Yoga and Creative Mindfulness for Children – My vision for every school
HeART Space 4 Kids
‘Create the things you wish existed’
When you’ve been searching for something beautiful and you’ve tried every avenue and can’t seem to find exactly what you’re looking for, there’s only one thing for it… create it!
My name is Claire Rice. I am a mum of two boys and a trained primary school teacher with over 20 years’ experience working with young people in both academic and creative settings.
HeART Space 4 Kids has been created out of my love of teaching and well-being and movement and art. After many years of witnessing a steady decline in these activities and a gradual increase in academia and anxiety and stress, I decided it was time to combine everything I love into something that would breathe life back into education for young people.
As a child, I loved painting, dancing and art of every kind. I can still recall making houses out of grass cuttings or going for ‘magic carpet adventures’ on the school field. On rainy days, I remember creating pompoms under an umbrella. There was something wonderful about those moments.’ I was unaware of the therapeutic benefits, unaware that I was experiencing life in the present moment. I was just doing what felt good, without fear of the next test or what standard I was working at. There were no screens, no social media, no SATs. There was no such thing as ‘working at the expected level.’
From a very early age, I wanted to be a teacher of dance or art or drama. It was a career I loved for many years and my Key stage 2 classrooms had a role play area and art was on the menu every week, just like it had been in my own primary school days. We went outdoors as often as we could. After school was fun with art clubs and practicing for drama productions. Stuff the kids remember!
Over the years, there was more and more pressure to raise standards in academic subjects and higher expectations for the children to prove their academic worth. I witnessed a steady decline in the teaching of the creative and expressive arts and a gradual increase in the teaching of academia and an increase in stress and anxiety among children and the teachers themselves. I saw more and more cases of mental health problems in the young people and staff I worked with.
My summer born twins were experiencing the struggles of primary school as the youngest in the class and I began questioning things from every angle. My own well-being and happiness had started to suffer. It had been years since I taught a really good art lesson and over a decade since I had produced a school musical or picked up a paintbrush myself. I simply hadn’t had the time and I hadn’t even realised the impact it was having.
There was just as much of a need for kids to express themselves through the creative arts on a regular basis but the academic pressure from government and high-stake competition between schools meant that these subjects had almost been branded as ‘soft skills’. I could see the need for improved well-being acivities and creativity in schools and communities and began researching into the theraputic benefits of art and yoga. I signed up for every class and course I could find.
Art speaks where words are unable to explain – Mathiole
I learned that current education systems are focused towards cultivating mostly the left side of the brain, linked to language and problem-solving and surroundings. The right side of the brain, concerned with pictures and emotions is developed through creative activities and self-expression, which are undervalued and underdeveloped in schools today. This is what enables us to enjoy life in the present moment. Most children and adults need both in order to feel in harmony. Is it any wonder the systems today are not cultivating balanced individuals?
Art, despite its many therapeutic and mental benefits, had turned into a subject most schools teach once a year in an ‘art week.’ in order to ensure the curriculum was still ‘covered’. Can you imagine teaching PE once a year and expecting young people to be physically fit? Yet we have disregarded these right brain subjects and expect our young people to be mentally fit.
I finally left the system that was failing so many and chose to train as a children’s Mindfulness & Yoga teacher, accredited by the International Yoga Network.
I have since used my knowledge of the benefits of art and yoga and my
experience as a parent and teacher to develop workshops and programs, which are relevant to kids today-programs to support individuals, schools and communities.
Yoga begins right where I am-not where I was yesterday or where I long to be -Linda Sparrowe
Yoga and creative mindfulness lie at the heart of Heart Space 4 Kids. They help children to enjoy life in the present moment, to connect with themselves and develop confidence in who they are. This in turn helps them to feel safe and form better connections with the world around them
As every individual is unique, so is each session. I create and deliver bespoke workshops using a multi-sensory approach, always tapping into the arts. I work with colour and texture and sound and nature, whether it is working with clay, dancing with ribbons or practising tree pose!
My purpose is helping young people (and sometimes their grown-ups) to live calmer and more mindful lives, inspiring them to live in the present moment – the only moment where life exists.
With stress and mental health issues being a cause for concern today, I believe yoga, mindfulness and creativity can positively improve our lives and give us powerful tools to express ourselves and cope with stress and difficult emotions, which will inevitably occur in society today.
If you want to experience a session by Heart Space 4 Kids, pick up a piece playdough in your favourite colour, squash it and squeeze it and smell it for 10 minutes. Take some long and subtle breaths. Add in your favourite scent from nature and a piece of music that speaks to your soul and you’ll get a flavour of what the workshops have to offer. If you haven’t got time to do this, because life has placed too many demands on you, perhaps you need it most of all.
To contact Claire’s for more information or to book a session for your school or child use the Contact Page