Since the school year began I have been sharing stories about how my body and brain are feeling in different situations. The children have heard how excited I got when I discovered a chocolate bar from the Principal and Vice Principal on my desk or when my volunteer Christine showed up to help! They have heard how frustrated I have been when I couldn’t get the blog to work correctly on my phone and they have even heard my loud teacher voice a few times when no one listened to instructions and I had to repeat myself over and over and my body and brain got “stressed.” In order for us to help children understand how they are feeling it is essential that we talk out loud about how we are feeling. Not only do they need to hear how we are feeling but they need to hear and see us use strategies to go from excited or stressed or upset back to calm, alert and ready to learn. There are many times when I have to take a step back and breathe so that I can allow myself a few seconds to calm down before addressing the students.
In the classroom we connect all of our feelings back to the brain. I have introduced the “engine running” concept to help the children develop an understanding of how they are feeling. Throughout this school year we will check in regularly with how our engines are running and we will work on developing strategies to use to get back to “Just Right”.
Each student has an “engine running” tool to use in the classroom. We will use it to build awareness of our brains and bodies.
We have been practising our “brain habit” called CORE PRACTICE . This will help the children learn to regulate themselves during the day. With regular core practices, children learn to be more reflective than reactive when responding to stressors or anxiety. We want our “Wise Leader” the Pre-Fontal Cortex to be in control so our “Security Guard” the Amygdala doesn’t have to do all of the work!
You can help at home by having conversations about how your “engine” is running and asking your child about his or her “engine”. Model ways that you get your body feeling “just right”. Different techniques work for different people.
We explored the concept of Belly Breathing to move our engines from “Too High” back to “Just Right”. Check out the video with your child! Next time you are angry try belly breathing and see if it works for you!
At the end of our discussion we started to write a song about the different strategies we can try in our classroom to get our engines back to “Just Right”!
Since school began we have been reading books about working together. We have been talking lots about the importance of teamwork and cooperation. In our classrooms there are lots of things that need doing so that is runs smoothly. Beginning this week every child will be assigned one thing they are responsible for in the room. It is our hope that if we all pull together, the classroom can run smoothly so it can be a place full of fun, learning, and many good times.