It has been proven time and again that kids can be a bit unruly when it is time to sit still and do a project. For about a month now, my partner, Dominic, and I have be sharing our knowledge of growing and eating micro greens and other fresh fruits and veggies with two groups of children at Robert W. Coleman Elementary School in Baltimore City through the Holistic Life Foundation. The first group is in the first grade, and the second group is in the third grade. At times, teaching them can be a bit overwhelming, because they are so excited and can not wait to try all of the goodies. It may be hard to believe, but these kids love trying the different foods that we are offering them. We bring in everything from apples to zucchini. The best part of it is that they are eating it raw and without any dips or sauces.
The group of children that we are working with practice yoga daily during their after school program. They are quite familiar with the poses and of the importance of breathing, as it relates to bringing oneself to a place of peace and calm.
On one particularly challenging day, the kids had to wait for us to get the materials for their project for that day set up. Today was the day that they were to learn how to grow their very own micro greens! They were so excited that they could hardly contain themselves. On any given day, we usually have to tell the kids to sit in their seats so that we can get started. We are pretty casual, and allow the kids to express themselves in a way that is respectful to those around them. Today, it was too much to ask for them to sit still for that long, so I decided to do yoga with them. We gathered on the colorful rug in the corner of the classroom, and began our practice. Many of the poses, the kids already knew, and I showed them a few partner/group poses that we could all do together. One pose was us creating a big sunflower that opened and closed. Another was bumble bee breath or bhramari. These were definitely poses that related to the subject matter.
It was not until long after the class had ended that I put two and two together, but that day, they kids were more focused and attentive than ever. There was no fighting, jumping out of seats, or calling out. No one threw seeds anywhere. Nor, did they miss any direction. On this day, they were engaged and present. I know that practicing yoga before we started our project is what helped the kids do the steps in order, and in peace. We all were relaxed and having a great time.
Sometimes kids are our biggest teachers, if we let them. That day the kids taught us that with mindful practice, we can accomplish many tasks that may otherwise be difficult to focus on.