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Swimming teachers offered new resources to help develop mindfulness in children

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The Swimming Teachers' Association (STA) has partnered with a psychologist to provide new mindfulness and wellness resources for its members.

The new wellbeing and mindfulness activity guidance has been designed to help swimming teachers care for and support, young learners’ wellbeing and mindfulness during lessons – at a time when the effects of the pandemic are still being felt.

Developed in partnership with Dr Alexandra Barnett, a chartered counselling psychologist, the 17-page guidance note contains 30 different mindfulness activities and comes with a separate parent guide and a digital marketing pack, containing posters, social media banners and a logo for swim schools to display.

Zoe Cooper, STA’s commercial director, said: “Swimming is one of the most beneficial sporting activities for mental health and wellbeing, but it has been really hit hard by the pandemic.

"Millions of children have lost out on the opportunity to start or access their regular lessons over the last 12 months, and for many, this will have affected their confidence and competence – and potential enjoyment of swimming moving forward.

"Fortunately, children are very resilient. But we want to make sure that the transition back to swimming lessons is one that fills young learners with confidence.

"We recognise swimming teachers will play a huge role in helping the wellbeing of young learners, and our new resources, written by Dr Barnett, have been developed to help give them the knowledge and the tools they need to be able to practise mindfulness, through play and fun activities in lessons."

The resources, were launched to mark Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16 May 2021), have been specifically written and adapted to be used both in and out of the water.

According to author Dr Barnett, the teaching resources are important and highlight how promoting wellbeing and mindfulness is "everyone’s responsibility".

“Wellbeing isn’t just about coping, surviving or being OK; it is about thriving, flourishing and blossoming," Barnett said.

"Prior to the start of the pandemic, we were seeing rising levels of young people and children being diagnosed with mental health difficulties and record numbers of children were being referred to, or seeking the support of mental health organisations.

"We still don't know the full impact the pandemic has had on children’s mental health and wellbeing, but early indicators suggest the effects have been profound.

“As with most things, prevention is better than cure, and that is why from a young age, learning steps you can take to improve, support and help your mental health and wellbeing is so important.

"The NHS’s 5 steps to mental wellbeing are: connection with other people; being physically active; learning new skills; giving to others; and paying attention to the present moment (mindfulness). Swimming lessons cover a lot of these NHS steps, and STA’s new mindfulness activities will enable teachers to provide a holistic approach to wellbeing at this most crucial time.

“The wonderful thing about teaching mindfulness in swimming lessons is that not only will children be learning something subliminally that will actively help with their wellbeing (which helps ensure they are feeling well enough and confident to regularly come to lessons), but it’s something that will help them gain even more from their lessons, by learning to pay attention and to focus."

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The Swimming Teachers' Association (STA) has partnered with a psychologist to provide new mindfulness and wellness resources for its members.
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