YogaBugs To Launch First Emotional & Literacy Study

On Monday, YogaBugs will launch its first ever study about the impact of its Impact & Change programme on the emotional and physical literacy levels of children in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. We evaluated the outcomes for 1222 children, representing a cross-section from low, middle and high income families.

Each school ran an identical  Impact and Change programme. The purpose of this programme was to assess the level of each child (in nine key areas) ‘before’ and ‘after’ they participated in the YogaBugs programme. Our results show a remarkable improvement in the emotional and physical literacy levels of boys and girls from all backgrounds across Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.

We’ll be publishing the results on Monday. Meanwhile, you can view Nick Wright, Deputy Head Teacher at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School talking about the benefits YogaBugs classes have brought to his school  in this video on our Gallery. You will find more information about our Impact & Change programme on the Education section of our website.

How To Support The National Literacy Trust Campaign: Give The Gift of Reading

 National Literacy Trust

The National Literacy Trust’s latest report reveals that the number of children who do not own a book is increasing. Seven years ago 1 child in 10 did not have a book of their own while today the figure stands at a startling 1 child in 3. That’s a staggering 3.8 million children! In response to the findings, the NLT has launched its Christmas Gift of Reading fundraising appeal.

The decline in children’s book ownership is of particular concern as the report shows that the number of books in the home is directly linked to children’s reading levels. Of those who have books of their own, more than half are above average readers while a third read at the expected level. The research also found that children and young people who read a book a week or more are more likely to enjoy reading and to do better at school.

In light of these findings the NLT is asking the public to give the Gift of Reading this Christmas by making a donation which could give a disadvantaged child a book of their own for the first time.You can buy the ‘gift’ for yourself or give the unique present to the booklover in your life. Those giving the Gift of Reading will be able to choose an exclusive Christmas card designed by a children’s author.

Find out more about the appeal and give the Gift of Reading.

Yoga Books and Activities For The End Of A School Day

The hurly burley surrounding the start of the new school year can leave parents and kids feeling stressed and over-whelmed. As well as improving flexibility, strength, and body awareness, yoga can help to calm kids down. In addition to our own YogaBugs DVD and book, there are a number of others that you can use at home with your kids. Here are just a handful of our favorites.

For toddlers, try out the Little Yoga series by Rebecca Whitford and Martina Selway. Little Yoga: A Toddler’s First Book of Yoga and Sleepy Little Yoga: A Toddler’s Sleepy Book of Yogaboth contain fun, colourful pictures which encourage kids to make simple yoga shapes with their bodies.  Sleepy Little Yoga makes a great bedtime book. At the back of the book, you’ll find a note for supervising adults as well as an explanation about how to get into the postures.

We’re particularly fond of Babar’s Yoga For Elephants. Written by Babar, the book explains how  he and Celeste keep fit doing yoga on their many travels. Through simple instructions and step-by-step illustrations, Babar’s Yoga For Elephants presents 15 postures and stretches as well as helpful breathing exercises. The book also provides particularly useful advice on what you should do with your trunk while in poses, a problem never addressed in yoga books for humans.

Buddha at Bedtime: Tales of Love and Wisdom for You to Read with Your Child to Enchant, Enlighten and Inspire is a great book offering a summary of Buddhism and child friendly meditation techniques. The stories are fables with a moral at the end, which although Buddist in origin, would be appeal to most beliefs. The author, Dharmachari Nagaraja, regularly presented BBC Radio 2′s Pause for Thought with Terry Wogan.  He is currently involved with the Glasgow Buddhist Centre where he works as a psychotherapist, having run the Covent Garden Meditation Centre in London..

For bigger kids, Bear Cub Books has a collection of titles about Hindu folklore which  include How Ganesh Got His Elephant Head, Hanuman’s Journey to the Medicine Mountain, and  How Pavarti Won The Heart of Shiva. The author, Vatsala Sperling, draws on stories told to her by her mother when she was a young girl in India, bringing the myths of Parvati and Shiva, Ganesh and Hanuman to life. The illustrations are beautiful.

Yoga Pretzels is a  great way for parents and kids to have fun together. Each card is colour coded to indicate the type of activity – breathing, meditating, stretching, partner positions etc. One side of the card gives a colourful illustration of the pose/ activity, whilst the other side offers step by step instructions. Teachers and parents who have seen me using them have frequently asked where they can buy them. Kids can choose the cards themselves and create their own sessions.

We’d love to hear about your favourite yoga books and activities for children! Post your comments here – or on our Facebook page.

Help YogaBugs Support The National Literacy Trust: Dragonese Day

Here at YogaBugs Mission Control, we’re big supporters of the National Literacy Trust and its work to transform the lives of those who struggle with literacy. As we’re no strangers to the Dragons Den ourselves, we were delighted to learn that Cressida Cowell, author of How to Train Your Dragon, recently launched a Dragonese Day for primary schools on the 6 October.

Dragonese Day is the perfect opportunity for primary school children to find out about the lives of Vikings, learn to speak Dragonese and read the hilarious How to Train Your Dragon books. Cressida Cowell has produced a comprehensive pack for schools which contains lots of ideas to celebrate Dragonese Day whilst raising funds for the National Literacy Trust. The pack can be found at http://www.howtotrainyourdragonbooks.com/funstuff/dragoneseday.

The downloadable teacher’s pack has a range of activities suitable for cross-curricular teaching in History, Geography, Drama, Art and Literacy for children between the ages of 5 and 11. There are also supplementary materials, including interactive videos, worksheets and a guide to speaking Dragonese.

Primary schools also have the opportunity to win a school event with Cressida Cowell. As part of the event, Cressida will teach everyone how to speak Dragonese, answer questions and give out signed copies of How to Train Your Dragon. Ten runners-up will receive a full set of How to Train YourDragon books for their school library. To win a school event, all you have to do to enter is to send in photos and say how you celebrated Dragonese Day in your school! The best photos will be displayed on www.howtotrainyourdragonbooks.com/dragoneseday. The closing date is 31 December 2011. (Dragonese Day does not have to be on 6 October).

Have you seen our recent blog post setting out details for our Art Competition? For kids in the Yoga’d Up category, we’d like you to take inspiration from the theme of dragons, drawing on the “How To Train Your Dragon” series of books by Cressida Cowell. For details, see http://www.yogabugs.com/blog/?p=77.