“What day is it” asked Pooh. “It’s today,” squeaked Piglet. “My favourite day,” said Pooh.

Mindfulness brings us into the present moment. Allowing us to experience more attention, joy and benefits from what is happening right now. Rather than worrying about the future – or the past for that matter. With regular yoga/mindfulness practice we can ‘rewire’ our brain, creating new pathways, learning how to respond to stress in a controlled way. Ultimately learning to become more stress resilient.

Young people in Australia experience very high stress in schools, which has negative impacts on their academic performance and mental health. Four-year-olds are diagnosed with anxiety. Eight-year-olds are vomiting with exam stress. Ten-year-olds are self-harming.

Stress and Anxiety at school is real and the kids are getting younger and younger!

Yoga in Schools

What used to be an issue for Years 9 to 11, disturbing as that is, is now hitting kids in School Years 4 to 6, according to one principal.

This echoes findings from University of Queensland child anxiety researcher Dr Vanessa Cobham, who says one in 10 children aged six to 11 now meet the criteria for diagnosable anxiety.

Children’s fears are varied and include being scared of dogs, getting stuck in an elevator, failing an exam, being run over by cars, and that their friends will die. It doesn’t matter that the likelihood of these awful things happening is slim. Too many children see them as probable. And the COVID-19 crisis probably didn’t help.

Paediatrician of almost 20 years Elizabeth Green says anxiety has never been so widespread and meltdowns in kids so common.

Kids as young as four are suffering generalised anxiety disorder, leaving them feeling intensely worried and fearful most of the time. While some degree of anxiety is normal, overblown angst is on the rise. And if it’s not dealt with we are looking at a wave of obsessive-compulsive adolescents, she warns.

While we also hear of some good news among all this: Teachers reporting that kids became more independent and resilient during the pandemic, responding well to gate drop offs and pick ups. …. Anxiety is real! 

Yoga in Schools helps reduce anxiety and stress for children, teachers and parents!

School-based stress management programssuch as mindfulness based yoga programshave been shown to be effective in the United States. Research shows that Yoga and Mindfulness practices can have help kids deal with stress and anxiety.

It is crucial that schools teach students how to identify and best manage stress. These skills will continue to benefit them throughout their lives.

 “Rather than putting on a patch and treating Children and Adolescents for Mental Health illness when it’s there, our Yoga and Mindfulness programs teach kids essential skills from the INSIDE OUT,” says Regina Cruickshank, Founder and Executive Director of Yogazeit Ltd. “In our Yoga in Schools Programs we teach children how to breathe. We explore what happens to the brain and the nervous system when our emotional response takes over and we “flip our lid”.

We give kids tools to identify stressors and manage them in a child-appropriate and fun way. We make attention to breathing ‘normal’. The kids take these social emotional tools into the classroom, into their communication with peers, to conflict-resolution at home.

Ultimately these mindfulness and yoga skills –  which we teach kids from as young as 3 – will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Who doesn’t want to support their children with tools to help regulate emotions and empower wellbeing? I wish Yoga was around where I grew up when I was in Primary School. I think I could have saved my teachers (and mother) a lot of ‘nerves’,” says Regina.

How does Yoga in Schools work:

Yogazeit will visit your school weekly for your Yoga or Mindfulness Class. All classes and programs will be customised to the school and include the following

Yoga in School options:

  • Kindy/ELC Explorers (weekly 30min class)
  • Mindful Moments (weekly 20min recess or lunchtime mindfulness)
  • Mindfulness based Programs (15min / 2 x per week)
  • Yoga / Mindful Movement Program (60min / 1 x per week / per year group/class)
  • Wellbeing Incursions (half or full day incursions which can include mindfulness sensory activities)
  • Other (customised to your needs)
Kids Yoga

Classes are 30min (Kindy/PP) – 60min and incorporate:

  • Breathing
  • Mindful Movement (Yoga)
  • Yoga games fostering Social Emotional Learning
  • Relaxation

Who’ll be teaching?

Our Instructors are certified Yoga Teachers with specialist training in Children’s/Teens Yoga with the Yoga Ed. Curriculum (highly skilled professionals trained to teach Yoga specifically in schools) and hold:

  • Working with Children Check
  • First Aid Training
  • Covid-19 Safety Training

We have a network of over 20 teachers and will match the teacher to the school depending on needs and program goals.

What about mats?

Depending on the class size, we can provide all mats and resources – or (if your school runs multiple classes per week for more than one year level) we recommend purchasing a set of mats and storing these on sites.

Double Boat pose fosters social emotional skills, strength and resilience!

Benefits of Yoga in Schools:

Yoga and Mindfulness in Schools also helps with

  • Emotion Regulation
  • Academic Performance (because kids are able to focus)
  • Reduced Anxiety and Tension
  • Resilience to Stress
  • Fewer Problem Behaviours
  • Physical Wellbeing
  • Sense of Calm
  • Empathy and Understanding of others
  • Teacher Wellbeing and Classroom Climate

What about Yoga for Special Needs:

Yoga in Schools is especially beneficial for kids with special needs. All our programs are inclusive and accessible to every body and mind. Please let us know what the background of your kids/school is so that we can customise our activities and our Yoga School Program can fully support you.

How much does it cost?

This depends. Cost start at $90 per 30min regular session. It’s recommended to discuss term packages so your students (and you) can get the most out of the benefits of Yoga and Mindfulness.

For schools who’ll sign up with us for 2 continuous terms, we’re also offering FREE 1-2 hour Teacher Professional Development Workshop to support a whole school approach.

Funding Yoga in School Program / Wellbeing Program

Funding for the Yoga in Schools and/or Wellbeing Program may come out of your Wellbeing Budget, whether you’re operating under the Department of Education, CEWA or private school. Other funding sources may be the schools P&C, Parent contribution (similar to Edu Dance) or other. We’re happy to discuss some ideas and options and help you on your way of empowering Wellbeing at your school.

Low Socio Economic Intake School

If you’re school falls within the low socio economic index, we may be able to heavily reduce the Yoga in Schools Program for you or even offer it at no cost as part of our charity activities. Please inquire today and tell us a little more about your school. Email Regina.

Do you only offer Yoga in Schools Programs in Perth or also in the South West, Kimberley, Eastern States …

With a network of Yoga Educators we’re able to potentially offer access to Yoga in Schools Programs across the states and also the Eastern States.

What about Teacher Wellbeing Programs

Yoga and Wellbeing for Teachers

At YOGAZEIT we believe school leaders, teachers and other school professionals need to nurture themselves. Embodied wellbeing practices can provide an amazing opportunity leading to personal transformation, providing the foundation for systemic transformation. Taking time for Yoga, embracing the concept of self-care and personal mindfulness, teachers will not only improve their own wellbeing, but also support their classrooms and the larger community. 

From our standpoint, there is no doubt teacher health and resilience should be made a priority in education policy. 

Teacher Professional Development

Teacher Professional Development

Whether you’re looking for a short “Wellbeing” PD guiding your colleagues through the benefits of Yoga and Mindfulness and giving them some hands-on-tools on improving their Wellbeing, a nurturing Yoga class or Tools for Teachers: Practical Tools on implementing chair yoga brain breaks with students in the classroom. We’ve got you covered. And the best: You don’t need to have any yoga and mindfulness experience at all!

Teacher Professional Development includes:

  • Nurturing Wellbeing PD (Yoga and Mindfulness) (1-2 hours)
  • Wellness PD: How can I improve my wellness (informative and practical) (1 – 1.5 hour)
  • Yoga Ed. Tools for Teachers PD: Chair Yoga Brain Breaks in the Classroom (2, 4, 6 hour)
  • Intro to Chair Yoga for Schools PD. 1 hour. Topics can include: “Managing big emotions with Yoga and Mindfulness”, “Yoga Education to support transitions”, “Breathe and be”, “Reducing Anxiety with Yoga and Mindfulness”, “Introduction to Mindfulness”… and more

Read more here

PREVIOUSLY HELD AT

  • ACHPER WA 2018 State Conference
  • Murdoch University School of Education Summer School
  • Mondays @ Murdoch (2019, 2020)
  • Fremantle Cockburn Schools Network Conference 2019
  • numerous Primary and Secondary Schools across Western Australia and New Zealand

Some tips that schools should remember:

It is worth pointing out a few things that might be helpful to know about our Yoga Programs. Most importantly is that there will always be someone in your staff circle, parents of friends who are sceptic about yoga. Here’s a link to our Guiding Principles, ensuring that we don’t use religious connotation and our programs really are designed especially for schools to provide a safe and secure environment for breathing, mindful movement and social emotional learning.

woman wearing white sleeveless top
Photo by Valeria Ushakova on Pexels.com

So, here are a few things to remember when you are starting off with implementing a Yoga program at your school– things that will keep you motivated, your colleagues curious and the school administration supportive.

  1. You’re never TOO YOUNG (or too old for that matter) to start yoga and learn how to breathe and look after your body and mind!
  2. Inquire.  Tell us a little about who you are and how we can help you.
  3. Choose days/times that work for your students and staff. Whether you’re looking for in school, after school or before school yoga programs. Make sure that this time is available for students and staff. A regular time slot works best: e.g. Thursdays 10.55 – 11.55.
  4. Define your budget. Speak to your school admin about how much budget the school has available and what funding options there are.
  5. Get a quote. Contact us for a quote. We’ll usually ask you how many students, how many classes per week, what type of program (yoga, mindfulness, teacher wellbeing, etc) and what your key objective of the program is (e.g. meeting curriculum standards, improving wellbeing, part of phys ed, …).  Also: ask us for help! We’re here to support Wellbeing at your school. We have powerpoint presentations, research and more to help you get started. We’re also happy to present to your school Board should you seek a whole school approach and need extra funding.
  • Aligned with the Department of Education Student Wellbeing Framework Fulfilling National Health and Physical Education Standards
  • Inclusive of All Abilities (including those with special needs)
  • Highly Skilled and Experienced Yoga Educators
  • Working with Children Check and Fully Insured
  • Evidence-Based Programming 
  • COVID-19 Safety Trained

All our classes fulfil the requirements of the National Health and Physical Education Standards. YOGAZEIT is a proud member of Western Australia’s Health Promotion Schools Association and Act Belong Commit.

Are you ready?

Get in touch: admin@yogazeit.com.au or call 0405 551 635 or complete our Online Enquiry Form

More info about our Yoga Programs at Schools can be found at www.yogazeit.com.au

Regina Cruickshank

Written by Regina Cruickshank.