15th June 2017
Our Relaxation and Well-being club is held on a Friday afternoon after the children have had their chips for lunch. We all tend to feel a bit fizzy or tired as it is the end of a busy week of learning, so we all start the session by taking off our shoes outside of the door and putting our bags down.
Together we all go into the dark room where there is relaxing music playing and everyone chooses a beanbag to lie on. The children have been breathing to a simple mantra of ‘in through the nose, out through the mouth.' Focusing on their breath helps them relax into their beanbags and become still. We have tried two different types of breathing; we have tried deep breathing, visualizing the air travel to your stomach and all the way back out again, and we have tried bumble bee breathing, in which you hum as you breath out. The vibration through your body as you hum has a calming effect in mind and body.
We have been practising peer hand and shoulder massage. The children have learnt to ask before they touch; ‘May I please touch your shoulders/hand?' I talk them through the different ways to massage their partner; it can be brushing the snow off their shoulders, picking flowers, rolling dough or chopping vegetables. The children are learning to ask their partner how it feels. They are also learning to tell their partner if they do not like it and how it can be different, or just asking them to stop. This teaches respect and consideration for others.
Children dip in and out of these lunch-time sessions, however we do have some regulars who really benefit from having a calm 20 minutes before their Thrive afternoons to re-charge. There is not often time in the day for these children to lie with their eyes closed and think about nothing except their breathing and how their body feels. A few children do fall into a light sleep within the 20 minutes; it is nice to see they feel safe and calm enough to do so.
We have introduced visualization of a place in their heads called ‘The Island’. We have discussed how the children can visit the Island in their heads when they close their eyes, and how different areas on the Island are good for exploring certain feelings they may have. We have drawn pictures of a garden on the island and talked about the feeling of happiness. We will move on to explore the feelings of sadness and anger, and how visiting the Island can help you with these feelings.
The relationships between the children at relaxation club are improving every week, we have talked about how everyone in the room is sharing their feeling of relaxation together. The group have learnt the word ‘Namaste’, which can mean a lot of things, but for us it means ‘I see you.'