Yoga to reduce stress amongst school children

24 January 2017

Students from Wiley Park Public School have been practicing health and mental wellness thanks to a $5,200 donation from Canterbury League Club which went towards employing a yoga instructor, Despina Rosales, who taught classes at the school.

The idea for yoga came from the school’s Learning Support Team who were looking at ways to support student wellbeing with a priority on supporting children who were newly arrived, children with issues of anxiety and behaviour, and children who needed more opportunities to socialise amongst each other.

“As staff, we have participated in yoga sessions in the past and believe that it helped improve our working environment through peer participation and developing friendships. Yoga often teaches strategies of calmness and relaxation which we thought would be beneficial to some of our students in terms of improving behaviour and anger management,” said Susie Hadid, Deputy Principal at Wiley Park PS.

The yoga program runs once a week at lunchtime across all four school terms with kindergarten to Year 6 students receiving the opportunity to participate in the classes.

“The first half an hour is allocated to specific classes so that all children across the school have the opportunity to engage in the program. The second half an hour is open to the first 25 students who wish to come and we have found that they have become regular participants. The second group in particular are extremely keen, they show up early, get their mats organised and want to get straight into their lesson,” said Susie.

“With two regular teachers supporting the yoga teacher, it is evident that children, particularly in the second group of regular students, have improved in various ways including listening skills, following instructions, participation in group settings, relaxation techniques, supporting peers and encouraging one another,” said Mrs Cook, classroom teacher at Wiley Park PS.

Wiley Park PS’s teachers have also commented on how participants have shown an improvement in their classroom behaviour and the way in which they deal with problems and issues in the classroom and playground. 

“Children nowadays are being bombarded with so many different messages which can cause a lot of internal stresses – a yoga program like this is an active solution to help calm and centre their minds while also encouraging physical exercise from a young age,” said Dr George Peponis OAM, Chairman of Canterbury League Club.