Providing a balanced day is key to helping young children learn and grow. In order for children to stay in balance, they need moments in which they can be active, and they also need moments that are quiet and relaxed.
Active moments help children stay physically fit and keeps their blood flowing so that their brain receives the energy it needs to stay focused and process information with accuracy and creativity.
Calm moments help children to regroup and recharge, while being reflective and having time to organize information and experience deep thinking. Each of these components should be built into a daily schedule and routine.
There are many things that can help children stay calm, such as deep breathing, focused thinking, communication, and action steps. Using music to help children is an action step to setting the tone for movement and motion or peace and quiet.
Johnathan Berger, PhD of Stanford University reported the following from a study regarding how the...
Every child loves markers, and there are a few good reasons why!
These reasons may all sound like good things, but in reality, overlooking crayons for markers allows young children to skip over skills that build their small muscles. Markers are a great tool, but just not the first preferred tool for writing.
To help your child develop small muscle coordination in their hands, we encourage using crayons, pencils, and paint sticks. These writing utensils require more effort to be moved on the paper, giving a higher level of sensory feedback and encouraging the child to apply more pressure. This actions increase the development of the small muscles in the hands. It is essential to develop these muscles to promote fine motor skills, which we use in manipulating small...
Today is a new day that is full of many great opportunities to impact the world around us in a positive way. Let’s talk about the word IMPACT.
Take a moment today and ask yourself this question: “How am I impacting the individuals around me?” This includes your family, friends, colleagues, students, and people in your community. Each day we choose how we will influence others. We can influence people in a positive way that brings growth or a negative way that brings decline.
Let’s look at the word IMPACT in detail:
The first two letters in the word IMPACT spell the word I’M, so I know I am referring to myself.
The next four letters spell the word PACT. A pact is an agreement.
Now, let’s look at each letter in the word PACT and what each will represent.
P - Positive: I will speak helpful and encouraging words to myself and others.
A - Action-Oriented: I will put action behind my...
Why Do Children Have Sensory Needs?
This is a great question! Children have sensory needs for the same reason that adults have sensory needs.
We are all born to explore the world through our senses, and some of us have a need to explore more through sensory-based stimuli, such as tactile experiences.
Personally, when I am in a meeting, if I have gum in my mouth it helps me to stay focused on the task at hand. I don’t even have to chew the gum, but I can just keep it in my mouth and feel focused. Is it the texture of the gum or the peppermint flavor? It could be either or both.
The peppermint can activate the hippocampus in the brain, which causes a person to focus and have stronger mental clarity, and enhances memory. The Mayo Clinic mentions peppermint and rosemary as beneficial components to promoting brain clarity, so flavor can promote mental awareness.
I also know that having something in my hand keeps me focused and on task. For example, when I unwrap the piece of...
The bell rings and the day begins, and we welcome our students one by one into our classrooms. Our words at the door can set the tone for the day and help each person feel valued, as we speak to them by name and maybe even shake their hand, give them a fist bump, high five, or a hug. But after that welcoming moment, how do we help our students be active and engaged learners? Just as it is important to welcome each individual student, we must also provide them with time and strategies to settle in. To settle in would be described as feeling aware and secure in my surroundings so that I am able to focus and learn.
THINK ABOUT THIS STORY… Meredith, a third-grade teacher, arrived at the staff meeting at 7:30, as required. The morning had already been busy for her as she had dropped off her six-month-old baby at her parent’s house, took her four-year-old to pre-school, and then made the 20-minute commute to her school. Days like this meant she had to leave the house an hour...
The young girl screamed across the classroom, "I can’t do this math, I am so stupid." The classroom came to a halt, and every eye in the room was staring at her. In her overwhelmed state, she began to cry. The teacher walked up quietly next to the student to try to help her sort out her feelings. This would be her third school this school year, and the math programs were different at every school she attended. The teacher knew that something needed to happen to help her thrive and not merely survive another math lesson. She knew that positivity had to take precedence, even over math, at this moment in time, so she sat down with her and began to talk things out. For an eight-year-old to move to three new apartments and schools in such a short period of time, her mother passing away a year ago, her father working two jobs, and being the oldest of four children was a lot of stress and negativity on a young child. These problems were much bigger than the math problems in the...
(Call to Action – Conflict in Community)
A CALL TO ACTION to help people thrive and not simply survive, to build rapport linked to support.
It is a fact that community is essential to a healthy self, a growth mindset, and forward thinking. But we all know that keeping relationships in a community strong, is not without conflict. We have all been in that situation, when a family member was aggravated with us, a trusted friend turned on us, or a colleague became frustrated with us.
It was early Fall, and there I found myself in the midst of a conflict. Unexpected and hurtful beyond words. I knew the importance of settling matters quickly, but no matter what I said, it seemed to get worse and not better. In my turmoil, I turned to the leader of our community to ask for help in resolving this matter. I did not want there to be a wall built between me and another person. I sat in the office that day of a leader I respected, explaining the situation and asking for help to solve the...
(Call to Action – Conflict in Community)
A CALL TO ACTION to help people initiate brave conversations when concerns or conflicts arise.
Can you remember the last time you were faced with a situation where a problem needed to be dealt with? Maybe it was a conversation you needed to have with one of your children who consistently broke curfew, or a parent/teacher conference about a student who was failing academically, or possibly even a discussion with your boss at work regarding a colleague. When these difficult situations arise, it is important to be brave in facing the issue. Bravery is not simply stating what comes to your mind in the moment of frustration, but interpreting the situation from multiple lenses. We call this having a BRAVE Conversation. This means that we have multiple lenses that we want to ensure take place when the actual conversation occurs. Here are a few words to remember when you are faced with a difficult conversation, to ensure...