One Sound at a Time….

This fun “m” work was a hit on the first day of school! Our secret word for the day was “me” and our sound of the week – “m” (one of the first sounds we make). When introducing reading & writing to children, it is imperative to identify the letters by their sounds instead of their names. This provides a clear path for decoding and encoding (sounding out words and spelling). Students use a dot marker to fill in the letter sound while saying the sound with each tap of the marker. The word “me,” “my,” “more,” and “many” are introduced this week as well. These are 4 “sight words” or words that are used regularly and often cannot be sounded out according to phonetic rules. Combining instruction using auditory and visual methods strengthens early readers’ progress toward becoming independent readers and writers!




crop woman with bright lipstickPhoto by Rahul Pandit on

A scream….footsteps…I spring to my feet looking in all directions as my heartbeat increases to meet the urgency of the distress. I quickly walk to the back door of my Montessori preschool classroom. Before I get there, in rushes an assistant ushering in a frightened little one. With blood on his lower lip and tears streaming down his face, I understand at once that the previous fun of his loose tooth has turned its own corner. From fun to frightened after another boy’s elbow found his mouth while playing.

The handoff from assistant to teacher is complete and I grab a cup of cold water and ice pack. I hope to help alleviate the blood flow and even a bit of the pain. Still crying hysterically, I guide the wounded soldier into a chair all the while hearing through the sobs, “I don’t like this.” We chat briefly about how growing up is exciting and sometimes a challenge. When I hear him say once again through loud sobs and short, rapid breaths, “But I don’t like this,” my mindfulness tool belt magically appears before my eyes.

This young man has practiced deep breathing and meditation with his classmates throughout this school year, so when I ask him to take a deep breath in, I watch him close his eyes. This alone makes me smile. Before closing mine, I ask him if he’d like us to hold hands while we breathe together. He nods, eyes still shut and I follow suit. We breathe in unison; his tears stop flowing and his breath lengthens.

Opening our eyes, I ask him if he’d like to try a new strategy to help him stay with this peaceful feeling inside. Having our breath work be such a success, he readily agrees. I teach him how to do the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), otherwise known as tapping. We go through the process together, saying things like, “Even though my tooth is falling out and I don’t like it, I am okay” and “Even though I don’t like the feeling in my mouth right now, I am safe.”

Somewhere in there… I had phoned his mother to pick him up (about 15 minutes early) and she is now at the door. In my experience, when an upset person appears calm and then sees a loved one, the floodgates start or reoccur. That’s what I’ve done in the past myself! To my surprise, this was not the case. He ran to his mom and hugged her, just holding on to his pure first love, feeling the safety of her embrace.

I’d like to think the breathing and tapping put him into such a peaceful space that he not only felt safe and okay, but truly felt it. I’m still smiling….

May 2022



Partner Poses make yoga even more fun for youth! 

          Yoga is often viewed as an individual activity. This is understandable since a person practicing yoga does so on one’s own mat. You definitely do not need anyone to practice yoga’s elements: positions, meditation and breathing. You can, however, enjoy yoga with others, such as many people do, in a class setting. On top of that, if you have a partner, you can perform partner poses. Youth of all ages enjoy this! Not only does it add to the fun factor of a yoga class, especially for youngsters pictured above (ages 3 and 4), but it allows many other components to enter the yoga experience.

          Using partner poses allows yogis to move from independent choices to socialized choices. In a partner pose, students work on their balance, breathing, strengthening and flexibility just as they have done independently on their own mats. They also work on communication, compromise, cooperation and collaboration – all extremely important life skills. Using partner poses in youth yoga classes from these preschoolers to teens has been a great success in my classes! I have enjoyed watching students as much as they have relished in the engaging postures themselves!