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CHILL-OUT LESSONS FOR KIDS; EXCLUSIVE.

Byline: By BEN TURNER Education Reporter

A SCHOOL is piping bird noises into class and encouraging pupils to take out-of-body journeys to cut their stress levels.

The initiative at Evelyn community primary school has been branded "ridiculous psycho babble" bya leading parents group.

But headteacher Carole Arnold insists the bliss zones were having a positive impact on results and pupil wellbeing.

Parents have joined health officials in backing the school in Evelyn Avenue, Prescot, saying their children's ability to relax is having a calming influence on them as well.

The school's relaxation programme includes:

Asking pupils aged four to 11 spend at least an hour a week in bliss zones.

Zones in every class with aromatic smells, stress balls, pick-up sticks, piped Chinese calming music and bird noises and sounds of nature, and meditation areas with miniature Buddhas.

Recognising stress warning signs, such as "butterflies in the tummy".

Mrs Arnold sai: "They are taught to make visualisations to move themselves from where they are to somewhere more relaxing, such as walking through a forest or on a beach.

"I think life is generally more stressful, not just in schools, but society generally now has a faster pace.

"You only have to look at the pupils to see they are more relaxed here, and we were branded outstanding by Ofsted, who said this was a magical place to learn."

Chairman of parents' group The Campaign For Real Education, Nick Seaton is not impressed.

"This is ridiculous psycho babble. They'll be taking joss sticks in next. Rather than doing relaxation exercises pupils would be far better served learning their foundation subjects."

But Lynsey Stockley whose daughters Holly-Ann, five, and Elese, six, attend said: "It's great and they carry it on at home such as massaging each other's backs.

"Holly-Ann passed on her calming technique to me, telling me to count to 10 while waiting in a supermarket queue."

CAPTION(S):

CHILLIN': Luke, 10, in the year 5 & 6 bliss area using the relaxing stones at150507c
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 18, 2007
Words:333
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