6th International Early Childhood Education Congress, Kars, Turkey, 2 - 05 October 2019, pp.570-571
Mindful Teachers and Mindful Kids: Investigating Early Childhood Teachers’ Perceptions of Yoga for Kids
There is a developing curiosity about utilising yoga with children to calm their minds and make their lives healthier. Despite the limited (but expanding) evidence supporting the benefits of yoga for children, exceptional school yoga programs are being developed for preschoolers and older youth (White, 2009). While most studies on the benefits of yoga centre on children in upper elementary education, more recent experimental studies suggest that the benefits of yoga may extend to preschoolers (Hagen & Nayar, 2014). Furthermore, it has been determined that yoga can be adapted to children of any age. Children aged 24 to 72 months like role-playing. Since they have short attention spans, yoga can help them develop their flexibility, strength, balance, and posture by having them move rapidly between postures to music or make diverse movements in an enjoyable way (Wening, 2003). Instructing young children in yoga can teach them relaxation and self-control and can impart a feeling of harmony in their daily lives. Also, yoga’s breathing practices can help children to see that mind and body are associated. From this, they learn serenity and internal focus, which are important skills they can apply throughout their lives as they practice yoga (Toscano & Clemente, 2013).
The aim of this study is to investigate early childhood teachers’ perceptions of yoga for kids. To accomplish this aim, qualitative phenomenological research will be conducted. The present study will address the following research questions:
R.Q.1. What are early childhood teachers’ perceptions of yoga for kids?
R.Q.2. What are early childhood teachers’ opinions about utilising yoga in early childhood education settings?
Data will be collected from early childhood teachers (N=6) by using semi-structured interviews. The interviews will be constructed based on the related literature and conducted by the researcher, who attended a teacher training programme on children’s yoga. The interviews will consist of three parts. The first will acquire background information about the participating teachers. The second will determine interviewees’ perceptions of yoga for kids. Finally, the third part will examine interviewees’ opinions about using yoga in early childhood settings. Before the interviews are conducted, expert opinions will be gathered from three different experts from a public university’s Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education to ensure the appropriateness of the interview questions. After getting these opinions, any necessary changes will be made to the interview protocol. Then, a pilot study (n=2) will be conducted prior to the main study to determine whether the interview questions are suitable and effective.
Before interviewing participants, the researcher will introduce herself and give detailed information about the purpose and process of the study. The early childhood teachers will be asked to sign the consent form before participating. Participant interviews will be conducted under standard conditions and will last approximately 20 minutes. Interviews will be audio recorded with the permission of the participants.
After each interview, the researcher will record her reflections, and the interview will be transcribed verbatim. To provide credibility of the study, member checking will be utilized; to ensure trustworthiness, the transcripts will be coded by two coders to confirm inter-coder agreement.
In the present study, it is expected to find that the participating early childhood teachers will emphasise the physical benefits of yoga more than its emotional and mental benefits. As an emerging topic, yoga for children has not been deeply studied in Turkey; it is therefore expected that participants will identify it as the adult version, which they have experienced themselves. It is also expected that due to the lack of information about yoga for kids, participants will emphasise that child yoga should be conducted by yoga instructors and not by their teachers in educational settings.
Keywords: early childhood education, early childhood teachers, yoga for kids