Primary School Wellbeing
Creative Wellbeing is a comprehensive wellbeing program for schools that includes:
- Student Workshops bespoke to different ages and needs
- Teacher and Staff Wellbeing workshops
- Interactive Parent Talks, Family Workshops
- Online Classroom Supports for Teachers,
- Teacher Training Programs and
- Pre and post-workshop Assessment
For learning to be effective and sustainable we need to consider the school and home environment and encourage the integration of new learning into all aspects of a child’s family and school life.
The unique creative focus on learning and caring for our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing through movement allows for greater engagement, expression, progression, and transformation for both adults and children.
Skills for Life:
Learning positive self-care tools educates and empowers children and young adults to proactively manage their physical and mental health, develop emotional intelligence, and encourages their progress towards personal goals and ambitions.
We are constantly challenged by complexities and pressures associated with 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 an increased need to learn practical skills to support our health, relationships, to manage overload, stress, and anxiety.
A lot is demanded of teachers; aside from educating they are supporting children with a complexity of emotional, behavioural, and learning difficulties that affect their concentration, development, and social engagement.
Lockdown, COVID regulations, social-distancing, and protocols around contact have added huge stress and strain to family and school life. Children have experienced new pressures and confusion that will require additional sensitivity and support from their teachers on their return to school.
Creative Wellbeing supports student wellbeing through practical and creative techniques to engage student interest and support the learning environment and morale within the classroom. This program supports teachers in designing the wellbeing components of their curriculum.
The Creative Wellbeing program brings the best of Science, Neurology, Mindfulness, Yoga, Clinical Somatic Movement ( Hanna and Feldenkreis Techniques), Life and Wellness Coaching, Bio-Energetic Healing, and Tension Release modalities together to create a Total Wellbeing Experience.
Creative Wellbeing integrates the best of movement practices to support holistic wellbeing.
Yoga, Somatic Movement – Hanna Somatics and Feldenkreis Techniques
Stress & Tension Release, Qi Gong, Brain Gym
Developmental Movement Patterns, Contemporary Dance
Mental- Emotional Wellbeing:
Movement Meditation, Mindful Self Compassion
Expressive Dance Practice, Authentic Movement
Yoga Nidra, Breath-work, Focusing Techniques
Personal Values, Needs, Decision-Making, Recognition of Fears,
Creative Wellbeing in Schools in 2020
Online Resources for the Classroom :
Movement for Wellbeing: Training for Primary School Educators
Movement for Wellbeing is a specialist program for Primary School Teachers, SNAs and SEN teachers.
Learn practical techniques to bring creative movement into the classroom to soothe anxiety, refresh attention and inspire positivity.
No equipment required, accessible to all students, COVID compliant to small classroom spaces and limited contact.
Teachers will gain new ideas for –
- Movement Breaks to Refresh Mind and Body
- Creative Movement for Tension and Emotional Release
- Self-Soothing Techniques for Student Self-Care
- Methods of Non-Verbal Communication for Worry and Anxiety Relief
Training for Teachers can be done as part of Croke Park Hours as an online course with live workshops consisting of eight modules- for full details see: Teacher Training: Movement for Wellbeing Foundation Program
Teachers Toolkit: Movement for Wellbeing Classroom Resources
Online video resources for the classroom to support mental, emotional, social, and physical wellbeing and inspire children with the skills for self-care.
Teachers have access to a library of video resources categorized by theme and time duration so teachers can choose the ideal practice to use throughout the school day to support student wellbeing through movement.
Teachers Toolkit of Classroom Resources includes video supports for:
Morning Movement Practices –
- Centering: Tree of Life, Tapping, Spirals
- Grounding: Finding My Feet, Down to Earth
- Invigorating: Swimming Dragon
- Soothing: Rainbow Breath
Movement Breaks for Physical & Mental Health-
- Tension Release: Wood Chopper, Foot Stamp
- Fresh Minds: Humming Bee, Thunderstorm
- Wakeful Focus: Brain Gym, Body Puzzles
- Calm and Quiet: Counting Breath, Candle Breath
- Dexterity and Coordination: Somatic Movement for Kids, All fours
Movement for Wellbeing Activity Session-
- Kids Yoga: Evolution, Flip Side, Super Hero
- Movement Meditation: Mindful Walk, Pause-Play, Spring Clean
- Somatic Movement for Kids: Body Awareness, Spine, Hips, Limbs, Head & Shoulders
- Dance: Around the World, Chapters, Body Puzzles
- Contemporary Release Technique: Body Puzzles
- Creative Movement: Shapes, Indian Hand Dancing, Painting Space
- Authentic Movement
- Partner Work: Contact Improvisation, Trio Dance Maps
Rest and Relax:
- Deep Rest
- Listening Practice
- Heart Space
- Self Compassion Path
- Body Awareness
- Focusing In
- Labyrinth Reflection
- E-Motion Dance
Staff Wellbeing program
Online Staff Wellbeing resources include access to a library of video and audio classes, tutorials and meditations they can access as their schedule allows. Content includes:
Healing Yoga restores harmony to body and mind through a blend of hatha yoga, kundalini practices, qi gong, tension and trauma release exercises, breathwork and meditation
Somatic Movement creates greater ease, fluidity and longevity in the body. Practices are inspired by Feldenkreis, Hanna Somatics, Embodiment, Contemporary Dance, and Somatic Experiencing.
Meditation & Self-Care Practices support your mental health so you can better manage stress and anxiety, learn how to deeply relax and restore calm to your mind. A variety of practices offer new learning each week, including- Deep Rest Meditation, Yoga Nidra, Reiki Energy Healing, Self-Compassion techniques, and Practical Self-Care.
Active Week- Online Events:
Live Online Wellbeing Workshops for-
Students learn skills that will have a positive and lasting impact on their school and adult life.
- Self Awareness
- Skills for Self-Care
- Confidence in Decision-Making
- Understanding of Stress
- Self Motivation and Resilience
- Tools to Support Mental and Emotional Health
- Methods to Enhance Learning
- Practical Skills for Life Situations
Teachers and Staff:
The ability of the teacher to be present and their capacity to role-model wellbeing reflects the learning potential of their students to respond and resonate with wellbeing teachings.
Throughout the student and teacher workshops, teachers will receive guidance and explanation of the benefits behind each movement practice and how to apply them to the classroom and to different student’s needs.
Workshop with a practical interactive demonstration of how to:
– Encourage Body-Awareness and Present-moment attention in busy, device-heavy daily life
– Release anxiety/ tension /emotion through creative expression and movement
– Dialogue using body-based techniques to encourage a child to express themselves
– Encourage self-confidence and Self-Esteem
– Support children in independent decision-making.
Parent and Child Workshop
In this workshop, parents will reawaken all the main movement patterns in their body, improve their dexterity, flexibility, creativity and sense of joy through expressive practices.
Parents will feel wonderful and children will be overjoyed to learn, play and explore together!
From this place of shared play and expression, both parent and child can better relate to each other, experience a greater bond and feel more ease and comfort in expressing how they feel to each other.
Creative Wellbeing is adapted to the needs, abilities, and interests of each class group/ school.
Here is a sample overview of a 2019 program for a Primary School:
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 energize the mind, Mindfulness meditation (technique with a 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?, Breathwork to calm/ energize/ 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 customized to the age group, attention-span and specific needs of the class group as advised by their.
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!