This is it folks, we are down to the final two letters of the challenge and they are tricky ones!
Young friends groups - another initiative I have introduced at my school and which I am particularly proud of is the running of a Young Friends Group that takes place once a week after school. This started due to my collaboration with one of our school health nurses and has proved to be very successful not only for those children from my own school but others in the area. My school donates our school hall for the group to use and I stay behind to provide a separate room for those parents who wish to stay and have a cup of tea or coffee whilst the school health team work with the group of up to 12 children. All of these children have been referred due to emotional problems and particularly in making and keeping friendships and are aged between 9-11. It is particularly important for some of these children to have access to this program before they begin secondary education.
The children play games and discuss issues affecting them working on a particular topic each week. They are given "homework" to do with their families and to bring back for the following session. We have run two 8 week courses so far and have been delighted with the results we have seen. Once again my own students have made me so proud of the way in which they have greeted the other children from different schools and have made them feel so welcome:) Some of the other parents have been so overcome in telling me how much their child has achieved by even week 2 of the program and how they can't quite believe how my students have been able to make their child feel so much better and yet my students are supposed to be ones with problems!! On the back of this program we have also begun to set up parenting workshops (once again delivered by the health professionals) for our more "nervous/cautious" parents. The aim is to spread the message that we are here to help not judge and that EVERYONE sometimes needs a bit of support in their life and if as a school we can do that then we will :)
Please let me know if your child has participated in anything like this and whether you think schools should be offering more support in conjunction with other services such as health?
Yoga - I have to admit this is not something I have had personal experience with but I do know other teachers who have found this to a be another way to help children with special needs. Relaxation techniques can modify anxiety and stress issues and a deeper knowledge of controlling their bodies can help those with ADHD. I can speak from personal experience of the effect I am experiencing myself now that I take part in a monthly pilates lesson - I can visualise my body and how to "move" various muscles and I get a really pleasurable almost out of body experience when doing some of the relaxation/cool down exercises. If I was still teaching PE classes, I know I would be incorporating some of these movements into my lessons.
I have found a good set of articles on the benefits of yoga for children (if you wish to read further) at this website:
Obviously, it would be great if anyone who does yoga would like to leave a comment about what they feel is the benefit to them or what they could potentially see for using this technique with children :)
Yarn bombing - you should know me by now - I like visual things so check out the yarn bombing that happened in my local area :)
Yarn bombing as you can see is a type of street art and involves individuals and groups making knitted things which transform normal objects in the street such as bollards, lamp-posts, gates and trees to name a few. It has even been used by police as a way of reducing fear of crime and communities feeling more in control of their own areas. Although technically it is illegal (as it is a form of graffiti) it can be easily removed if necessary and most people seem to enjoy the effect it brings on their surroundings. I have a secret wish to join a yarn bombing group and carry out this illegal type of behaviour - so keep an eye out for photos later on this year as there may be other yarn bombings coming to this blog!!
Is there anything you have a secret desire to do (please not too rude!!) and may get involved with this year? Let me know!
Freebie for Y is my: Yo Ho Ho Odds & Evens game
Hope you enjoy :)