We are delighted to announce that we now have Julia Karnacz, a fully certified, RCM accredited Baby Massage Instructor, Baby and Children’s Yoga instructor and fully qualified Dynamic Vinyasa Flow Yoga Teacher coming to Monkey Puzzle West Norwood to teach yoga classes for our Nursery children.
Prior to setting up her business Seedlings Wellbeing, Julia spent 13 years as a Primary School Teacher and Early Years Head and worked at Dulwich Prep London . It was during her career as an Early year’s teacher that she saw the need for good core and gross motor development in young children. Much like ourselves at Monkey Puzzle West Norwood, she felt that the wellbeing of children in their early years was so important, that she gave up her job to become a yoga teacher to help children to build their confidence, develop resilience and grow self-esteem.
Using a unique fusion of yoga, mindfulness and fun learning Julia will create engaging classes for all our Nursery children, and this is included as part of the normal Nursery fees. Julia uses Growth Mindset language and principles in all her classes, which fits in perfectly with our Nursery ethos and focus on Growth Mindset.
Monkey Puzzle Baby Yoga
Unlike many yoga classes out there who focus on mum’s fitness; Julia’s classes are tailored to the age and development stage of your baby, offering a mixture of Yoga based movement and relaxation. Sessions begin with a mindful moment followed by a very gentle warm-up. Posture/movements of the week are then introduced. These moves are guided by the adult and help prepare the babies for crawling and standing. The class ends with combined relaxation for Baby.
Monkey Puzzle Pre School Yoga:
With the Pre School class, Julia and our Teacher Sean are working closely together to ensure that the yoga session fits with the themes – for example this week they are focusing on animals. This has been planned in conjunction to his lesson plans therefore allowing for succinct incorporation of the EYFS through their yoga journey.
Julia will usually begin with the mindful check in using the singing bowl and then usually use a story as the framework for the asanas and moves. The sessions will end with some calming stretches and relaxation using the bubble wand. This bonding, calming fun time is spent together. There is plenty of laughter and fun as well as an insight into yoga practice and is great for creating a feeling of calm and tranquillity. Everyone will leave feeling rejuvenated, fully stretched, love in your hearts, and with a sparkle in your eyes!
Why do we believe wellness and Gross Motor Skills are so important?
Sheena, the Director and Founder of Monkey Puzzle West Norwood discovered that many headteachers were observing more and more children with under developed gross motor skills starting at their schools. Trying to teach core control and good posture to children at this stage is almost too late, as they are having to spend a lot of time correcting the habits they have already developed or attempting to re teach these same skills, or in some cases, referring them to therapists. Instead, Sheena realised that establishing the foundation in early years was necessary.
Therefore, she set up the Nursery with the intention of placing a large emphasis on establishing good gross motor skills through purposeful play activities, thus encouraging body awareness and providing the opportunity for children to develop physical literacy alongside their literacy and numeracy skills, and to prepare them for the move to school.
What else does Monkey Puzzle do to develop Gross Motor Skills?
We believe that the best way to help children develop their gross motor skills is through plenty of active play. We give them lots of time, space, and opportunities to use their muscles. We have lots of other movement classes like ribbon writing and climbing on the climbing wall, but we also focus on free purposeful play, which is also as effective.
We are experts within our field and offer a unique Nursery school experience. As the only Nursery in the area with a qualified chartered physiotherapist and qualified preschool teacher on our staff, we are totally unique in that we able to provide expert guidance and ensure that the development of gross motor skills is at the forefront of everything we do at the Nursery, incorporated with the EYFS and STEM learning that is part of the curriculum.
We have ensured that every piece of equipment and furniture within the Nursery is optimised to encourage the development of gross motor skills, such as our paddle boards or the Hokki stools which we import from Germany. We bought these because children need to fidget and move all the time. It is what makes them so much more dynamic than us and helps them to process information. Hokki stools are designed to be slightly unstable so that children cannot slump and have to naturally sit upright. This puts them in the optimum position to activate their core muscles which in turn activates their body and mind.
We Take it outside. The outdoors is where children want to be. The equipment we have in the garden such as the tunnel, the mounds and the slide and beams have been specifically picked to facilitate the development of gross motor skills. That is why we provide open access to the garden every day and encourage the children to complete a lot of their daily activities outside. The garden also reflects the areas of learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage and allows problem solving on a grander scale.
Children learn by example, so we let them see us walking, running cycling, building, dancing, climbing and even do regular Yoga and Pilates with them. During reading time, we share books about people who lead active lives so that the children become aware of and see other people (adults and children) being active.
We include physical activities in all of our daily routines and encourage movement even when we are doing Arts and Crafts.
Purposeful Movement is at the core of everything we do at Monkey Puzzle West Norwood. We understand and recognise that children are active learners. So, in our daily schedule we incorporate two specific physical activities per day, were we blend the specific areas of the EYFS -maths, literacy, understanding the world or art and design with physical play. For example, we might for example get the children to roll ball onto numbers or letters, or use the paddle board to pull themselves to specific letters or numbers.
Come and visit our Nursery
If you would like to come and see how we incorporate movement into our everyday activities, please come and visit us.