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When you are forming a new class, one decision you need to make is how long the class is going to be.
The main thing you need to take into account is the age of your students.
If your kids are under four years old, I would not recommend a class longer than 45 minutes. With toddlers, classes may even be as short as 20-30 minutes. If the children are already in preschool, they are already somewhat trained to stay focused on a single activity. If they aren’t, they may not have had exposure to class structure and their attention spans will usually be shorter.
With parent-and-me (under four-years-old), you also need to take into account whether you are offering a kid-centric or a parent-centric class. A parent-centric class should go an hour. Kid-centric shorter.
It’s always better to underpromise and overdeliver. So err on the side of caution. Don’t offer a class of a length that you are not sure you will be able to fill. And on the flip side of that, if you do offer a long class and it’s obvious that you are losing the kids, know when you have to end a class early. Better to quit while you are ahead. You don’t want to go the extra 15 minutes (or whatever period of time) to fill a class period if you have already lost the kids and are just floundering in a sea of chaos.
If you are working with kids ages five and up, I recommend a one-hour class. That includes working with teens. Many people think that teens should go longer, maybe even the full hour-and-a-half length of an adult class. I disagree. A study in the late 70s found that the ideal length of a class (any class) for teens is actually 56 minutes.
Unfortunately, sometimes you don’t have a choice how long your classes will be. If you are teaching at a studio or school, camp or other organization, they will often tell you how long the class has to be. Then you just have to learn to be flexible and fill the time. I recommend lengthening your warming and/or cooling sequences, maybe add a longer meditation, if necessary. But I would keep the meat of the class down to about 45 minutes, if you can.
And that’s the mini yogis minute tip of the week. Check back every week to learn something new!
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