- Created on March 27, 2014
- Written by Samantha Simons, 200 RYT
Children are diverse little people, all learning in a variety of ways. Some flourish creativity, using music, movement, and the arts as mediums of expression and growth. Others are more regimented, deriving comfort and pleasure through logic, organized tasking, and mathematics. Some of the most effective learning settings are those offering a mixture of stimuli. This enables children to thrive in areas they are strongest while encouraging continued effort in edge areas. This sets every child up for progression and success.
What are Multiple Intelligences and Where Do They Fit in as a Learning Avenue?
Howard Gardner, a developmental psychologist spending most of his career at Harvard, proposed the theory of Multiple Intelligences in his 1983 book, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. The theory works on the idea that people learn from a variety of modalities, a unique blend of all of the eight intelligences. The Brigham Grid for Learning is a thorough resource for exploring each of the intelligences in depth. Gardner broke down these pathways to learning as:
- Kinesthetic - Body Smart
- Linguistic - Word Smart
- Logical - Number Smart
- Interpersonal - People Smart
- Intrapersonal - Myself Smart
- Musical - Music Smart
- Visual/Spatial - Picture Smart
- Naturalistic - Nature Smart
Parents and educators alike can use these categories to tailor learning environments and activities in such a way that each child is presented with optimal learning opportunities, in a way they understand and respond to. It’s not a “one size fits all” model. In turn, each child is recognized as an individual.
Public and classroom based children’s yoga are ideal places for students to tap into areas that excite them most. Promoting a non-competitive, non-judgemental approach to learning techniques fosters a whole body, wellness based approach to cognitive development. If you are curious what types of learning pathways might engage your child, try this survey from the London District Catholic School Board, geared towards primary ages and above.
How Can We Translate a Multiple Intelligence Based Approach to Our Yoga Mat?
- Kinesthetic : Body awareness through the asana or physical postures, especially focus poses, games - twister, yogi says
- Linguistic : Communication activities (co-listening), crosswords and word searches, storytelling
- Logical : Repetition, timed challenges, finding patterns in class sequences
- Interpersonal : Peer boosting activities, problem solving, teaching younger students or peers
- Intrapersonal : Journaling, self-reflection, goal setting
- Musical : Rhythmic dance rooted in the 5 earth elements (credit : Wilmington Yoga Center)
- Visual / Spatial : Breath art and games, clay or play-doh sculpting, illustration
- Naturalistic : Nature mandalas, caring for our class space, outdoor classes, walking meditation
For more ideas on incorporating the Multiple Intelligences into your yoga classes or family yoga, please contact me.
We can guide our yogis and yoginis into a whole new world by incorporating games, art, music, nature, problem solving, partner / group work, ideas to ruminate on, into our practice. There is no limit in finding ways to find a spark in each and every child we work with.
“It’s not how smart you are that matters. What really counts is how you’re smart.” -Howard Gardener
*The term MIMe (Multiple Intelligences and Me) was coined by Stever Parker, an educator at The Sullivans School (elementary) in Yokosuka, Japan as a name for an annual festival at the school that provides over 1500 children, from Sure Start to 5th grade, the chance to participate in a multitude of activities. This festival draws over 60 presenters to the joint US / Japan Navy base for a day of exhibitions and the teaching of a variety of activities from taiko drumming to rockwall climbing to hula hooping to bird watching, and more!
Samantha Simons is a certified kunga and children's yoga instructor living in Japan with her husband and two sons. She is an outdoor enthusiast , youth running coach, scout advisor, with a passion to serve.