WITH the pressures of SATs testing, the transition to secondary and concerns over the wellbeing of young children, Oliver’s Battery Primary School has implemented a course of mindfulness for the current Year 6 children.

The course is designed to promote well-being, enable children to understand themselves better, be resilient and resourceful in challenging situations and give them knowledge and skills that will be applicable throughout their school life and beyond.

The children learned about different parts of the brain and how those parts react to situations. This helped them to understand how to steady themselves, how to respond rather than just react and how to relate their thinking process to their emotions.

Maggie Szegedi-Fitzgibbon a ‘Paws b’ qualified teacher, offered her time and expertise in supporting the school.

Maggie is a passionate advocate of mindfulness with young children, and has been supporting over the six weeks course.She said: “With my background as a medical radiographer, specialising MRI, I was part of several research teams using fMRI (functional MRI) technologies to look at how our brain processes emotions and which parts are involved. This same technology is being used in developing our understanding of the effect that mindfulness can have on our brains.

"The classroom-based mindfulness curriculum I delivered is called ‘Paws b’. It is a very hands-on curriculum with lots of participation from the children, lots of practice and laughter. The children have really embraced it.”

One pupil, Vivien, said: "I think it is really helpful as it settles my mind and has allowed me to focus."

Another, Risandi, added: "It has taught me techniques of keeping me calm and focused. This has really helped for SATs!"

Carly Thompson, deputy headteacher and a Year 6 class teacher, said: “I have seen first-hand the impact that the course has had on the children. The children are now confident in using the different practice techniques to help keep themselves calm and focused when they are in challenging situations.

"It also helps them to be resilient and resourceful, which are constantly being promoted and encouraged through class learning behaviours. These new skills have been paramount in helping the children go through the challenges of SATs in a confident way."

Other year groups will now follow the course.