Health, disability & well-being

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000

Description

We are looking to employ Yoga teacher in the setting to work with our families in the Children's Centre and with the children in our nursery setting aged between two and five years of age. This is after our successful mindfulness pilot project which had wonderful benefits for all those who accessed it.

The idea would be to teach families skills in breathing and taking time out from their hectic and busy lives to calm down and help each other to find inner peace. We would hope that the introduction of yoga and breathing techniques would give families an opportunity to practice a skill together, help children to self-regulate and calm themselves down and give parents/carers strategies to improve their children's and their own wellbeing. Due to high levels of depravation in our community, Family Yoga sessions are financially inaccessible for our families but could benefit them immensely.

We have many parents and carers who seek support and guidance in regards to behaviour management and our aim is to provide them with consistent tools and strategies that could help them. Yoga and mindfulness strategies would be powerful tools to use in conjunction with our current parenting offer. From the Wellness Works in Schools project; (http://childmind.org/article/mindfulness-in-the-classroom/) “We realized we could help kids gain tools for stress management at an early age that would transfer into teenage years and adulthood.”

In the same vein, we are also hoping to introduce Yoga and wellbeing into the classroom environment. During our pilot project last year, we introduced story based yoga sessions where a qualified yoga teacher worked with the classroom teachers to devise a yoga session for the children that was based on current themes or picture story books that were being used in the setting. The pilot was hugely successful and children with all abilities took part and worked together to find calm. The teachers found that the children were able to breathe better and, even at such a young age, were able to use their breathing in order to help them regulate their behaviour. Even those children who still struggled with their behaviour were able to use their thinking space time more productively by using the mindfulness strategies that were introduced.

If children are able to self-regulate their behaviour in the classroom, then the aim is that they carry that through to the home environment. We would work with families through workshops and information sessions to give them practical tools they could use at home, if the thought of a family yoga session was too daunting.

In Newham, we are also tackling one of the highest rates of obesity in the country. The gentle physicalness of yoga will also help parents/carers and their children to get moving in a more holistic and less daunting way than hitting the gym. Yoga is not a quick, weight loss fad, rather something that will make a difference in the long term, helping the body and limbs to be more supple. "Yoga is an ancient technique that has always aimed at promoting holistic living through better lifestyle, improved food habits and a physical regime. Being a natural technique that focuses on controlled breathing through various postures, yoga is completely harm free." (http://www.artofliving.org/in-en/yoga/health-and-wellness/fight-obesity-with-yoga)

There are so many proven benefits to introducing mindfulness strategies into our setting and we are excited about the prospect of being awarded funding to help us achieve our aims. Being a government funded nursery and children's centre we don't have excess funds to be able to spend on these kinds of projects and usually our dreams for a better way of doing things get put to the wayside as we try to function on very little funding. We look forward to reporting back on the overwhelming success of the project.

Rebecca Cheetham Nursery and Children's Centre

Location: London

It is exciting to be offering mindfulness to our families and pupils as a unique package to help children self-regulate, parents and carers to access calmness and peacefulness in their busy schedules and to get people on the way to improve their physical, as well as mental well being.
Back to the projects