Health, wellbeing & movement—practising mindfulness at SDN Owl's House at UNSW, Kingsford

Positive mental health helps children to feel safe, resilient and ready to learn.

At SDN Owl’s House at UNSW, regular yoga classes support the health, wellbeing and movement of the children, and influence the spread of mindful practices throughout the centre.  

Each Monday, Katie from Inner Child Yoga visits the centre and runs short yoga sessions with the children. Infant and Toddler groups join the mats under the tree first, with short classes tailored to their developmental stages, before the preschoolers begin a longer class. 

Katie has been visiting the centre for years now, and knows the children by name. As the preschoolers arrive on their yoga mats she welcomes them warmly, and the children chatter about their morning so far. They ask about the ‘poem book’ they’ve been working their way through – full of affirmations and poems about mindfulness and resilience. This week they’ll do something different though, because it’s National Reconciliation Week. Katie introduces a Dreaming story familiar to the children, about the rainbow creation snake, and she begins the class.  

Throughout the session, the children practice mindful breathing and yoga poses in a balance of movement, mindfulness and games that keep them thoroughly engaged. Katie uses the Dreaming story to introduce breathwork and poses to the children, bringing their attention to the way their bodies move and feel, and their in and out breathing. 

Yoga finishes with everyone laying on their backs, listening to music and looking at the trees. The children practise “belly breathing” and notice how the light comes through the foliage, how the leaves move with a gentle breeze.  

Staff apply what they learn from Katie’s visits in different ways across their programs. Educators practice mindful relaxation with children every day, there are quiet indoor spaces for children to retreat to and practice breathing techniques, and a range of movement activities promote health and wellbeing. and prioritise the development of emotional regulation and resilience across the program.   

“I think the mindfulness and yoga has really influenced our practice,” Centre Director Bethany says. “Children are capable learners and we’re so glad to see how our experiences nurture the children’s wellbeing in different dimensions.”

Being healthy and well is about more than food and physical activity. For children, it’s about feeling loved and having a positive sense of identity as well. Yoga and mindfulness at SDN Owl’s House is helping children learn to manage their emotions, make meaningful connections with one another, and build habits that support an active, healthy lifestyle.  

To learn more about our preschool program and curriculum pillars, visit this page here.

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