School pupils dance to relieve stress

Sentinel Primary School pupils showed off their best dance moves last week.

Non-profit organisation Wellbeing in Schools and Education (WISE) launched “Dance Assembly” at the school on Tuesday January 15. It uses dance as a tool to reduce stress in children.

With high rates of poverty, crime, domestic violence, gangsterism, mental illness, HIV/Aids and abuse, South African society is one that is particularly stressed, so WISE has been concentrating on facilitating children’s social and emotional learning.

The organisation was started in 2017 and provides children at under-resourced schools in highly stressed communities the chance to develop mindfulness, and learn healthy coping skills

Stressed children battle to concentrate, which hinders their ability to learn and achieve in the classroom. They are also more inclined towards physical and verbal aggression, as well as high risk behaviours including self-harming, and suicide.

Carol Surya, psychologist, author and co-founder of WISE, said: “It’s becoming evident
from our research that children
can benefit from mindfulness activities like Dance Assembly and yoga, that can equip them with self-esteem and self-care which ulti-
mately contributes to overall well-being”.

Sentinel Primary School principal Claudene Overmeyer said: “The children are lining up better and are not pushing, fighting or shoving each other as much. They are definitely calmer in the morning and ready for class”.