Fairy Yoga. eTwinning National Awards 2016
Fairy Yoga is an eTwinning project in which yoga for children serves as an inspiration for work and activities in the Early Childhood Education classroom. Schools in Spain, Italy, Turkey, Slovakia, Poland and Georgia participate in the project. Practicing yoga is presented as a recreational activity in which pupils, through various postures associated with animal sounds and names, improve their flexibility and coordination. Good communication between project partners is appreciated, allowing well-planned work and results that achieve the initial goals set. We should highlight participation in the project of experts in the field of yoga who advise and work directly with participating teachers. We should also emphasize the active role of families, sharing project activities with pupils and recording practice at home. All the final results are accessible from the project TwinSpace, a Facebook page and the school’s own website. Finally, we should emphasize the thorough final evaluation of the project, including surveys, questionnaires and audio files for teachers and colouring cards for pupils.
Fuensanta León Moreno. Project coordinator at the Barrufet School (Sant Boi de Llobregat) describes the aims and results of the project at her school, giving some interesting views of the pupils, parents and school colleagues who have actively participated in this experience.
Project aims and results
We set the following goals at the start of this project:
- Initiating children in yoga and having fun doing it
- Providing a method of self-discovery and helping to develop their skills
- Enhancing social skills
- Encouraging creativity and imagination
- Improving self-esteem
- Exploring new methodologies
- Helping them begin to feel the English language as an important communication tool
- Promoting the participation of families by sharing yoga activities with their children
- Using ICT as a communication vehicle between families and other schools.
The results have been very positive at all levels.
Our pupils have been able to share yoga sessions with children from other countries.
They’ve experimented with different languages (artistically, musically, physically, visually, mathematically…), thus encouraging their creativity and imagination. It’s very gratifying to see that they’re able to sing songs and hear and say the names in English of the postures studied.
We also welcome the fact that families have actively participated and have supported this project at all times.
We’ve achieved greater knowledge and personal autonomy of our pupils, better group dynamics, and we’ve been able to experiment with new methodologies, getting accustomed to the use of ICT and starting out in collaborative work, without forgetting everyone having a good time together practicing yoga.
Project implementation in terms of successes, failures and difficulties
One of the first difficulties we found when we started the project was that there are few experiences where yoga is practiced in classrooms today, and it was something of a pioneer effort that led us to search for literature in reference to the practice of yoga with children, and all the material shared by the other European partners really did help us. Finding eTwinning allowed us to start the project and exchange experiences.
Collaboration has been necessary for the proper functioning of the project. We all provided something to make it work and ensure that the goals were met. We’ve had to hold many extra meetings to organize the sessions, human and technical resources, conduct evaluation, etc. Another challenge was the videoconferencing, since in some of them there were technical problems that were solved with the help of our LTK Coordinator and with our experience.
For the first time in our educational stage families were asked to participate in a project by providing videos or photos, something which we weren’t quite sure how it would work and which proved to be a great success. I’d like to stress that we’ve always had great support from the Management Team and the Early Childhood Education Team.
On the overall impact of the project at the school
“Fairy Yoga” is a sustainable project that has had a major impact on the methodologies of the schools involved. It has achieved the goals set with activities easily integrated into the curriculum of any school. Participating in this project has made it possible to propose the inclusion of yoga in the early childhood curriculum of any school and as a normal activity in the following years; this year it’s already being used in P4, and in P5 next year.
The themes used (stuffed animals, Eduyoga card game, our fairy yoga) have provided the motivation for the activities and learning new vocabulary in English. Our children were very happy to attend the yoga sessions and have managed to learn their first words and songs in English
Videoconferencing and activities to facilitate communication allow peer interaction to exist. Our pupils have enjoyed themselves throughout the project, but especially during videoconferencing where they could see, speak and perform yoga exercises with their European friends.
The introduction of ICT tools in each activity has given us a wide range of possibilities to investigate and collaborate and has been reflected in a clear improvement in teaching and learning processes. Pupils have learned differently, naturally integrating them into daily practice.
We managed to get a large majority of families to participate in our project and do yoga with their children at home.
Yoga teacher Aurora Fernández Gutiérrez has shared her expertise and experience with us, being a person from outside our school who comes every year to end our project and do yoga classes with our children. She also did yoga sessions with all the staff during the year.
Finally, I would like to convey the feeling that there is currently a general interest among the whole staff, who are convinced that education improves through collaboration, exchange and mutual learning: among pupils, teachers and societies.
On the recognition of this project as a eTwinning national award 2016
It’s been a very positive experience where I was new as a user on this great eTwinning platform. For me personally, recognition of this project has been a great joy, fulfilling one of my professional dreams to include yoga in our classrooms. And to gradually get yoga to be seen as a positive element in educational change that helps our pupils develop their skills within a framework based on respect, tolerance and understanding.
It’s the recognition of a job done with great enthusiasm, teamwork where many hours of personal rest time have been spent and at a time when spending cuts haven’t impaired the ability to dream of many professionals who love and enjoy their profession.
Derek Martínez Boch (3 years old)
I liked doing the lion and dog postures.
Paula Molina Martínez (3 years old)
What I liked best were the surprises that the Fairy yoga brought.
Souad Bobouh (Mother of P3 child)
It’s an activity that I think is positive because it allows you to work on the body and mind, providing more flexibility, relaxing and soothing. It makes children more creative. At home my son Akram asks me to do yoga and we do some of the postures, he likes it a lot.
Javier Huertas and Ana Castro (parents of P3 child)
This first year at school has meant discovering a lot of things for the children, emotions, games and Fairy Yoga classes have been one of these great discoveries. For Gerard in particular it has meant another way to dance, learning animals, motor skills and something very different: English.
Gerard is very motivated, and we believe accompanying this language by learning with music and yoga has been the main factor, making words like “butterfly” form part of their everyday vocabulary, and also losing the fear of speaking with words they didn’t know initially. Now our son isn’t afraid to try to sing songs in English, trying to imitate the sounds and pronunciation he hears. We believe it’s been a total success.
Eugenia Fernández Rodríguez (Head Teacher of Barrufet School)
Some time ago the Management Team thought it was important to introduce Emotional Learning into the mainstream curriculum of the school. After the Fairy Yoga experience we’ve seen its benefits and we’re very proud of the results.
Esther Rodríguez Serradilla (English Teacher and Project member)
“Fairy Yoga” has been a challenge and an opportunity. Thanks to eTwinning we could do yoga and introduce English vocabulary and listen to other languages. I especially appreciate realizing that together we can do things you never believed possible: motivating changes at school, but especially helping children be happier.
Esperanza Hernández Burcio (P3 Teacher and Project member)
Sharing the experience in the classroom with another teacher is enriching and very positive as there are few occasions where they can share situations like those experienced.
The pupils have enjoyed themselves and as a result they’ve made their families join in. I’m delighted to continue doing Fairy Yoga.
Links to project results
-Magazine after Fairy Yoga
-Continuity in P4: English and Yoga in P-4
– “E-eduquem” digital magazine article (page no. 23)
FAIRY YOGA” PROJECT
Barrufet School (Sant Boi de Llobregat)
Early Childhood Education
Esther Rodríguez Serradilla
Fuensanta León Moreno