Brain Smart Start
As you know conscious discipline is the cornerstone of all we do at Bright Beginnings . I felt really great the other in a 1st grade classroom when a child was having a rough time and a helper said ” those two littles there were at Ms Debbies and they know conscious discipline and how to help others…. have them help you. ” Our goal is not only to help our little friends know how to self regulate but build their confidence so that when they leave our safe home they can be conscious discipline ambassadors and change the world. I have had parents say when they got upset their child said ” Mommy do you need to do the red balloon ?” OUCH. That stinks ( in a pride sort of way ) but should make you feel so incredibly good that your child notices when people are upset , they can acknowledge the emotion ( name it ) and offer help. Please don’t take it as disrespect . Take a deep breath and remember this is a great time to teach ” Yes, you are right. Mommy was upset . Can you do the red balloon with me ?”
Many of these kiddos spent last year immersed in conscious discipline. They are good at it. We will start this year hitting it hard teaching our conscious discipline skills again. There are two things we do each day to get us ready to learn and grow in our preschool family.
The first thing that happens that is a conscious discipline structure is the connection as they come in the door or gate. I offer them two options for connecting with me. The first week we have offered a smile or a bear hug. The idea is to offer two choices – one that is physical touch and one that is not. Some adults don’t really like close touch and kids can be the same way. Most always the kids want a bear hug. Its a great time for me as a teacher to connect, show love and say a quick prayer as we hug that we have an amazing day.
The second conscious discipline structure is the brain smart start.
From Dr Bailey’s website :
The Conscious Discipline Brain Smart Start of the day consists of four activities: An activity to unite, an activity to connect, an activity to disengage stress and an activity to commit. Dr. Bailey designed this combination of activities using current brain research in order to promote an optimal learning state.
- The activity to unite as a School Family involves everyone doing something together. It builds connection, fosters a sense of safety and releases endorphins. ( For this potion we stand in a circle and sing ” This Is My School Family . ”
- The activity to disengage stress involves deep breathing and stretching. It prepares the brain for cortical learning and turns off the stress response. ( Each day we practice a calm down technique . this week has been the balloon. )
- The activity to connect the students to the teacher and to each other helps to maintain focused attention and the motivation to learn. It also releases oxytocin, which promotes connection and reduces aggression. ( For this we use a love ritual. The children partner up and face each other and sing. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star what a special friend you are . The way you smile ( eyes.. ) and shake my hand ( touch ) You’re the BEST friend in all the world. ( Hug )
- The activity to commit oneself to learning involves affirmations and positive thinking. It produces serotonin, teaches responsibility, promotes mindful attention and develops the prefrontal lobe.( This is where I remind the children I am their safe keeper and it is their job to help me keep it safe. We talk about ways to do that in our classroom. ( This week has mainly been – ” Touch your ears . To help keep it safe when I am talking I need you to listen. ” )
During this time we also do the pledge allegiance to the flag and wish our friends well that are not here for the day. This whole routine lasts about 5-7 minutes .
It’s one of my favorite parts of the day.
We also played music.
We opened the paint easel today !
We spilled a large bottle of glitter but learned that accidents happen we just clean them up and sometimes we are lucky and our preschool family pitches in to help.
We helped fold wash cloths !
We beaded a little for our chandelier .
And played with playdoh…
And served ourselves at lunch …
made amazing art projects without guidance !
So much more. It was a great day.