Children benefit from yoga - they learn how to exercise, develop confidence, exhibit self-care, and even to focus. To encourage kids to practice yoga and reap the benefits, it is commonplace for studios and instructors to offer after school programs, day camps in the summer and on school breaks, and other enrichment activities tailored directly to children. However, the law approaches working with children differently from working with adults - even in the context of yoga. Here are five questions you should be able to answer about your yoga business's kids yoga program.
1. Does your state require background checks and clearances?
In several states, in order to work or volunteer with children, certain people are required to obtain background checks and clearances. As of January 15, 2018, states with enacted background check requirements for volunteers of non-school associated youth recreational activities are: Alabama, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. If your yoga business is in one of these states, make sure all adults who interact with your yoga kids have had the required background checks and clearances. And, even if your yoga business is not located in a state that requires it, you should have a thorough understanding of who is working with, and in, your yoga business, therefore, you may want to consider implementing background checks for all of your employees.
2. Have your instructors been trained to teach children?
Kids think differently, they move differently, and they behave differently from adults. As such, they should be taught yoga a bit differently. Be sure that you and/or your instructors have been trained to specifically teach yoga to children. This will prevent injuries, help with studio management, and ultimately ensure for a pleasant and enjoyable experience for everyone.
3. Does your insurance policy cover teaching yoga to children?
Many yoga studio and instructor policies include coverage for working with children, but not all do. Some require you to purchase additional coverage. Read your policy to make sure that you have coverage, and if you do not contact your insurance agent or broker to get it.
4. Do you have a release and waiver of liability for children?
If you have a specific release and waiver of liability for teaching children that is fantastic, but if you do not, as long as the release and waiver of liability that you generally use for all of your students is legally sufficient, you should be fine. Simply add the following sentence to the end of your waiver with a signature line:
"If participant if under the age of 18:
As legal guardian of _______________________, I consent to the above Waiver of Release and Assumption of Liability."
If you are not sure if your waiver and release of liability is legally sufficient, you should contact Yogalese for a free consultation.
5. If you are operating a day camp, is a license required to operate it?
In many states, day camps must be licensed. A license will usually be issued once the state checks that camper-to-staff ratios are adequate, meal and snack times are consistent, background checks and clearances are completed, and, of course, that the facility is clean and safe. Don't know if your state requires a license? Don't fret - the American Camp Association has a database of state laws and regulations applicable to camps you can check.