As part of our Meet The Singing Dragon Author series, we speak to authors to discuss their motivation for entering their respective industries, inspiration for writing their books, what challenges they faced and who they would recommend their books to. Is there a specific Singing Dragon author you would like to hear from? Let us know in the comments or join the conversation using #MeetTheSDAuthor.
Nicola Harvey, author of Mindful Little Yogis
How did you become interested in mindfulness for children? Were there any challenges in breaking into this field?
During my time as a special needs class teacher I was surprised at the social pressures and academic demands placed on children from as young as 4 years old to conform. I saw first-hand how this triggered anxieties and other mental states in children. With less public funding in place, many children have reduced access to the much-needed support they require in schools and communities so I decided to undertake additional training to integrate mindfulness, emotional resilience and coping strategies into my classroom routines. Over time, this helped my students gain better access to the curriculum, learn how to communicate their feelings, develop self-regulation tools and achieve mental clarity.
What inspired you to write the book?
Mental health statistics are worryingly increasing for children and young people in the UK and beyond. According to statistics, one in eight children aged between 5 and 19 in England has a diagnosable mental health condition, including anxiety and depression, which has risen by 48% since 2004. Due to this and based on my experiences in the classroom, I felt inspired to write an inclusive mindfulness book to help parents, therapists and teachers support the mental health and emotional wellbeing of children from all walks of life, particularly if they have special educational needs.
What did you enjoy about writing the book?
I enjoyed the whole creative process and mapping out the content for Mindful Little Yogis. I really enjoyed theming the breathing activities to make them accessible, bite-sized and fun to motivate kids to learn how to breathe mindfully. Lastly, I loved working with the team to decide on the final image for the front cover, which shows a young girl meditating – absolutely gorgeous!
Who would you recommend the book to?
I would recommend this book to anyone with a vested interest in using inclusive mindfulness and yoga breath activities with children and young people, particularly if they have special educational needs.
Mindful Little Yogis
Self-Regulation Tools to Empower Kids with Special Needs to Breathe and Relax
Nicola Harvey, illustrated by John Smisson
This practical and creative book is filled with simple calming activities to help children find a sense of peace and settle heightened emotions during busy times. Each activity is easily adaptable for different ability levels, providing a handy bank of self-regulation tools that can be used at any time in a range of settings.
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