Susie Gerke’s Class Plan:
Making a Garden
Created for the Children’s Yoga Tree 2018 Foundation Teacher Training
Age group: Early years (2.5 – 5 years)
Props: Bells / Tibetan singing bowl, songs ready on phone, feathers
Timing: Approx. 45 minutes
Transition into the Room:
Shake it out!
Come to your own mat, sit or stand and begin to wiggle. Stay on your own mat, but you can wiggle whatever body parts you want to (or all of them).
When everyone is on their mats: we’re going to go around the room and I’d like everyone to suggest a body part for everyone to shake.
Shake your whole body, take a big breath in and out and drop to the floor (a couple of times).
Introducing the Theme:
Sitting in easy pose on your own mat
Today we are going to get our hands dirty and make a garden together.
I want everyone to remember the three guidelines - stay on your own mat, unless I tell you that you can come off it, listen when other people are talking and raise your hand when you want to speak.
Move into a circle, sitting in easy pose
I’m going to pass around the bells / Tibetan singing bowl, and ask everyone to ding them / it, say their name and tell us what they would like to plant in their garden today.
Earth (open palms on knee)
Imagine you are sitting on the ground outside in the park. You can fill the grass tickling your legs, then sun shining down on you and the breeze gently floating past. The wind rustles some leaves (they are getting more brittle, it is nearly Autumn now). You can hear birds chirping and smell the scent of some lovely jasmine flowers, and some cow manure. Is it yukky or earthy smelling?
Into the park comes a tiny hummingbird, with little wings (just hands moving, breathing normally). And then, along comes a robin (bigger arm movements). Way overhead in the sky, we see a falcon with huge wings (slow down arms, make big movements and slow breath with them).
Ring a Rosie (form a circle, holding hands and skip around)
Ring a ring a rosie,
A pocket full of posy,
We all fall down!
Cows are in the meadow,
We all jump up!
Make yourself into a tiny seed and everyone move to the centre, so all the seeds are touching.
The sun comes out and the seed starts growing.
Someone comes along and waters the seeds.
The seed is now a plant and is starting to grow really tall.
A rainbow appears.
A double rainbow! How lucky!
Flowers start to appear:
1 : A rosebud
2: A sunflower
3: A group of trees
A storm comes along, the trees sway, some of their branches fall to the ground
Hug knees in and take slow breaths – you can feel your belly expanding as you breathe in, as you are scrunched up.
Stretch up and look up, growing, growing, growing.
Hold hands and wiggle shoulders as the water falls down over us.
Holding hands, stand up.
Let go of hands, turn sideways and reach outside arm into centre (both sides).
Everybody reaching into centre (like a house).
Holding hands and reaching up tall (on tip toes).
Foot-to-ankle tree pose.
All fall down and roll from tummy to back and back again
Kira Willey’s “Dance for the Sun”
Following her instructions. If children are new to yoga, take a moment to demonstrate the poses before starting the song, as it moves quite quickly.
Explain how important the sun is for plants to grow – they take in energy and use it to grow their roots, leaves, flowers and fruits.
Start by mapping out the garden beds.
Gather up the big bundles of dirt, deliver it to the garden beds.
Plant the seeds and pat them in.
What’s that wriggling around on the soil? A caterpillar chewing some leaves.
The caterpillar curls up into a chrysalis.
And then it wiggles and out hatches a butterfly. Imagine what colour of butterfly you are.
And then fly up towards the sun.
Gather up the sun with your hands, and bring it down to the earth, making it warm.
Look up! Look all around you. What animals can we see?
A happy looking cat arrives in the garden.
And a dog too! Look at it, wagging its tail.
It is an exotic garden –
there’s a unicorn”!
And flamingos by the pond!
Right near the pond, a family of frogs hops by.
What’s that in the distance?
A bumble bee far away, but getting closer, collecting pollen from the flowers. Off it goes again.
Mindful walking around the mat.
Reach up, gather, bend down, dump it on the ground (make noise) (x 3).
Hands and knees walking around the mat. Roll on mat.
Wiggle along the mat, like a caterpillar, pretending to chew.
Curl up into child’s pose.
Sit up and come into baddha konasana, flapping legs. Pause a moment.
Stand up, flap arms. Star pose, twinkling fingers.
Reach up, gather, bend down, deliver it to the ground (x 3).
Happy cat pose (i.e. cow).
Downward facing dog, wiggle bum.
All fours, make a horn with a hand.
Standing on one leg holding the knee into the belly (maybe have a couple of tries on both sides).
Sit and point.
Start to hum softly.
Start to zzzz.
Humming slowly gets softer.
Can be played with any song (I like Kira Willey’s “Underneath the rainbow”)
Take a walk through your own garden. This time it’s a wild garden with all sorts of animals – it has jungle animals and desert animals and even creatures from under the sea and outer space!
Each time I stop the song, find a mat and make an animal from your garden. You choose!
When they freeze, ask them to tell you what type of animal they are.
Back to your own mat
Turtle for a few breaths (safe in its shell), hug knees in making yourself a little seed again, roll down onto your back. Make a bridge pose by lifting up your hips, and then bring your back down onto the ground. Hug your knees in again (little seed) and rock side to side a couple of times. Bring your hands to your feet to make a happy baby pose. Hug your knees in again (little seed) and then drop them over to one side making a zig zag, and then the other side, making a zig zag the other way.
Lying on your mat
Shake everything out and then let everything drop (do this a couple of times)
Either play a song (e.g. Kira Willey’s “Colours”) or take them through a rainbow visualisation:
Imagine the colour red. Like a bright red tomato or a strawberry. What does it smell like? What does it taste like? Imagine the colour orange, like the fruit. What does the skin feel like? What does the juicy inside taste like? Imagine the colour yellow, like a sunflower. What does it look like? How tall is it? Imagine green, like a bunch of leaves. If you scrunch them, does it make a sound? Imagine blue, like in a pond. Is the water warm or cool? Can you splash in it? What does that sound like? What does it feel like? Imagine purple, like a beautiful flower. What size is it? Does it have a scent?
Massages (if that’s ok with their parents, and them)
Blink your eyes open and watch your belly float up and down with your breath. As you breathe more deeply, it will move more noticeably.
Affirmations: Sitting in easy pose
Hands on belly: I am brave
Hands on heart: I am loved
Hands on head: I am kind
We hope you enjoyed Susie Gerke’s wonderful class plan, if you’re interested in hearing more from Susie she publishes a Yoga Blog every Friday at Om Department.
Emma & Siobhan