STUDENTS at Hillarys Primary School have been taking time out to concentrate on their mental health and wellbeing.
Paula Flugge recently spent five weeks at the school with her Phys Zen program of movement, meditation and mindfulness to help children reduce their anxiety and promote mental, physical and emotional health.
As a primary school teacher who majored in physical education and a qualified yoga instructor, Ms Flugge said she started the local business after seeing a need to help students with a “toolkit of strategies for increasing self-regulation and resilience in their daily lives”.
“I have witnessed firsthand the rise of anxiety in children and the decline of mental health,” she said.
“The consequences of our dependence on smart devices and social media are starting to become apparent and the statistics are concerning.
“I’ve combined my years of teaching strategies with the tremendous benefits derived from yoga and meditation to provide a skills based, five-week immersion program for students from Year 1 through to Year 6.”
Ms Flugge said the program utilised breath work, mindful movement, yoga poses, meditation and relaxation techniques.
“Anxiety in the classroom affects academic performance, focus in lessons and social connections,” she said.
“The Phys Zen program helps children gain a greater awareness of their own and others’ emotions.
“Learning the importance of empathy, in turn, improves self-regulation, behaviour and positive decision-making.”
Teacher Nola Gibson said she was able to see the positive impact of the sessions.
“Not only were the children excited and eager to attend each week, but it was immediately obvious on their return to class they were relaxed, settled and increasingly focussed on the work at hand,” she said.
Schools can book Ms Flugge to bring the Phys Zen program for five consecutive weeks within a term.
All equipment including yoga mats, breathing and meditation props and eye pillows are supplied.