According to reports, approximately one in seven Australian children experience a mental health disorder and half of these mental health issues begin before the age of 14.
Comparably, over half of Australian teachers experience anxiety and 1 in 5 are depressed.
With these alarming statistics, how can schools facilitate an environment where their teachers and children are working and learning in a healthy environment?
One promising solution, called The Karma Class, is providing teachers with a unique, results orientated approach to better learning outcomes. Some of the initiative’s practical inspiring techniques include yoga, breath and mindfulness.
The Karma Class founder, Beth Borowsky, holds a Masters in early childhood education and has been a Montessori preschool teacher, course creator for Australian Curriculum Enhancement, is a mum, yoga teacher and teacher trainer.
“I have come to appreciate how the underlying characteristics of mindfulness, presence and body awareness together with breathing and movement, can be a powerful force for change in the way we teach and the way our children learn”, Borowsky said.
She said kids who experience anxiety have not developed interoception – the sense that helps them to understand what they’re experiencing internally. Without this awareness, says Borowsky, they are unable to cope with these feelings and effectively learn.
“By offering opportunities throughout the school day – just minutes of mindful movement, breath and mindfulness experiences – teachers will be providing students with invaluable gifts that will support them throughout life, not just in these early years,” Borowsky said.
Borowsky has developed two programs, Karma Classrooms and Karma Kids Yoga.
“Karma Classrooms is a training program accredited by the National Education Standards Authority (NESA) and is a practical course for early childhood and primary teachers to help manage stress in the classroom as well as in their own lives”, Borowsky said.
“These are life-long tools that are easy to implement and extend far beyond the classroom. Teachers don’t need to know anything about yoga and breath – we give them all the tools to easily implement the program into their classrooms immediately.”
Borowsky said teachers have been loving the course, providing testimonials such as, “very informative, simple structure for applying yoga, breathing and mindfulness into the school space” and “well presented and great material”.
“The Karma Class could be the game changer our education system needs to promote better mental health outcomes for not just our children but our teachers too,” she said.