Primary School Wellbeing
Skills for Life:
Learning positive self-care tools educates and empowers young adults to proactively manage their physical and mental health, develop emotional intelligence and motivates their progress towards their goals and ambitions.
We are constantly challenged by complexities and pressures associated to the fast-paced lifestyle that surrounds us. We are ‘switched on’ and accessible in a multitude of ways that places demands on our attention, time and health. There is increased need to learn practical skills to support our health, relationships and to manage overload, stress and anxiety.
With schools expected to timetable a minimum of 300 hours of wellbeing from September 2017 to May/ June 2018 and 400 hours by 2020, schools can benefit from the resources of facilitators specialised in Wellbeing for Children.
Healing Yoga offers a programme called Creative Wellbeing to children at Primary and Secondary level.
Creative Wellbeing is a dynamic and interactive way of learning about wellbeing through play, movement, dance, sound and art.
It has three core modules-
Yoga, Somatic Movement, Postural Alignment, Stress & Tension Release, Expressive Dance
Mental- Emotional Wellbeing:
Meditation, Mindful Self Compassion, Yoga Nidra, Breath-work, Focusing Techniques, Creativity for Health
Personal Values, Needs, Decision-Making, Recognition of Fears & Ambitions, Goals
Workshops engage all aspects of the child’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing through interactive exercises, games, creative tasks and personal reflection.
- Movement: Yoga, Dance, Games
- Body Awareness: Posture & Tension Release
- Skill practice: Expression, Communication, Relaxation, Listening, Concentration, Motivation, Stress Management, Self Care
- Personal Understanding: Self- Awareness, Resilience and Self Compassion
- Group work and Self Reflection exercises
“All change starts with an awareness of who I am and what I need.”
Students will learn skills that will have a positive and lasting impact on their school and adult life.
- Self Awareness
- Understanding of the indicators of stress
- Personal Care and Active Wellbeing
- Confidence in Decision-Making
- Emotional and Social intelligence
- Self Motivation and Resilience
- Daily Practice based on their Needs
Outline of workshop programme:
Junior, Senior infants classes:
Expressive Movement through music and imagery, Yoga with storytelling, Breathing exercises to calm, Visualisation/ Relaxation, Body Scan.
1st and 2nd classes:
Movement and Yoga sequences to release nervous tension/ anxiety to encourage expression and confidence in moving, Breathing exercises to calm and energise the mind, Mindfulness meditation (technique with focus on sound, sensation and space).
3rd and 4th classes:
Yoga, Flow sequence for daily practice to waken the body and brain, Mindful Walk, Techniques to improve focus (Brain Gym), What is Stress?, Breath work to calm, to energise and to destress.
5th and 6th classes:
Yoga to encourage self-awareness, Mindfulness, Breath-work, Focusing technique: a partner exercise practicing active listening, self-expression that explores the mind-body connection, Techniques to deal with an over-active mind, difficulty sleeping, how to support positive mindset in low times, compassion for self and others.
For SEN children:
Creative expression through dance, breathing practices with gentle sound work that creates relaxation and helps in stressful situations, mindfulness, self-care and compassion practices.
Each class will be customised to the age group, attention-span and specific needs of the class group as advised by their teacher.
For the teaching staff:
Yoga, Somatic Movement, Breathing practices, Meditation to calm the mind and body.
Explanation throughout of the benefits behind each practice and how to apply them to the classroom and to different student’s needs.
Discussion with practical demonstration of how to encourage body-awareness and present moment attention in busy, device-heavy daily life; the importance of expression to release anxiety/ tension /emotion and the importance of authentic dialogue based on body-based techniques to encourage self-confidence and support decision-making.
Wellbeing days are based on facilitating workshops during school hours (9-2:30pm)
1 day may consist of 8 workshops of 30-60mins duration depending on the age group of the students.
The number of days depends on the number of classes in the school and students per workshop.
For further details on pricing and timetable examples please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 087-9633229.
School classes are scheduled within the school timetable throughout a term/ school year.
Weekly classes bring children through a range of creative practices to build their personal awareness of themselves, how they feel, how they relate to their body and how they engage with others through the group and partner work activities.
Classes tailor to the age of each group- for the younger students- a class may begin with guided yoga movements, followed by storytelling through dance.
They learn about different qualities of experience through guided movement practices and creative games where they explore characteristics such as strength, confidence, sensitivity, friendship, support and trust. Children develop active listening skills, emotional intelligence, empathy, personal understanding and patience.
Children learn different meditation and breathing techniques to restore balance and calm in their bodies. These tools empower the children to check how they are feeling and use techniques they have learnt to help themselves calm-down, relieve any worries or busy thoughts, go to sleep more easily or to be more patient with their teachers, friends and family.
At the end of the class there is a guided relaxation where each child sits or lies down with a cushion and blanket relaxing their minds and bodies to allow them to rest, absorb new learning, calm their nervous system and become more aware of their body.
Click here to download- Primary School_ Creative Wellbeing Programme
Got a question? Please email Laura@healingyoga.ie or phone 087-963322
SCHOOL FEEDBACK SURVEY (2019)-
Teachers surveyed their students after the workshops to gather feedback in their own words:
“Laura Dowdall’s workshops were a central element in our recent, highly-successful ‘Wellbeing Week’.
Laura’s gift of effective communication, pupil-motivation and enjoyable presentation ensured a positive response from teachers and pupils.
Feedback indicated that many relaxing techniques were learned, which will help us all become more in tune with our bodies and deal with stress.
With the current national focus on wellbeing and the importance of teaching positive mental health strategies to children, these workshops are a timely and valuable resource to any school.”
– Brianóg Brady Dawson, Deputy Principal, Holy Trinity National School
How do you feel after doing the Creative Wellbeing workshop?
” Good: Thumbs Up! Okay; Super; Excellent.” (Junior Infants, 4-5 years old)
“Good; Active; Sleepy; Relaxed; Tired.” (Senior Infants, 5-6 year olds)
“Refreshed; Calm; Happy;Relaxed; Very Comfortable.” (1st class, 6-7 year olds)
“Relaxed and Happy; Calm; Sleepy; Cosy; Comfortable; Relaxed and ‘at home.” (1st class, 6-7 year olds)
“Relaxed; Calm; Comfortable; Flexible; Sleepy; Peaceful.” (2nd class, 7-8 year olds)
“Relaxed: Calm; Peaceful; Heartwarming; Happy; Feeling Comfortable; De-stressed; Focused.” (2nd class, 7-8 year olds)
“Calm; Relaxed; Good about Myself; Good.” (3rd class, 9 year olds)
” Inspired, Good, Relaxed; happy.” (4th class, 10 year olds)
“Relaxed; Tired; Calm; Sleepy; Peaceful; In a better mood; Connected; Energised; Excited and upbeat for no reason.” (5th class, 10-12 year olds)
How is your body, mind and mood after doing the workshop?
“Awake, Sleepy; Good Energy; Wants to rest/sleep; Happy; Super; Excellent; Good.”(Junior Infants, 4-5 years old)
“Awake; Happy; Excited; Nice; Kind; Happier.” (Senior Infants, 5-6 year olds)
“Energised; Refreshed; Floating; Relaxed; Weird; Calm; Good; Comfortable; Warm.” (1st class, 6-7 year olds)
“More Energy; Switched off; Mind is on; Got Tired; Calmer; Balanced; Happy.” (2nd class, 7-8 year olds)
“It feels more relaxed; My breathing is a lot calmer; My breathing is slower.” (2nd class, 7-8 year olds)
“Feel a good energy; Happy; Awake; Sleepy; Peaceful; Relaxed; Calm; Normal; Don’t know.” (3rd class, 9 year olds)
“More relaxed in my mind and looser in my body.” (4th class, 10 year olds)
“Better from how I was before; Energised; Open-minded; Happy, Relaxed, Excited; Breathing has improved; Calm; Peaceful; More Focused; Relaxed; Sleepy.” (5th class, 10-12 year olds)
What do you remember from the workshop that you might do at home or show your family?
” Monkey Swing; Monkey Walk; Candle breath; Cat crawl; closing the eyes to rest the head (Head Rest).”(Junior Infants, 4-5 years old)
“Closing eyes; tapping body; Swinging arms like tree branches; Bear Walk; Monkey Walk; Lying down (some fell asleep); Cat Crawl.” (Senior Infants, 5-6 year olds)
“Candle Breath; Cross-body brain exercise; Rainbow Breath to calm.” (1st class, 6-7 year olds)
“Rainbow breathing; BumbleBee breathing; I was bumblebee breathing before school today; Candle-breath- I showed my sister; I showed my brother about breathing out slowly.” (2nd class, 7-8 year olds)
” Ear to Ear (brain gym); Swimming Dragon; Rainbow breath; Deep breathing for calming down; Meditation with eyes closed.” (2nd class, 7-8 year olds)
“Wood chopper; Dog into bridge; Candle Breath; Swimming Dragon; Rainbow technique.” (3rd class, 9 year olds)
“Candle breath; Rainbow; Swimming dragon.” (4th class, 10 year olds)
“Downward dog into rainbow; Cat Cow; Woodchopper; Floor Rolls; Senses exercises; Thought into a balloon, letting them float and pop; Melting Candle; Mindful Walking.” (5th class, 10-12 year olds)
What did you really enjoy?
” Swinging monkey; Monkey Walk; Playing with my friends.” (Junior Infants, 4-5 years old)
“Being on the ground as it was relaxing and comfrotable; Monkey walk because it was fun.” (Senior Infants, 5-6 year olds)
“Candle breath; Cross-Body; Lying down relaxation; Rainbow; Sitting Still.” (1st class, 6-7 year olds)
“Rainbow Breathingcause it made me feel calm and warm; Swimming dragon; Candle breath; Power nap; Meditation.” (1st class, 6-7 year olds)
“All the dancing! ; Dancing with the scarf; Mindful walking, Bumblebee breathing.” (2nd class, 7-8 year olds)
” Dog and cat; Putting bad feeling to the side; Power Nap was very relaxing; Swinging.” (2nd class, 7-8 year olds)
“Feeling calm and relaxed; Downward dog into bridge pose (Body Puzzles)- it was fun and made your mind concentrate; Woodchopper stress release- it felt like I could destroy my bad feelings; Meditation; Focusing on the breath.” (3rd class, 9 year olds)
” The calmness; Breathing; Tribal dance; Evolution game; Dog to cat.” (4th class, 10 year olds)
Candle Gazing; Dancing; Woodchopper stress release; Floor rolling; Breathing with eyes closed.” (5th class, 10-12 year olds)
Did you learn new ways to relax your body and calm your mind?
“Yes” (from everyone in the classes)
When will this be helpful?
” At bedtime; When feeling sleepy and need to wake up.” (Junior Infants, 4-5 years old)
“If you feel sad or angry you can give yourself a hug.” (Senior Infants, 5-6 year olds)
” When you are stressed; When you need a time-out.”(1st class, 6-7 year olds)
“When I am angry and have lots of things in my head that I can’t solve.” (1st class, 6-7 year olds)
“When I’m angry; When I’m upset; When I’m stressed; When I’m frustrated; When I can’t sleep.” (2nd class, 7-8 year olds)
“To clear the mind and release stress; when trying to sleep; When your Sad; Worried; Scared.” (2nd class, 7-8 year olds)
“When you are stressed; When you lose your temper; If your mind is full of thinking; To calm and relax.” (3rd class, 9 year olds)
“During class; In times of conflict; To relax.” (5th class, 10-12 year olds)
Feedback on Teacher and Parent Workshops:
“Students most certainly appeared rejuvenated after the workshop. There most certainly was a calmness for the rest of the day. I will most definitely bring in many more movement breaks into class time. I would definitely recommend Creative Wellbeing as it is a wonderful way to motivate students and teachers to bring wellbeing into the classroom.” – 1st class Teacher
“Students seemed a lot calmer and happy at the end of the session, they were all very enthusiastic. They seemed very focused the following morning after the wellbeing workshop. I would definitely recommend this workshop! It’s important for children to have strategies to express their feelings and cope with anxiety. Parents should be aware of these too.” – 2nd class Teacher
“I thoroughly enjoyed the class for the teachers and the workshop for parents. All the content was so useful and relevant and has inspired me to make sure I do more. Thank you so much!” – 2nd class Teacher
“Students felt a lot calmer and seemed a lot brighter in their expressions afterwards. They seemed settled and relaxed. I felt a good energy from them for the rest of the day. I would recommend this workshop, I loved the techniques and will use them for helping children with worries or bad feelings.” – 3rd class Teacher
“They were really calm and relaxed after the session. They were focused and ready to learn!” – 5th class Teacher
” The children were much calmer afterwards. I’d highly recommend this programme of student workshops and the teachers workshop. The teachers workshop was really useful and gave lots of helpful activities for the classroom. Thanks you!” – 1st class Teacher
” The class was very calm afterwards. There were lots of nice ideas I will adapt. I would recommend this as it is necessary for all children for concentration and to control anxious feelings.” – Junior Infants Teacher
“The children were much calmer afterwards. I will do the meditation after lunch to calm the children. I would recommend this programme to schools and parents, it is very insightful and relaxing. It allows parents to get the children to share their thoughts and not to be stressed.” – Parent and Teacher of 2nd class
Creative Facilitator & Coach
Laura Sarah Dowdall is a wellbeing expert working one to one, in group and workshop settings, she offers an integrated practice that combines her skills in dance, yoga, meditation, bio-energetic energy work, reiki and life coaching to create an enriching whole body experience.
“Yoga, mindfulness and meditation can be just the antidote to the go-go, technology-saturated lives in which children are immersed. Dowdall aims to empower them with techniques that they can use in decision-making and in recognising and coping with different emotions.”
– Extract from Irish Times Article in the Family and Health Supplement, September 2017.
For an extract from the IRISH TIMES Health Supplement on September 4th mentioning Healing Yoga’s Workshops for Schools with an interview with Laura: Click here!