Take a Breath
Illustration by Chris Mckelvey-Jones
Amy Dickson has designed the Take a Breath programme to help equip young children in their formative years with simple yet invaluable breathing techniques which encourage them to breathe properly. The idea is that they will carry these tools with them into teenage years and adulthood, thus providing a useful support in dealing with situations which may cause stress and anxiety, such as preparing for impending examinations.
Ms Dickson has taught ‘Take A Breath’ in primary schools throughout the UK, Australia and Asia and has been encouraged by the overwhelming support she received for the scheme from teachers and pupils alike. In the United Kingdom, in affiliation with the charity Children & the Arts (http://www.childrenandarts.org.uk / @childrenandarts), Amy has taken the programme to primary schools as part of the Children & the Arts wellbeing and resilience programme for children and young people.
“If our children learn to practice deep breathing during times of stress or anxiety in their formative years, the hope is that they will have these techniques ready-to-hand at GCSE stage and into adulthood” said Charlotte Cork – Music Teacher, London Junior, Alpington Primary & Hobart High.
Ms Dickson first embarked on a breathing awareness regime herself, having been made aware by experts that even as a leading woodwind player, her breathing was “all wrong”. Having then taught herself the advanced ‘circular breathing’ technique in order to extend her own skill set and thereby be able to maintain her sound for a longer period of time, she quickly realised that she could pass on the message of the importance of good breath control and that by starting with primary school children, this could make a meaningful difference to their overall wellbeing.
Leading health professional, Gerry Gajadharsingh, Osteopath & Diagnostic Consultant, noted: “In clinical practice, I see a wide variety of problems affecting both the physical and emotional/psychological systems, indeed often a combination of both. What’s fascinating is that 70% of the patients I see don’t breathe well. Research has suggested that this is true of the general population. Good breathing behaviour optimises delivery of oxygen on a cellular level, influences control of pH and most critically helps our autonomic nervous system achieve balance. This is the largest part of the nervous system, which controls everything within the body. Now that is amazing. If primary school children learn how to breathe properly by getting into the habit of practising bit by bit, they will be able to influence how their bodies and minds work on a profound level.”
Jeremy Newton, Chief Executive, Children & the Arts said: “We are delighted to be working with Amy on ‘Take A Breath’. Together we can make a huge difference to children’s lives by helping them to develop the resilience needed to deal with life’s problems. The outcome is stronger and healthier children who are able to better engage with their learning, can form successful relationships and have the confidence and self-esteem needed as they develop into adults”.
~For further information on ‘Take A Breath’, please contact: Vicky Corley-Smith, VCS Management: [email protected]
Children and the Arts is the only UK-wide charity which transforms the lives of disadvantaged children through participation in the arts.
The charity’s arts engagement programmes enable children to attend and participate in professional performances and exhibitions for the first time in their local arts venue. These inspirational programmes are helping to change children’s lives for the better by raising their self-esteem and confidence and nurturing vital skills such as communication, creativity, analysis and teamwork. Developing these skills helps children to engage much more in the classroom and improve their life chances.