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Friday, 31 March, 2000, 14:22 GMT 15:22 UK
Yoga to calm pupil stress
pupils writing
Many pupils feel under pressure to achieve good test results
A primary school is teaching yoga to its pupils to help calm their stress as they prepare for their national curriculum tests.

Children aged 10 and 11, at Heathfield Primary School in Nottingham, are learning exercises, breathing and relaxation techniques.

It is hoped it will help them to cope with their stress in the run-up to the tests in May.

The lessons were the idea of Year 6 teacher Louise Garber, who learns yoga in her spare time.

She asked her instructor to visit the school to take a class of 40 pupils, and is continuing to teach breathing and relaxation techniques herself.

She said: "The pupils feel the pressure of the tests in the same way teachers do. They get sleepless nights, and jitters about taking exams.

"The tests are a top priority to them. They want to achieve, and they know that next year, when they get to secondary school, if they achieve the magical level four or level five, they'll be starting on a good basis. It can be overwhelming."

'Nice treat'

She had found yoga had helped relax her and had improved her concentration.

"I warned the pupils it was going to be a little bit strange. They were surprised about how strenuous some of it was, and how flexible they were," she said.

"On a basic level, it's a nice treat for them, and treats help motivate children.

"A lot of them have said they have been practising it at home in their spare time, so they're taking it away with them, which is great.

"It is important to try to recognise we are teaching people, not little numbers with levels."

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See also:

02 Nov 99 | Education
Massage lessons for stressed pupils
01 Jun 99 | Education
Schools massage away exam stress
27 Jan 99 | Education
Stress therapy for five-year-olds
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