An 11 year old Bayswater girl is promoting the benefits of mindfulness among children, leading early morning yoga classes at MercyCare’s Bedford Early Learning Centre.
St Peters Primary School Year 6 student Jaida O’Connor hosts the 30 minute yoga sessions for children, from kindy to year 6, in a bid to improve their focus and wellbeing.
The sessions began after MercyCare’s Bedford Early Learning Centre took part in the University of WA’s PLAYCE study, pioneering research about the physical activity and health of young Western Australian children.
The study, in collaboration with the Telethon Kids Institute and the Australian Childcare Alliance (WA), assesses the physical activity levels of children when attending daycare and while at home.
With these results, researchers host a development day to work with families and centre educators to create opportunities to improve opportunities for growth, development and overall health through physical activity.
Tegan Hansen, Coordinator at MercyCare’s Bedford Early Learning Centre, said the morning yoga classes were a great way to engage children in physical activity at the start of the day.
“The PLAYCE study of our centre found that children were more active in the afternoon, so we decided to look at ways to improve physical activity in the mornings,” Ms Hansen said.
“The yoga classes are an opportunity to awaken children in the mornings, both physically and mentally.
“All children are encouraged to participate to the best of their ability. Their favourite part of the class is the free style dance portion where they can have fun and express themselves.”
Jaida’s mother, Belinda, said her daughter enjoyed helping staff and the younger children.
“Her favourite part is teaching the dance moves,” she said. “Jaida has flourished since she started leading the class.
“It’s a win-win. She gets just as much out of the yoga sessions as the young children do.”