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How to Cater to the 3 Lesser-Known Sensory Systems in Our Kids Yoga Classes: What We Need to Know (Interview)

It’s no secret that education is evolving, with an increasingly holistic focus on children’s development. Now, more than ever, the integration of all eight (yes, eight!) of the sensory systems has become essential for educators and caregivers. 

But if you’re feeling overwhelmed or unsure of how to incorporate the lesser-known sensory systems into your curriculum or yoga lesson plans, no worries—we’ve asked our colleague for help! 

In this interview below, Claire Heffron, occupational therapist and co-founder of The Inspired Treehouse, shares valuable insights into the three lesser-known sensory systems and how to cater to them in your classrooms, clinics, or yoga studios.

How to Cater to the 3 Lesser-Known Sensory Systems 

Thanks to Claire from The Inspired Treehouse (see interview below), check out these three practical tips that will help you introduce sensory activities into your classroom or yoga sessions. 

The third lesser-known sensory system was new to me, but it fits perfectly with our yoga and mindfulness activities!

#1: Sensory Integration through Proprioceptive Activities

One of the lesser-known sensory systems is the proprioceptive system, which plays a crucial role in how our joints and muscles send messages to our brain, coordinating our movements. 

Proprioceptive activities, such as pushing, pulling, or engaging in heavy work, serve as an excellent way to provide sensory input for children who crave such experiences. 

For instance, activities like jumping, stomping, and crashing into cushions are excellent ways to meet the sensory needs of such children. These activities not only provide much-needed sensory input but also help in grounding and calming overstimulated kids.

Practical Application: Incorporating proprioceptive activities into the school day can be as simple as allowing students to push against the wall, carry heavy objects, or engage in activities like chair sits and pushups between transitions or as brain breaks.


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#2: Harnessing the Power of the Vestibular System

The vestibular system, another often-overlooked sensory system, is linked to our sense of balance and coordination. 

By incorporating linear, rhythmic, and repetitive movements, educators can provide calming sensory input to children. On the other hand, more spontaneous and unpredictable movements might be more alerting. 

Understanding these responses can help manage children’s engagement levels and emotions effectively.

Practical Application: Integrate vestibular activities by engaging children in activities such as spinning, swaying, balancing, or yoga poses, which not only boost balance and coordination but also promote focus and emotional regulation.

#3: Exploring the Interoceptive System

The interoceptive system, associated with our perception of internal body signals, plays a pivotal role in a child’s overall wellbeing and emotional regulation. 

Hypersensitivity or decreased sensitivity to internal signals can impact a child’s responses to hunger, tiredness, or the need to use the bathroom. 

Educators and yoga instructors can help children understand and articulate their internal feelings, fostering self-awareness and emotional regulation while promoting mindfulness.

Practical Application: Encourage mindfulness activities that prompt children to check in with their internal cues, such as breathing exercises, gratitude practices, or yoga flows, to bring awareness to their internal state, promote self-regulation, and enhance emotional wellbeing.

As educators and yoga instructors, we can incorporate sensory activities into the daily routine to help significantly enhance the learning experience for children. By understanding and harnessing the power of the lesser-known sensory systems, teachers and yoga instructors can create a supportive environment that aligns with children’s diverse sensory needs, ultimately fostering holistic development and emotional wellbeing. 

So let’s embrace this journey of sensory integration, promoting a holistic learning experience and nurturing the overall wellbeing of our students. A special thank-you to Claire Heffron of The Inspired Treehouse for sharing these valuable insights!

Watch “How to Cater to 3 Lesser-Known Sensory Systems in Kids Yoga Class” Interview here:

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How to Cater to the 3 Lesser-Known Sensory Systems in Our Kids Yoga Classes: What We Need to Know (Interview) | Kids Yoga Stories

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