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Participatory Work with Young Children

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  1. Participatory Work with Young Children Evaluating a Yoga Program for Students in Special Education Ilana Palgi, Psy.D.

  2. School-based Yoga Program • Middle-class New York suburb • 9 children enrolled, 6 completed study • Ages: K thru 3rd grade (ages 5-8) • Once weekly yoga classes

  3. Participatory Program Evaluation • Evaluation after 6 weeks • Group meetings 30-45 minutes, audio-taped • Methodology • Roger Hart (1997) • Drawing, Charting, Mapping, Painting • Dialogue and Inquiry • Action: Group Presentation

  4. Meeting #1I like warrior…because when I do warrior I feel like one!” (boy, age 6)

  5. Drawings of “favorite” and “least favorite” poses • Triangle pose “hurt my legs and … hurts my ribs” (boy, age 6) • I don’t like waterfall “because it hurts my back a little” (girl, age 6) • “…last week I found out some kids don’t like to do crescent moon because it hurts their back. So we fixed that this week; we did some backstretches after we did crescent moon. It helped me” (Teacher)

  6. Meetings #2-3 “Feelings Chart”

  7. Yoga and Internal states • “I feel tired” (girl, age 5) • “I feel so happy…I took my balance and I stayed with…” (boy, age 6) referring to tree pose • “strong like warrior 1” (girl, age 5) • “I’m sad. I don’t know…I feel sad during everything” (boy, age 8) during peace breath

  8. Meeting #4 Mapping

  9. Yoga Breaths • “If you were going crazy” (boy, age 8) • “So we’re ready to do our job” (boy, age 6) • “So we calm down” (girl, age 5) • In “the hallway…when we’re wild and we’re not ready, we can take yoga breaths” (boy, age 6) • When “you’re working and you get a little upset” (Teacher)

  10. Meeting #5 “Our Story of Yoga” Mural

  11. Meeting #6 Action: Student Presentationto Teachers and Students Mutual dialogue and feedback continued • “…sometimes if your arms or legs are hurting from a pose, it’s just because you still need to grow some muscle…” (teacher) • “And you might be holding the pose too long” (boy, age 8) • “Next year maybe we should strengthen our backs before we do crescent pose… and maybe the next time we do yoga… these children should decide what we do next” (teacher)

  12. Reflexivity:Research Journal • My first research project! • “I really didn’t know what to expect so I have been anxious about getting started” • Weekly entries following each of the group meetings and final entry 3 months later • “sometimes I feel like this research project is ‘made-up’ – but at the same time I really like the idea behind it.”

  13. Lessons Learned • Qualitative Research and Participatory work • Expect the unexpected • It can be done! – research with young children in special education • Coding and analyzing the data takes a while … but it’s worth it! • Respect the process!

  14. Publication • “Children, Youth, and Environments” 2007 - Participatory Learning and Action with Children: Our Story of Yoga • Data from dissertation transformed into a field report for publication