When I was contacted by WISE and asked to take a look at their children’s wellness products I was immediately intrigued to find out more. Wellbeing in Schools & Education (WISE) is an NGO which specialises in bringing mindfulness to vulnerable children in schools across South Africa, especially those children from disadvantaged communities.
WISE uses tools such as kiddies yoga, self-esteem building games, loving kindness meditation, story-telling and biodanza dance to help them achieve their mission of bringing out the best in every child. Carmen Clews (a biodanza specialist) and Carol Surya (a psychologist specialising in child well-being) teamed up in 2017 to create WISE and so began fulfilling their passion to teach children essential life skills, such as emotional intelligence, non-violent communication, forgiveness, gratitude and mindfulness to those who needed it most.
Underprivileged communities in the Western Cape have already benefited from the WISE tools being taught in their schools, child and youth centres. Teachers have reported less bullying and aggression with more focus and calm in the classroom, along with children interacting more kindly with one another. It is hoped that WISE can be expanded nationally to help vulnerable children and also encourage all children to start practising mindfulness.
We were sent a few of the WISE mindfulness tools to try out at home, children from as young as five can use these tools so it was perfect timing to get started with Amy. Knowing that children experience stress from a young age in our modern day society and having read that studies now show that meditation in children can reduce their stress levels dramatically, I was eager to find out more. I was amazed to learn that mindfulness was actually introduced as a school subject across some schools in the UK just a few weeks back.
The Magic Mat and its little secret…is described as a “magical tool for developing happy, relaxed, loving and healthy children.” It includes various yoga poses for children, all based on different animal abilities, to help them achieve balance and happiness. Your child will find it easy to emulate the poses, while you can describe what mindfulness the poses are meant to help them achieve. For example, the cat pose will see your child mimicking a stretching cat while they are encouraged to respect and love themselves.
Amy loved The Magic Mat right away, and she has so enjoyed her time following the book and using the mat. This is definitely a skill I can see her taking forward and applying in her own life on a day to day basis, and we are very keen to continue practising it. Here’s what Amy had to say about her time with The Magic Mat.
Do you like doing the yoga poses in the book, and why? Yes, because it teaches you how to make your muscles strong.
Which is your favourite pose? The cobra, because it makes your muscles stretch.
Do you like doing yoga on The Magic Mat? Yes, it’s so beautiful because it has hearts and pretty birds on it.
Do you feel better after doing yoga? Yes, I love it, because it is powerful and it makes my muscles strong.
Does it feel like there is magic in the mat for you? Yes, it feels like I’m floating in a rainbow.
If you were feeling sad would you do any of the poses or sit on the Magic Mat? Yes, I would do the poses. I like the dragonfly, it has a powerful wind that pushes it’s wings.
Should other children try the Magic Mat? Yes, it’s great and powerful.
There is also a ParentMagic book which gives you the tools to help raise your kids positively, through interactive reading experiences that teach you new ways of seeing and relating to them. It’s been said that to children love is spelt T-I-M-E. Thanks to the easy to learn and imaginative InnerMagic self-esteem boardgame you can spend quality time with your children and help to create happy, expressive and confident children through play. It’s targeted at children between the ages of five to thirteen and can be played with up to four people.
If you would like to learn more about WISE you can check out their website for more information.
Thanks to WISE for sharing these mindfulness tools with our family. We look forward to learning more and growing more on this new journey together.