A Guide for Teachers.

Learn how to use the app to help your students.

What’s Kai’s Sanctuary about?

Kai’s Sanctuary is a story-driven app designed to help children learn to identify and process their emotions. It was created in direct response to the coronavirus pandemic – at a time when students are showing higher rates of anxiety, but may not have the emotional vocabulary to voice the challenges they face. That’s why we created this app.

Co-designed alongside leading child psychologists and paediatricians, the app focuses on building skills that children can carry with them long-term. We’re releasing a simpler, first version now – but the app will continue to grow, and we’d like to invite you, our teachers, on this journey.

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Why should we use it?

It’s an especially challenging time for teachers and their students. With higher reported levels of stress in schools, our app is designed to help provide valuable grounding and mindfulness exercises that can help students cope with difficult feelings.

The app currently contains the following science-backed gamified exercises:

  • deep breathing
  • body scan meditation
  • yoga and stretching

Sessions can be incredibly short – perfect for a rapid reset when students might need them. Future updates will include additional exercises.

How do we use it?

These exercises may prove useful in the following situations:

  • body scan exercise when a student needs to rapidly reset
  • deep breathing to de-escalate difficult situations
  • yoga for pre-class and mid-class “tune-ups”

This app is designed for moments whenever children need space to calm down – for de-escalation and improved communication. Each exercise helps children ground themselves. This is a technique used to help mitigate the stress response regulated by the brain’s limbic system.

Breathing game 101.

In this game, children learn deep breathing – one of the simplest and most effective ways to relax. It’s designed for one player at a time, which can be effective when a student needs a bit of time by themselves. You can also let the audio play, inviting the class to breathe in and out as you navigate through it alongside them. Here’s how you play:

  • Press down your thumbs while breathing in, and watch the circle as it grows.
  • Breathe out and guide your swimmer using the arrows to collect marine animals!

It’s best if you try to practice belly breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing, with your child.

Here’s a guide. It goes like this:

  • Breathe in deeply while your belly rises through your nose
  • Breathe out while your belly falls through pursed lips

Try this with your students: Belly breathe together at the start of a class (see the guide above). Do this together for 30 seconds to reset.

How it helps: Studies show that deep breathing can induce improvement in both stress levels and mood.

Discovering body scan meditation.

This game helps students develop body awareness. This is the ability to understand how our bodies feel and move in space, but also how our emotions can affect them. It’s a useful practice for cultivating mindfulness – by helping us get in touch with where we hold stress, sadness and anger, for example.

In this exercise, students are faced with a guardian who isn’t feeling well. To play, tap each point and listen to Kai’s voice.

  • Sometimes, your student will have an audio cue simply announcing a body part on the guardian.
  • Or, Kai will ask your student to consider how they’re feeling.
  • In each game, your student will identify a few points where the guardians might need help. Here, they can use a scanner to find out what’s going on!

For example, a guardian’s upset stomach might be caused by nervousness. At the end, Kai will suggest a few activities the guardians can try for relief. These activities are precisely the same exercises your student can try when they find themselves feeling the same emotion.

Try this with your students: Talk about where they might feel anger, sadness or happiness. Question how children might feel, and what kinds of activities they can try to help them manage the anxiety or stress they’re feeling. Complete a body scan meditation alongside your classroom, by guiding them through it.

How it helps: Studies suggest that mindfulness exercises like this one have an impact on the body’s response to stress.

Exploring yoga class.

Tala is the Sanctuary’s yoga instructor – and happens to be a sloth. Your students can put their own sequences together by selecting the ones they find the most interesting. Encourage creativity in their sequences, but know that they can’t put two of the same move right next to each other!

Explore Tala’s sequences: shown as animals ranked from least to most flexible! This feature is great for creating short, effective stretching sequences that can be used before, after or mid-way through your classes or sessions.

Try this with your students: Select five poses with your class. Complete the stretching exercises together to limber up before lessons.

How it helps: Body practices, like yoga, have an impact on helping children cultivate mindfulness.

So where can I find this app?

The app is due for release – completely free – across the UK in October 2020. We’re learning too! So, we welcome feedback from our community on our very first version. Please feel free to reach out to us anytime here.

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