Preschoolers in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands enjoy yoga and mindfulness program
Children from preschool through high school age from the Ngaanyatjarra Lands Schools recently participated in two-way learning of yoga and mindfulness throughout May, under the guidance of Fremantle-based health promotion charity Yogazeit Ltd.
Over 300 Aboriginal children and school staff learnt about the mental and physical health benefits of yoga and mindfulness as part of the community-led program, the result of a strong collaboration between Aboriginal elders, school staff and the yoga team over the past year.
The goal of the pilot project was to create a sustainable mindful movement education program that supports the young Aboriginal people in remote communities, in local language and led by the children themselves.
“It was key for us that this project has the potential to be sustainable and allows for continuity – even after we leave the remote communities,” Regina Cruickshank – Founder and Executive Director of Yogazeit explained.
Travelling over 3,500 km by car and investing over 1,100 volunteer hours to shape and support their mission, Yogazeit visited Australia’s most remote school campuses including Kiwirkurra, Warakurna, Wingellina, Wanarn, Warburton, Jameson and Blackstone in the foundational stages of the project’s formation.
The program uses a trauma-informed framework of evidence-based yoga which is then customised to meet the remote Ngaanyatjarra Lands region. Yoga shapes are named after local animals, the illustrations for the shapes have been designed by the school children as part of a school art project and the educational program celebrates the importance of connection to Country.
Early childhood teacher Nina Horeb implements the program as part of the daily routine for the children, saying that the students feel safe and comfortable with the program.
“I’m hopeful that it will provide strategies that support them as they move through schooling and life,” she added.
The project was partially funded by Healthway and Here to Be. Yogazeit is a partner of Act Belong Commit and Fair Game Australia. Yogazeit is now seeking funding to roll this project out throughout other Aboriginal communities in Western Australia.
For more information about Yogazeit please see here.