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Working with mixed age groups is a real skill. You have to be able to challenge the older kids without losing the young ones in process. If your students are relatively close in age and developmental level, the process is not that difficult. Mostly it’s providing extra instruction for the younger kids and maybe a harder variation for the older ones.
But what happens when you have kids who are in two totally different places in life? Like a ten-year-old and her two-year-old sibling? Then, teaching becomes a lot harder and it becomes more a game of triage than anything else. Children this far apart don’t share anything in common…except maybe parents.
And, so, you sort of have a choice. You can teach to the little one and have the older one as sort of an assistant who plays along. Or you can teach to the older one and hope the little plays along at all.
The problem with the first is that the older child will get very little benefit from the yoga, as it is not developmentally or age-appropriate. The problem with the second is that you will often lose the little one completely. In that situation, you have two more choices. Either (a) ignore the little one for the most part and let him do whatever he can do (which might not be much), or (b) refocus on the little one to help him do what he can within the parameters of the older child’s class…which brings us back to teaching to the little one.
Unfortunately, in a situation with such a pronounced age gap, the older child will almost invariably be the one who misses out. If the parents’ intention is for the little one to be the focus of the class, no problem. But if they are more concerned with the older sibling, it’s best if the little guy is left out.
And that’s the mini yogis minute tip of the week. Check back every week to learn something new!
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