Early Literacy: Shh! We Have a Plan

One day a few months ago, I was browsing Powells when I came across the book Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton. One quick glance through it told me that its was IDEAL for a pre-school yoga class.  If you haven't seen it, check it out right away from your local library because its hilarious and so clever. Even better, the book provides fantastic opportunities for yoga/movement but also expressive language development, social communication, and vocabulary building. From the yoga teacher perspective, I love this book.  From the speech-language pathologist perspective I doubly love this book.

The premise of Shh! We Have a Plan is that four hunters are trying to catch a bird, and one of them always ruins it by talking too loudly.  Each time they have a new plan, they say "Shh!  We have a plan!" When this happens during the read aloud, I have the kids all whisper it to each other around the circle.  Then the characters tiptoe, climb, paddle, and run to try to catch the bird, which we also imitate during the read aloud.  The kids improvised as well, all becoming little birds that I had to try to catch.  At the end, we did a ton of different bird-themed asanas.  I also added a little "catch the bird" game. The kids pretended to be birds, and when I turned my back they could get super silly - but as soon as I turned around they had to be in one of the bird-themed poses we practiced.  Otherwise I would "catch" them (meaning they sat down, but I'm such a sucker for a fun non-competitive game that I never actually "catch" them :)).

In addition, we did one of our regular warm-ups at the beginning, the Yoga Hokey-Pokey (pulled from this awesome video).  The kids really enjoy this but today they took it even further with their natural talents for improv and started shouting out all sorts of other body parts to "put in" and "put out." The warm-up became even that much more fun!  I love my little pre-school class - they are such creative little yogis!