small building blocks to capture their attention, incorporating imagery and games to add appeal to kids. It emphasizes the fun element while developing children’s mind and body.
Why Tai Chi 4 Kidz?
“The other aspect of Tai Chi is the intrinsic reward they get from seeing themselves progress and develop, and it is with themselves rather than in competition with other children.” Professor Shona Bass, Professor of Population Health, Deakin University, Australia
Tai Chi has an almost magical effect in health improvement. Kids love to learn and they learn very fast especially when engaged in a fun activity. This specially designed tai chi program emphasizes the fun element while developing their mind and body. It is designed in several small building blocks to capture their attention, incorporating imagery and games to add appeal to kids. We have found that kids really enjoy learning it. Teachers and parents have also found improvement in their children’s sport and academic studies after doing tai chi.
What are the Contents?
An introductory section for teachers and parents provides information on Tai Chi and how to teach the program. Starting with a fun gathering in the park, Dr Lam and Cheryl teach the program including warming up and cooling down exercises. To conclude, Dr Lam demonstrates the entire set from the front on and back on positions.
- There will be less precise instructions, focusing on keeping the flow.
- Young children like repetition so it is a good idea to start by repeating what you have done before.
- Young children are not apt to practice at home. So construct your program so they do their practice in the lessons. Do not expect to practice at home, but if they do, be sure to encourage them.
- Children like imaginations, use stories and imagery that appeal to them.
- Make sessions shorter. Young children have short attention span, after 5-10 minutes intermix with activities like games or stretching exercise that they can do comfortably. Children usually feel comfortable when doing something they are familiar with.
- Work with a group of similar age, e.g. between 5 -7 rather than wide range of age. If you are teaching in the school system, get help from school teachers. Avoid having a large class without teacher’s help.
- It is good to apply gentle discipline with children so establish some gentle rules like they cannot walk out of the class without giving a reason. A good rule is not to touch each other.
- If you are teaching the martial art application, be sure you have very small group with well behave children. You must be able to see and supervise such activities.
- Children like some kind of ritual so the Wushu greeting is a nice ritual to teach them. Indicate the significance of the beginning of the lesson and help them to understand the meaning of mutual respect.
- As a general rule when children are getting disorganised or look like they have lost interest, the thing to do is to practice with them, keeping the flow. When they are doing something it is much easier to be in control.
- Expect and encourage good behaviour.
- Minimal correction. Avoid being too exact with the movement. Just bring in essential principles, e.g. show them and work with them using the posture. Use the imagery of standing upright, like a string but not being tense.
- A good way to involve the rest of the family is to get other siblings and parents and even grandparents to join the class. You have a chance to introduce tai chi to the whole family and provide them with quality time doing tai chi together. It may be just 10 minutes together
doing a couple of moves but it will be a good activity to bring the family together.
- Often schools have group sports like football, that require organising and joining groups. Many children when they leave school live stop this group exercise. Whereas tai chi is not a group exercise and it can be done anywhere. So you can motivate the children to practice and enjoy the proficiency of what they can do, the nice feel of tai chi, so even if they stop after your lesson they could eventually come back. I met many people exposed to tai chi as a young child and many years later they pick it up again.
- Be flexible, if something doesn’t work, try another approach. Children are dynamic and fun, teaching it their ways is more effective.