We often hear from our Kids Yoga Stories community that they need help with securing funding for school yoga programs. There are in fact several ways to get funding, including local donors, community groups, grants, or professional development funds. Today, I would love you to welcome Tamara as she shares her story of how her school received a school grant. We hope it will inspire you to follow in her footsteps.
Tamara is a Learning Support Teacher from British Columbia, Canada. She leads yoga classes for students in grades three to five, as well as Social-Emotional Learning lessons. She also teaches yoga classes online to both adults and children.
Click here to check out Tamara’s 100+ yoga videos: https://tamaramaxim.com/online-classes/
My school district has Innovation Grants that groups of three or more teachers can apply for to support an “innovative” project that connects to the Curricular Core Competencies and First Peoples Principles of Learning (some educational jargon!).
This year, I am working with three teachers who have grade three and four students. I already support many of their students due to the students’ diverse learning needs, anxiety, and inattentiveness. Many of the students have been diagnosed with autism, learning disabilities, or chronic health issues. Others are designated as ELL, have refugee status, or belong to low-income households—and these situations present their own challenges.
In October, we received a grant for $2300 with the project title “Building a Mindful Community.” We had hopes of:
- reducing anxiety,
- building focus and attention,
- teaching tools for mindfulness (breathing and meditation),
- and creating a pool of resources that can be used in the future by the teachers involved.
We used the money to buy 100 yoga mats ($4 each at Dollarama!) and blocks (these cost more than the mats!), DIY yoga mat cleaning supplies, as well as resources from Kids Yoga Stories and other books through Amazon.
I am not a classroom teacher, but I do support many different students in classrooms throughout the school. I also teach a variety of weekly yoga classes and workshops in my community (for twenty-one years), and I volunteer teaching yoga to school staff twice a month.
In the past, I have taught yoga to all of my previous classrooms/special education programs, and I teach yoga in classrooms at my current school by request (even before we got all the mats).
For this project, I am creatively using my resource time to go into classrooms that I already support, as well as one additional French-immersion class. All the kids are benefitting, so it is a great use of my time. Having a “free” yoga teacher saves a lot of money and time! In the future, teachers can use your resources to teach students on their own and/or I can continue to support them with yoga as it has been so effective for everyone.
For our project, each class gets a weekly session (thirty to forty minutes), and every few weeks, we all go in the gym (seventy students and teachers) for a large group forty-five-minute session. Within each session, I am teaching the students the deeper meaning of the poses (and Sanskrit names), different mantras, pranayama techniques, partner work, and meditation.
The kids are so incredible! They have come a long way since we started! After each session, the students complete a reflection journal with sentence starters like:
- “I feel..”
- “I am grateful for…”
- “Before yoga/After yoga…”
The journal reflections are AMAZING! I often share stories of what I learn while teaching the kids in my adult classes! I am so grateful that I get to do this during my workday!
Building the yoga culture in my school the past few years really helped bring many kids and families to participate, so I am grateful to have all the school resources from Kids Yoga Stories and the grant!
Resource/Learning Support Teacher
Would you like to learn more about funding options for your School Yoga Program?
Join us for our first-ever virtual School Yoga Bootcamp this summer!
Tamara and other teachers will share their grant applications, so you don’t have to start from scratch and can get some ideas on creating a grant proposal that caters to the unique needs of your school community.