Why Developing Physical Literacy Is So Important

 

 

Last Monday we published our first evaluation of our Impact & Change programme in schools, the Improving Emotional and Physical Literacy Study and put up highlights from this study on our blog. This week, we’re looking at why it’s so important for children to become physical literate.

Research has shown that being physically active later in life depends on an individual’s ability to feel confident in an activity setting. That confidence most often comes from having learned the fundamental movement and sport skills of agility balance and co-ordination - or physical literacy - as a child. Without the development of physical literacy, many children and young people will withdraw from sport and physical activity and are more likely to become inactive and lead unhealthy lifestyles.

A child who has not developed their physical literacy is likely to be disadvantaged throughout their life course. An inability to perform fundamental movement skills will restrict their ability to paryicipate in recreational and competitive activity, as they are unlikely to choose to take part in an activity that requires proficiency in the required skills. For example, a child who cannot balance will be disadvantaged when taking parting in activities such as dance, gymnastics, games and outdoor sports and is therefore more likely not to try them out.

There’s good and bad news about kids and physical activity. The bad news is that less than half of UK children get the physical activity they need. The good news is that we can turn this situation around. Here are three proven ways.

  • Be a role model for your kids by being physically active yourself—and with them. Active parents have active kids!
  • Make sure your kids spend as much time as possible outdoors all year round.
  • Reduce your kids’ screen time. Screen time can take away from active time.

And finally ask your child’s school whether they have looked at the YogaBugs Impact & Change programme and study. They can get further information through the YogaBugs website – www.yogabugs.com.

New Study of YogaBugs School’s Programme Shows Remarkable Results

Today YogaBugs, the UK’s leading provider of children’s yoga, published the first evaluation of its Impact & Change programme for schools. The study evaluated results from 1,122 children who participated in its Impact & Change programme from across 50 different schools. Nine areas related to emotional and physical aspects of learning were analysed. Remarkably the results from children at Key Stage 1 showed an overall improvement of 39% across the nine areas evaluated, whilst children at Key Stage 2 showed an overall improvement of 38%.

In addition the study found:

  • The overall improvement made by boys was 39% by whilst the overall improvement made by girls was 38%;
  • Before the programme, children at Key Stage 1 scored an average of 5.7 out of 10 for confidence, with this rising to 8.1 when the programme ended;
  • There was an overall increase of 37% in the ability of children at Key Stage 1 to concentrate and listen, rising to 41% at Key Stage 2;
  • There was an overall increase of 39% in the ability of children at Key Stage 1 to work co-operatively, respect and relate well to others whilst the overall improvement made at Key Stage 2 was 36%;
  • There was an overall increase of 41% in the fitness of children at Key Stage 1 whilst the overall improvement made at Key Stage 2 was 34%.

To ensure a full cross section of children were included in the study, the results from a total of 1,122 children were analysed. 591 boys and 531 girls took part. 651 were from the Key Stage 1 age group and 471 were from the Key Stage 2 age group. To measure whether financial background made a difference to skill levels, a cross-section of schools from low-income areas (£10,000 or less), mid-income areas (£25,000 – £35,000) and high-income areas (£50,000 plus) were selected. The results were consistent across the three income groups.

The purpose of the Impact & Change programme is to increase children’s emotional, physical and social development whilst also providing schools with tangible evidence of its results and benefits. At the start of the 10 week programme, the YogaBugs teacher delivers a short programme to the class teacher, giving them the skills to use breathing and relaxation techniques with children on a daily basis. This helps to reinforce the weekly programme of YogaBugs classes which are based on key texts such as “Giraffes Can’t Dance” and “We’re Going On A Bear Hunt” to take children on a magical adventure. These stories provide stimulus for the imagination and are central to the YogaBugs vision.

Classes follow a clear structure with exercises to warm up at the beginning, followed by an adventure into which yoga postures are weaved and a period of relaxation at the end. The class teacher assesses the children’s social, physical and behaviour skills before and after the course. At the end of the programme, the school receives a full report highlighting the changes that have resulted in each of the nine areas assessed.

Fenella Lindsell, founder of YogaBugs explains why the Impact & Change programme has been so effective:

“Many of us practice yoga for the physical benefits we gain in terms of improved mobility, flexibility, strength and stamina but we may not have realized quite how much yoga helps us mentally and emotionally.  We’re really excited by the results that have been gathered from our Impact and Change Programme and feel it is an ideal time to highlight them to more schools nationwide.  The Healthy Schools Programme underlines the importance of emotional well-being.  A child who is confident and happy will be an easier and more responsive child to teach and the child will enjoy learning more as a result.”

Commenting on the success of the programmes, Mark Goode, YogaBugs CEO said:

“YogaBugs programmes have been carefully and specifically designed with the purpose of improving children’s emotional and physical literacy. They target nine main areas based on developing social, emotional, physical and behavioural skills. Our goal is to improve the overall well-being of every child. What is remarkable is that regardless of a child’s background or gender, the YogaBugs programme achieved major improvements across all the nine targeted areas.”

 

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.

Inspiration Corner: How Incorporating Yoga Into The School Curriculum has Improved Learning Outcomes

Excitement was high at YogaBugs Mission Control today when we learnt of a news report about a school in California, Kipp Summit Academy, which has incorporated yoga into its daily curriculum. The Head Teacher tells how he saw the benefits early on; since the programme started, suspensions are down 60% and test scores have risen! Here the kids talk movingly about why they enjoy their daily yoga classes:

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7390063n&tag=cbsnewsTwoColLowerPromoArea

Headstand Goes To School runs these classes. Their evaluation of the benefits of the programme mirrors the results of YogaBugs own Impact & Change programme which include:

  • Increased concentration and focus
  • Reduced stress
  • Greater physical fitness and flexibility

A number of independent research studies support YogaBugs the outcomes we’ve found:

  • A 2009 University of Sydney study found that yoga reduced impulsive behaviour and ADHD behaviours in students enrolled in schools for disruptive behaviour;
  • A 2008 study by Powell, Gilchrist and Stapely found that a combined yoga, massage, and relaxation program gave students improvements in self-confidence, social confidence, communication and contribution in class;
  • A 2004 study by Jensen and Kenny found that yoga improved attention and emotional control in ADHD students. There was a reported reduction of mood swings and temper outbursts;
  • A 2003 study by California State University, Los Angeles found that yoga improved students’ behaviour, physical health and academic performance, as well as their attitude toward themselves;
  • A 2003 study by Leipzig University reported that yoga reduces feelings of helplessness and aggression, and in the long term helps emotional balance.

If you’d like to find out more about our Impact & Change programme, check out this link.

Olympic Torch Carrier Nominee, Fenella Lindsell, On Why PE Doesn’t Need To Be Competitive

In this week’s Scrubbing Up, BBC’s Sports and exercise medicine expert, Dr Andrew Franklyn-Miller asks whether the opportunity to encourage children to be more active is being missed in the build-up to the London 2012 Olympics. He warns that the physical competence of future generations is being put at risk because of a failure to give PE the same priority as other subjects in the school curriculum. Contrasting the support available for children who struggle in maths or English with the approach taken to physical development, cardiovascular fitness and co-ordination, Dr Franklyn-Miller argues that there should be compulsory tests for key physical skills at each of the key stages as children progress through school.

With one in three 10 and 11-year-olds in England overweight or obese, childhood obesity is a serious problem. However the problem goes far beyond childhood obesity and the associated poor health outcomes. Recently Sally Goddard Blythe, Director of the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology in Chester, concluded that up to half of children were not ready for school at the age of five because of their “sedentary lifestyles”. This was because pre-school children found it difficult to grip pencils properly, sit still, stand up straight and even catch a ball after failing to develop key physical and communication skills at a young age.

We’ve written previously about the critical links between the development of motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination and the development of literacy and numeracy skills. The development of fine motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination is similarly essential to sporting success. To reach age appropriate targets in the development of left and right brain activity, children need to practice mid-line activities such as crawling, marching and balancing. For some children, developing these skills is particularly challenging so making this fun is key.

That’s why YogaBugs developed its 10 week Impact & Change course for primary schools. This course has been devised to improve children’s physical, emotional and social development whilst giving schools real results. At the beginning and end of the programme, we evaluate the children on skills such as flexibility, balance, co-ordination and concentration. At the end of the course, the results are sent to the school with a full report showing their improvement. The course combines story-telling and magical adventures with yoga inspired moves so that children are encouraged to develop essential developmental motor skills.

We’re concerned about the physical competence and health outcomes of this and future generations and that’s why we’re absolutely committed and passionate about changing children’s lives. Our number one priority is nurturing a love and appreciation for physical exercise and healthy living in our young children. Competition can come later!

Impact & Change In A Yorkshire School: Rhys’ Story

Balancing on one leg has always been difficult for Rhys Shields as he suffers from a very rare metabolic disorder – hypophosphatasia. Diagnosed at 13 months, his family learnt that this condition causes a mineral deficiency which leaves his bones weak and prone to trembling. The disease also makes joints hyper-bendy. A bump or a fall can mean a trip to the local hospital. As a result, Rhys hasn’t been able to play games with other children, ride a bike or bounce on a trampoline.

Physiotherapy helped to strengthen Rhys’ muscles, but it was the 10 week Impact & Change course he took at Ryecroft Primary School in Bradford which really made a difference. Rhys can now balance effortlessly on one leg for 30 seconds; just a few months earlier, this had not been possible. Tests carried out after the YogaBugs course showed a dramatic improvement – Rhys’ leg strength and balance improved by 70% during the period he took up yoga!

Whilst Rhys found his physiotherapy sessions a bit of a chore, he loved the yoga classes as he got to go on fun adventures – an intergalactic space mission to rescue a lost astronaut, deep sea adventures and jungle safaris. Rhys hates being left out so he loved being able to do an activity alongside his classmates.

Jayne Clarke, Head Teacher at Ryecroft Primary School used a government grant to fund the sessions. She had previously found that yoga had helped a child with cerebral palsy. Jayne said, “Rhys hates being left out. He was the driving force for starting yoga at the school but all the children benefited in some way. This has included improving concentration during lessons and helping to build self-confidence. They love the story telling.”

As a result of our work in primary schools, we created the Impact and Change Programme last year. This programme is aimed at improving children’s emotional, physical and social development whilst providing schools with tangible results and benefits. It consists of ten weekly YogaBugs classes during which we deliver a Key Stage One or Early Years key text such as “Giraffes Can’t Dance.” We assess the children’s social, physical and behaviour skills both before and after the course. At the end of the course we send the school a full report highlighting the positive changes that have resulted from the programme. YogaBugs teachers also deliver a short programme to the class teacher, giving them the skills to use breathing and relaxation techniques with children on a daily basis. This helps to reinforce the weekly YogaBugs classes, whilst aiding concentration and focus. For further information, see http://www.yogabugs.com/education_impact.php?page_name=education

Rhys’ story featured in the Daily Express in the summer, and the lovely photograph was taken by Roger Moody. For more information about YogaBugs classes in Yorkshire, contact Rachel Frazer at yorkshire@yogabugs.com.

http://www.express.co.uk/features/view/252533/Why-yoga-is-now-top-of-the-classWhy-yoga-is-now-top-of-the-class

http://www.rogervmoody.co.uk/blog/yoga-photography-at-ryecroft-primary-school/