HUNDREDS of pupils at a south Belfast primary school have been participating in a programme providing them with the "tools to deal with every-day stress and anxiety in their lives".
St Bernard’s PS has been promoting mindfulness training for their pupils over the last three years with almost 400 children participating in the 'Paws b' since 2018.
By March next year, another 180 children will be taught the programme under the guidance of mindfulness teacher and nurse Anne Costello.
Just last month a further £5 million was allocated to support the emotional health and wellbeing of young people in schools in Northern Ireland.
Education Minister Michelle McIlveen said she hoped the money for the Wellbeing Fund would enable education settings to enhance or implement new initiatives with a "focus on adjusting to the world as impacted upon by Covid-19".
The aim of the six-week programme undertaken at St Bernard's is to develop self-awareness, self-regulation and resilience in children.
The initiative also provides a safe environment for pupils to talk about anxieties and concerns within a framework that promotes respect, collaboration, kindness and gratitude.
Ms Costello said the "feedback from the children has been very positive".
She said some P7 pupils who have taken part in the initiative said the breathing exercises they were taught allowed them to relax and sleep, as well as helping them "calm down in stressful situations".
Maria Diffin, head of special education at the school, added: "It has been a very valuable programme which has provided our pupils with the tools to deal with everyday stress and anxiety in their lives".