This post was originally posted in honor of International Women's Day 2016. It was last update on July 18, 2017.
Thanks to the legacy of Irene Tasker, the Alexander Technique is taught to kids in various settings. She was the first to incorporate the Alexander Technique into elementary school education beginning in 1924. Ms. Tasker was a Montessori-trained teacher and among the first generation of teachers trained by F.M. Alexander.
The Alexander Technique helps kids:
- Learn skills for life including developing mindfulness, finding good body balance (coordination, breathing, etc), and pausing to make choices.
Which enables kids to:
- Be responsive to demands without being overwhelmed.
- Maintain good posture.
- Improve confidence, happiness, and attention.
Please find below resources for teaching the Alexander Technique to children. These resource are based in part on recommendations of Elizabeth Castanga who teaches the Alexander Technique in schools in Beacon, New York.
Resources: By Alexander Technique Teachers
Playing with Posture: Positive Child Development using the Alexander Technique (2012) by Sue Holladay. The Alexander Technique principles are easily and clearly communicated by the use of simple examples, activities and games that benefit the whole family. A student workbook is also available by contacting Sue Holladay.
The Journey (2016) by Anne Whitehead. A children's book thatreminds us not to rush or spend life trying too hard -- rather, to be aware and enjoy of our most precious gift: ourselves.
- The Story of Terry Tall and Digby Down. An introduction to the Alexander Technique for children between ages 3-8 giving them the opportunity to be tall or not. Use in an interactive way with a group or one-on-one.
- The Labyrinth of Gar. An adventure story and introduction to the Alexander Technique for children between ages 7-12. Use as a teaching aid or given to a child to read on their own.
- Working with Primary Schoolchildren - Practical Ideas. How to incorporate the Alexander Technique into the regular school day with games and activities tested in the field.
- Training. Four day course over two weekends in England for Alexander Technique Teachers. Offers a standard curricula, integrating of Body Mapping and movement, to offer to elementary schools and schools at the secondary level and beyond.
Resources: By Mindfulness Teachers -- To Combine with the Alexander Technique
The Mindful Child: How to Help your Kid Manage Stress and Become Happier, Kinder, and More Compassionate (2010) by Susan Kaiser Greenland. Based on a program called Inner Kids, founded by Susan Kaiser. Research led by UCLA on the program was published in the Journal of Applied School Psychology.
Teaching Transformative Life Skills to Students: A Comprehensive Dynamic Mindfulness Curriculum (2016) by Bidyut Bose, Danielle Ancin, Jennifer Frank and Annika Malik. Research led by Jennifer Frank on the curriculum has been published in the peer-review journals Mindfulness and Journal of Applied School Psychology.
- A classroom-ready program of trauma-informed lessons integrates active movements, breath coordination, and centering (ABCs) with a focus on stress resilience, self-awareness, emotion regulation, and healthy relationships.
- Training (1 day, 2 day and year-long) is offered to youth workers by the Niroga Institute, founded by Bidyut Bose.
- To start practicing the Dynamic Mindfulness ABCs right now, click here.
(Cover photo source: US Dept of Agriculture; cropped )