Hear from education leader Monica how Explore and Develop Lilyfield implemented the Karma Classroom techniques and the positive changes they have seen with the children and families at home.
Yoga and Mindfulness - a centre-wide approach
After the crisis of Covid-19 hit our 56-place centre in Lilyfield, we found an overwhelming response from the children crying for help... literally. Our educators found that the children’s emotional resilience was at an all-time low. Their ability to cope with change diminished and their abilities to tackle challenging situations was minimal. Our educators were at a place where they too were exhausted from change, whilst trying to stay afloat for all the children and families in our education and care setting. At this point, we were open to any new possibility... incoming yoga and mindfulness!
Beth Borowsky and The Karma Class
Through networking we had heard about ‘The Karma Class’ and thought we would give it a try. Starting with a class for our Wombat pre-schoolers, Beth taught the children yoga poses and different breathing exercises using their body and different materials. After watching the children tranquilly engage in yoga, we thought... this could be a success!
Moving on from there, Beth held their 3 hour fast track A Karma Classroom PD on a Saturday for all our educators to learn how to bring minutes of yoga and mindfulness into the classroom every day. Teaching different yoga poses, breathing exercises and mindful activities, Beth also explained the perfect time to implement these into our day.
At first, our staff were unsure of the professional development session. In the week leading up to it, I had a lot of educators sharing their discomforts for yoga and their uncertainties about participating in the whole-team Saturday training. But what a success this day became! After our session, some educators decided that they wanted to take up yoga themselves! They all found it relaxing, practical and inspiring and were ready to start incorporating the new skills and tools on Monday morning!
Using the Karma Classroom Activity Cards, the educators practiced teaching different yoga poses, breathing exercises, guided meditations, and mindful activities during the PD – so much fun!
Some of the best times we found useful to implement these practices include:
- Transitioning between environments
- Transitioning from a loud environment to a quiet environment (eg. entering the classroom after outdoor play).
- Calming our bodies for rest time
- During rest time
- During morning and afternoon group time
- Out in nature
- On our excursions
Impact on the Children
Yoga and mindfulness have made a tremendous impact on our children. Through daily rituals and routines incorporating yoga, breath and mindful experiences, the children have learnt different poses and breathing exercises. When faced with conflicts and challenges, they use breathing exercises alongside their educators calm down and/or resolve issues.
The children are more settled during transition times, adopting a calmer approach towards change. They are able to connect with their bodies and understand the many ways they can move. We even have children holding their own yoga sessions with their friends - even our 19 months kids!
Overall, the classroom environments have become tranquil, connected and light...
Impact on Families
Documenting our journey through Kinderloop, our families have shared their amazement towards their children adopting mindful practices. Some families have asked for pictures of the yoga poses to implement at home. One of the parents in our Possum room, who has previously networked with Beth and is a yoga instructor herself, was delighted to see these practices being implemented every day. We were even lucky to have her come in and hold a yoga session for our Possum junior-preschool.
Not only are our families happy to see yoga and mindfulness incorporated into the children’s routine, but they’ve also noticed their children adopting these practices at home - sharing them with their siblings and parents, as well as teaching their families calming exercises when times get tough at home.
Have a look at these videos showing how some of Lilyfield's classrooms have implemented yoga and mindfulness into their practices.