According to the winner of a prestigious teaching award, teachers should introduce yoga classes, meditation and mindfulness practices in Australian classrooms.
Nominated for the Australian Scholarships Group’s National Excellence in Teaching Awards, Radha Babicci, 35, is the teaching director at Emmerick Street Community Preschool – located in the Suburb of Lilyfield in Sydney’s inner west.
Radha won the leadership and development category of the national teaching awards, after a parent from her school nominated her.
As part of her teaching routine, Radha conducts daily meditation and mindfulness sessions with her students. She also runs a 30-minute yoga class on an afternoon once a week.
“We do a different meditation every day. Once at 11am, before lunch, and again at 1.30pm before story time,” she told news.com.au. “We start with belly breaths, then it might be listening to sounds, or we focus on happiness and think about the people that make us happy.”
Radha said her yoga classes are unique and different to what adults might be used to.
“If you walked into my yoga class, you probably wouldn’t think we were doing yoga because we do dancing as well. It’s more physical and fun and sometimes it gets loud. We act out different animals, we dance through the emotions — we dance ‘happy’, dance ‘sad’ — and it always ends with quiet time. Then they get to feel relaxed at the end and I guide them through a meditation,” she said.
Radha says she receives positive feedback from both children and their parents with the sessions really helping the students in her classes.
“Parents say that when their children go onto primary school they have used the belly breathing to help them calm down. There’s definitely evidence to show that mindfulness helps children to develop social and emotional skills, which have been shown to be very important to academic and life success,” she said.
Radha says she believes children would benefit if more teachers and schools introduced daily mindfulness practices.
“There’s a lot of great work being done, but in the early childhood sector it’s unusual. Research has shown that social and emotional intelligence is the foundation to good learning,” she said.
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