Self-regulation project a hit at Hope Island
We all know about the benefits of yoga and relaxation for adults. But did you know, yoga and mindfulness have also been shown to improve both physical and mental health in children?
Yoga and relaxation techniques for children can improve balance, strength, endurance and aerobic capacity in children, as well as psychological benefits. And emerging research shows yoga may also help with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as boosting school performance. 
Goodstart Hope Island centre director Pollyann Webb said the centre had instigated a self-regulation mindfulness project a number of months ago, which incorporates meditation, earthing and yoga.
After taking part in Goodstart’s Family Connections program, Ms Webb said she started thinking about the children attending the centre, and the impacts of their family life, getting ready for school and the importance of learning self-regulation.
“To us, every child is important and our aim is to support children’s desire to be life-long learners and to develop life-skills,” Ms Webb said. “To ensure they were starting school well prepared, we decided to look at self-regulation.”
The project was rolled out to the team at Hope Island, with all of the educators jumping on board in different ways.
“In the nursery room, the educator started doing “earthing” activities with the babies which involved taking them outside and letting their feet touch the grass and the ground,” Ms Webb said.
“This is all about putting your body back down to earth and touching natural items like stones and rocks and when you think about taking babies outside they calm down straight away so this makes sense.
“When we first started talking about this, people looked at me like I was crazy. Now we have 15 children outside all wriggling their toes and enjoying themselves.”
Ms Webb said there had been a huge difference in the atmosphere at the centre, with the benefits of the mindfulness activities seen throughout.
“The calmness is flowing through thee centre because we’re also working on naming our emotions so that our children find it easier to express themselves and we’ve introduced a yoga program for the 2-5 year olds where children can take part at any time.”
She said the program would continue to develop during the next few months.
“The first five years of a child’s life are so important in terms of the way a child’s brain develops. As educators we play a vital role in creating positive early experiences that support children’s development and functioning to guide them in the early years and throughout life,” Ms Webb said.