Dance, Mindfulness and Yoga
Lifelong Physical Activities
Through the Victorian Curriculum Health and Physical Education Sub–strands MEC focuses on how participation in physical activity can enhance health-related fitness and wellbeing across the lifespan and includes individual and group fitness activities and active recreation activities. With access to specialised facilities, equipment and expertise, these activities can also include swimming, tai chi, yoga, Pilates, bush-walking, recreational cycling and resistance training.
Brain breaks are small mental breaks designed to help students focus and attend. They typically get students moving and allow blood and oxygen to flow to the brain. These breaks allow students a small reset in the day and enhance energy and relaxation.
Please see the following link for some brain break ideas https://www.gonoodle.com/.
Emotion co-regulation has been described as “a bidirectional linkage of oscillating emotional channels between partners, which contributes to emotional stability for both partners. It poses, if emotion co-regulation is in effect, the result will be a decrease in overall emotional distress.
The ‘Peaceful Kids’ program is a Mindfulness and Positive Psychology based program to lessen anxiety and stress and increase resilience in children from Prep through to Year 12. This program helps children to build their emotional resilience so they are better equipped to deal with the day to day stresses that life brings them. The Peaceful Kids program can be run in schools, organisations, hospitals and private practice by teachers, wellbeing leaders, counsellors, psychologists, school nurses, chaplains, social workers and wellbeing practitioners.
Mindfulness & Positive Psychology Program
The ‘Peaceful Kids’ program is now included in the Specialist Setting curriculum. The program is a Mindfulness and Positive Psychology based program to lessen anxiety and stress and increase resilience in children from Prep through to Year 12. This program helps children to build their emotional resilience so they are better equipped to deal with the day to day stresses that life brings them. The Peaceful Kids program can be run in schools, organisations, hospitals and in private practice by teachers, wellbeing leaders, counsellors, psychologists, school nurses, chaplains, social workers and wellbeing practitioners.
‘The ‘Peaceful Kids’ program makes a great contribution to helping children to develop mindfulness skills early in life – skills that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives. It is practical, systematic and can help children to understand themselves better and to develop ways to not only just survive in the modern world, but to thrive in it’ Dr. Craig Hassed – Monash University
The Peaceful Kids link can be found here https://www.peacefulkids.com.au/
Smiling Mind is a meditation app for young people. It has been developed by a team of psychologists and uses mindfulness to boost calmness, contentment and clarity. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to help manage stress, resilience, anxiety, depression and improve general health and wellbeing.
Please see the following link for further information here.
Doctors in Schools
The Doctors in Schools initiative funds general practitioners (GPs) to attend up to 100 Victorian government secondary schools up to one day a week. The GPs provide medical advice and health care to students. At MEC the doctor or nurse practitioner attend the school in the clinic next to the library on Wednesday. Please contact the school of you would like to make a booking.
Occupational Therapy (OT) for children
OT promotes normal development and stimulates learning in children with specific learning difficulties, physical disabilities, delayed development or those recovering from illness or injury.
Working with children, their families and teachers, occupational therapists aim to improve the child’s quality of life by helping them to participate in play, preschool, school and home activities.
An occupational therapist may work with children in any of the following areas:
- Prerequisite activities – the child’s physical abilities, such as motor control, hand-to-eye coordination, body awareness and sensation
- Functional skills – the child’s day-to-day living skills, such as eating, writing, going to the toilet, interacting with other children and playground skills
- The environment – such as classroom furniture, classroom and schoolyard access, and equipment for woodwork, art and physical education.
Occupational Therapy (OT) for adolescents
Adolescence is often a challenging and difficult time for young people and their families. OT can help adolescents by promoting personal growth, which can help to improve self-esteem and develop independent social and communication skills. Teenagers with social and lifestyle problems, or disabilities resulting from an accident or disease, can maximise their independence and quality of life into adulthood with the help of an occupational therapist.
MEC employs external therapists to support students who need specialised intervention. The therapists upskill the staff who support the students so that the students are continually given the resources or interventions they required. This may occur through direct training or professional learning. This upskilling is often accompanied by student-specific plans or guides.
The therapist may also assess and support students on an individual basis.
MEC provides physiotherapy services to meet the specific and individual needs of students with disability that affect what they need to do at school. They may engage exercise physiology services to support identified groups of students or to provide professional development to their staff. Direct engagement of a physiotherapist by a school is drawn from Disability Inclusion funding. These services will largely be linked to learning outcomes.
The school currently has employs the following therapists.
1x Speech Therapists – MDHS
1x Speech Therapists – MDHS
1 x Occupational Therapist – Top to Toe
1 x Physiotherapist – PINARC.
This therapy provision is distinct from therapy provided through DET Student Support Services.
A Sensory Program is an intervention program designed to support students to develop their sensory-motor skills through specific activities that target the seven senses within the central nervous system.
A Sensory Profile is an assessment that helps to evaluate a child’s sensory processing patterns in the context of everyday life. These questionnaires can help determine how sensory processing may be contributing to or interfering with the child’s participation in activities. The questionnaires are completed by caregivers and teachers, who are in the strongest position to observe the child’s response to sensory interactions that occur throughout the day.
Sensory Motor Program
The aim of the sensory-motor program is for students to participate in a routine sensory-motor program to develop gross motor skills, fitness and to explore methods of self-regulation. It is expected that student will develop increased fitness and will be better prepared for classroom participation and engagement.
All students in the Specialist Setting will participate in a sensory-motor program for the first 20 minutes of each day. The program has been designed to allow students opportunities to access a range of gross motor activities and receive ongoing sensory input as required. The 20-minute Sensory Motor Program will be spent supporting students to engage in a range of activities.
Each class will spend a week on one activity and will then continue to rotate through the timetable.
The Sensory Motor Program has been developed to assist students with the following:
- Aiding the students in Self-Regulation so that they are Ready to Learn/in the Green Zone
- Increasing the students’ daily exercise and fitness
- Development of motor skills and muscle strength in an engaging way
- Relationship building between staff and students and amongst the students themselves
- Increased school attendance.
Sensory Motor Program Activities
Class to participate in dancing type activities in Beckworth multi or classroom, such as:
– Just Dance (guided dance routines on Youtube)
– Go Noodle (guided academic-focused dance routines)
– Known dances such as Nutbush, Macarena, Gangnam Style etc.
– Make your own dance routine.
Resources: Laptop, YouTube access and projector.
As a class students can explore nature through walking, running and riding around the school oval, yard and designated bike riding tracks within the school grounds.
Resources: bikes in the bike shed
Sensory room/movement room:
Complete calming activities in the sensory or movement rooms such as:
– Guided yoga using yoga cards or YouTube session
– Listen to music
– Blowing bubbles.
Resources: laptop, yoga cards, bubbles and secure floor space.
Trampoline and Swing:
Students get the chance to move as a class using the trampolines and swing:
– Jumping on the trampoline and mini trampolines
– Games such as who can jump the highest, who can do tricks and throwing and catching a ball while jumping up and down
– Push others on the swing and learn how to take turns.
Resources: mini trampolines in the small yard or sport shed and a ball.
Classes spend time in the gym completing a range of physical and sensory exercises such as:
– Ball games
– Tag games
– Soft mat obstacle course
– Running, jumping, marching, walking
Resources: balls, colour bands, soft mats all in gym storeroom,
Classes use balloons as an engaging way to get physical exercise:
– Keepy uppy
– Balloon tennis
– Balloon spoon races
– Balloon waddle races
– Who can pop their balloon (keeping in mind students’ sensitivity to sound and noise).
Resources: balloons and spoons.
Classes have some quiet relaxation time either in the classroom or outside if it is a nice morning:
– Sensory boxes
– Updating or adding to sensory boxes
Resources: sensory boxes, books, pencils and paper.
Sometimes we find that the above activities will not work for the class ie. wet weather, students do not engage with that activity or they need something more physical that morning. When this occurs, you can do other physical activities such as:
– 9 square
– Whole class game on the oval
– Gaga pit
– Play on the equipment in the primary playground.
Sensory and Movement Room
A sensory room is a special room designed to develop a person’s sense, usually through special lighting, music, and objects. It can be used as a therapy for children with limited communication skills.
“Sensory Room” is an umbrella term used to categorise a broad variety of therapeutic spaces specifically designed and utilised to promote self-organization and positive change. There are multiple types of sensory rooms and purposes for use that have been created and implemented in different practice areas to date. When used appropriately, sensory rooms:
- Help to create a safe space
- Facilitate the therapeutic alliance
- Provide opportunities for engagement in prevention and crisis de-escalation strategies, as well as a host of other therapeutic exchanges (to teach skills, offer a variety of therapeutic activities, etc.)
- Promote self-care/self-nurturance, resilience & recovery.
A movement room is a space where students can take part in physiotherapy or occupational therapy programs as recommended by a therapist who supports students at the school through their individual therapy plans.
Student Support Plan
The MEC Student Support Plan is designed to support both students and staff in finding strategies to assist students with engagement and self-regulation. The student and teacher develop the plan together, recognising that the student knows their own triggers and can provide advice on how to avoid them and/or reduce their effects. Student Support Plans can be found under Learning Plans on Xuno.