’t offered in the typical school setting within the familiar, safe, and inspiring setting of YCDS.