This is what the head mistress Marilyn Bose of St John's Primary school Ealing has to say about Tai Chi.
All children have enjoyed Tai Chi. Its an inclusive activity in which children of all shapes sizes and abilities can experience success. It has had a very positive impact on behaviour, through breathing techniques, developing body awareness and self control. Respecting your opponent has effectively challenged the more negative aspects of team sports and compliments the schools ethos.
Opal Class year five.
A teachers perspective.
The whole class are showing a huge increase in awareness of their focus and what makes them focused. When asked "what helps you learn?" they were able to discuss and reflect on their own mental state, ( normally they list things the teacher can do!,) They acknowledge responsibility for their own learning and their first suggestions for helping with this was Tai Chi.
We have used Warriors breath, deep breathing, following lunch to reset the atmosphere and the energy in the class ready for learning previously the children saw this is just something they "had to do". Now they look forward to it and place importance on it as a way of helping them learning for the afternoon. I absolutely love love having Tai Chi on a Monday morning. I feel it sets the tone for the whole week and it has such an impact on behaviour and learning-especially on Mondays when normally the children take longer to settle into a lesson.
St Johns Primary
Jasper the class as a leading doing Tai chi for three weeks and it is obvious that the children enjoy it. Some children have managed to focus and so during the session. They have begun to use some of the language in class and on the playground. I have used breathing techniques such as scholars breath to help them regain focus. Children that are often fidgeting in class benefit from the big breath. With constant reinforcement Jasper class could gain the full benefits of Tai chi in PE time.
Children have become more aware of their bodies and the breath. They have learned in various stances and have developed a better understanding of the language. They have learnt what is expected of them during the sessions and are using their knowledge of Tai chi to regain focus in class i.e. big breath. I recommend this to children when they need to calm down after being involved with a conflict towards goal I use this technique with the whole class to break up lessons and to help children regain focus. Children have also learned to describe the impact of the exercises that has had on their body i.e Relaxation, it made them feel calm, tired, soreness. Children also shown an interest in continuing Taiji in year five and are excited to have the opportunity to compete. Overall the children learned discipline, focus and self-awareness.