Today, we are excited to introduce you to Synthia Gerson, a preschool yoga teacher and a Kids Yoga Stories Ambassador. Synthia shares how she put together “The Three Little Pigs” activities for her preschool yoga class, including a yoga book, yoga poses, and art activity. What a fun, creative way to introduce fairy tales to young children through movement and literacy!
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A few weeks ago, I was planning preschool yoga classes with the theme of fairy tales!
I immediately thought of using the story “Goldie Locks and the Three Bears.” My assistant (he is almost 8.5) notified me that no one likes that fairy tale. He loves all things related to “The Three Little Pigs,” so that was the story I selected for my fairy tale yoga classes.
I reached out to Giselle Shardlow and her amazing team at Kids Yoga Stories, looking for suggestions. Cassandra, Community Manager for Kids Yoga Stories, recommended where I could find KYS visuals of a pig and a wolf, and also recommended the book The Three Little Yogis and the Wolf Who Lost His Breath: A Fairy Tale to Help You Feel Better by Susan Verde and illustrated by Jay Fleck.
My family happened to be in Raleigh, North Carolina, that weekend for me to attend a Kidding Around Yoga training. While we were in our hotel room, I was able to find the book on the Hoopla App from my local library.
My son enjoyed reading this book with me. I also found a video of Giselle Shardlow reading this book. My son watched the video of Giselle reading aloud the book several times that weekend.
When I returned home, my local children’s librarian was able to request a copy for me to borrow. Over the course of the next few weeks, I taught two preschool classes and a homeschool class using this theme. My April Karma Kay class at my local library will include this theme, and my assistant will be joining me for my Kidding Around Yoga with Synthia class.
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“The Three Little Pigs” Preschool Yoga Class
Are you wondering how I incorporated this theme into my yoga classes?
Starting with the main characters—the three little pigs and the wolf—I used the visuals from Kids Yoga Stories.
1. Pretend to be the wolf huffing: Extended Exhale Breath
For the wolf huffing we practiced the Extended Exhale Breath using the extended exhale card from the Breathing Exercise Cards for Kids.
How to practice Extended Exhale Breath: take a deep inhale for 3 to 5 counts. Then exhale slowly for 6 to 10 counts. Try to make your exhale twice as long as your inhale. Repeat a few times. Pretend to be the wolf huffing.
2. Pretend to be the three little pigs: Happy Baby Pose
For the three little pigs, we practiced Happy Baby Pose. For a school-age group, I would probably pick a different yoga pose for each pig.
How to practice Happy Baby Pose: Lie on your back with your chin tucked in, hug your knees into your chest, then grab the outer parts of each foot—right foot in right hand and left foot in left hand. Pretend to be the three little pigs.
3. Pretend to be the wolf: Cow Pose
For the wolf, we practiced Cow Pose.
How to practice Cow Pose: On all fours, look up, arch your back, and open your chest. Pretend to be
4. Pretend to be the first house: Triangle Pose
I picked three different houses with different shaped themes. The first house was a triangle shape, and we practiced Triangle Pose on both sides.
How to practice Triangle Pose: How to practice Triangle Pose: From a standing position, step one foot back, angling your foot slightly outward. Take your arms up parallel to the ground then bend at your waist, tilting your upper body forward. Reach your front hand down to gently rest on your shin and reach your other arm straight up. Pretend to be the first little pig’s house.
5. Pretend to be the second house: Horse Pose
The second house was a square, and we practiced Goddess or Horse Pose with our arms making a square shape.
How to practice Horse pose: Stand with your legs apart, feet facing slightly outward. Bend your knees and stand firm. Pretend to be a a square house.
6. Pretend to be the first house: Tree Pose
The third house was a tree house, and we practiced Tree Pose on both sides.
How to practice Tree Pose: Stand on one leg. Bend the knee of the leg you are not standing on,
place the sole of your foot on the opposite inner thigh or calf (just not on your knee), and balance. Switch sides and repeat the steps. Pretend to be a tree house.
For my preschool classes, which were only thirty minutes, I didn’t incorporate the picture book. For my homeschool group class, which was an hour long, we used the picture book, and the children drew pictures of their favorite buildings from the book.
The first house in the book was a straw hut, the second was a wooden house, and the third was a colorful yoga studio. I would have picked the colorful yoga studio for my drawing!
As you can tell, I had lots of fun with “The Three Little Pigs” yoga along with focusing in my classes on working hard and solving problems to feel better!
[INTERVIEW] TEACHING YOGA TO PRESCHOOLERS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Synthia Gerson, RYT -200 & RCYT and NCSEAA provider for yoga in North Carolina.
Synthia worked as a classroom teacher for twenty years before finding kids yoga and mindfulness. As a classroom teacher, she felt many of my students needed more than just academics to flourish. She was first introduced to kids yoga in school in 2015, when she had the opportunity to volunteer for a before-school yoga program with middle school students in Charlotte, North Carolina. This yoga program quickly became the highlight of her school week.
Teaching kids yoga provided her with the opportunity to combine her experiences as an educator, her master’s degree in children’s literature, yoga, and bringing yoga to all kids. You can find her teaching (mostly preschool) yoga in Matthews and Charlotte, North Carolina. Her business is Kidding Around Yoga with Synthia (on Facebook and Instagram). Her website is kiddingaroundyoga.com/licensee/synthia.