An innovative program designed to teach students to activate their brains through specific body movements is helping children throughout the world be better prepared to learn. With back to school in full swing now, this is welcomed news for both educators and students alike. The program, Brain Gym was developed by former classroom instructor, Dr. Paul Dennison, and is based on Educational Kinesiology, which is the science of enhanced learning through movement.
Dennison intends to awaken students, parents and teachers to an understanding of the interdependence of movement, learning, and brain development. The principles in his program are so widely accepted that his Brain Gym program is becoming the standard in schools around the world and recommended by tutors and teachers and those looking for better health and well being. Teachers who incorporate the Brain Gym movements within their daily classroom routine rediscover that joy of teaching for which they originally chose their profession.
The Brain Gym program provides a series of simple movement activities that optimize brain activity, while integrating the mind and body. The lessons taught are profoundly simple, can be done anywhere, and work well for all ages. The concept is so simply, yet so effective. And that’s why it works. Those who practice the exercises enjoy doing them, so they want to do them consistently. They also see positive results, which is a driving force for continuing to do them on a regular basis.
Following are some sample exercises, how to perform them, and the benefit achieved:
Cross Crawl – Simultaneously lift your right hand and left leg, lightly tapping the hand just above your left knee. Then return the hand and leg to a resting position as you lift your left hand and right leg, touching your left hand to the place above its opposite knee. Continue this back and forth pattern for a minute or so, as though walking rhythmically.
Accomplishes – Improved left/right coordination; enhanced breathing and stamina; greater coordination and spatial awareness, enhanced hearing and vision. Helps with spelling, writing, listening, reading and comprehension.
Energy Yawn – While pretending to yawn, close eyes tight and massage the areas covering the upper and lower back molars. A deep relaxed yawning sound is made while massaging the muscles. Repeat the activity three to six times.
Accomplishes – Perfect for classroom teaching as students can add to their own movements. Improved expression and creativity, improved balance, and relaxed thinking during mental work.
Lazy 8s – The student aligns his body with a point at eye level. This will be the midpoint of the 8. The student chooses a comfortable position for drawing the Lazy 8, adjusting the width and height to fit his needs. He starts on the midline and moves counterclockwise first, up, over, and around. Then from his waist he moves clockwise: up, over, around, and back to the beginning midpoint. As the eyes follow the Lazy 8, the head moves slightly and the neck remains relaxed. Three repetitions with each hand separately and then both together.
Accomplishes – Teaches visual attention and improves ocular mobility skills needing for reading. Helps with the mechanics of reading (left-to-right eye movement).
Positive points – Lightly touch the points above each eye, halfway between the eyebrows and the hairline, with the fingertips of each hand. Use just enough pressure to pull the skin taut, and hold the contact for about a minute.
Accomplishes – Helps with organizational abilities, study skills, test performance and sports performance, public speaking, stage performance and reading aloud.
Arm Activation – Reach up above your head with your left arm, feeling the arm lengthen from your rib cage. Hold your arm just below the elbow with your right hand. Now isometrically activate your left arm for a few seconds in each of four positions away from your head, forward, backward, and toward your ear. Rest your left arm again at your side. Now stand and let your arms hang comfortably by your sides.
Accomplishes – An increased attention span for written work; improved focus and concentration without over focus; improved breathing and a relaxed attitude; an enhanced ability to express ideas; and increased energy in hands and fingers.
When students are introduced to Brain Gym, they seem to love it, request it, teach it to their friends, and integrate it into their lives without any coaching or supervision. This movement-based system offers additional assistance to children with learning difficulties and helps them achieve the best of success in their academic paths.
“The teachers in the classrooms are instrumental in making the Brain Gym program work,” said Dennison. That’s why Dennison takes great strides in providing detailed instructions, informational charts, hands on workshops, and all the tools necessary to achieve success.
Detailed in Dennison’s latest book, Brain Gym and Me, Reclaiming the Pleasure of Learning, is one pilot program and the positive results from it after implementing Brain Gym. The conclusion was that students reported learning physical skills, trusting their own bodies, plus self-esteem and easier reading while teachers expressed gratitude for this effective tool to enhance teaching strategies.
The book also details how Dennison once walked through the halls during one school visit, and saw children using Brain Gym throughout the school day without teacher direction. “That was great validation that our program works,” he said. “If we look inside the classroom, we’ll see that active learners are those who are lively and active. Such children physically reach for information and opportunities to express themselves, barely containing their enthusiasm for knowledge as they write, turn pages and relate with their peers. The children who are not moving will appear stressed, passive and bored. In either case children can’t hide their authentic feelings about learning. These feelings are apparent in their movements, demeanor and body posture.”
Patty Gottwald, a pre-school teacher at Mason County Eastern in Michigan, was quoted in an article in Ludington’s Daily News recently talking about the Brain Gym Program. She states she attended a Brain Gym session, which showed teachers how their students can activate parts of their brains through certain body movements and concluded, “It makes children more ready to learn.”
Dennison’s book, Brain Gym and Me: Reclaiming the Pleasure of Learning, which explains how to bring Brain Gym into the classroom, is currently in more than 80 countries receiving astonishing worldwide media attention recently with segments on CBC Radio’s 1 “Ontario Today” and City TV, “Breakfast Television” and a full-page article in Woman’s World Magazine, May 8th edition. It provides excellent examples of how many have succeeded and how Dr. Dennison skillfully takes them on this journey. It also explains how he overcame his own learning challenges to become an internationally known educator and authority on cognitive skills and reading achievement.
Want your children to achieve the best in academic success? Then look into the Brain Gym Program at your school and stop by the Brain Gym site for additional information, http://www.braingym.com. Dr. Dennison is also available for media interviews and would welcome the opportunity to demonstrate some of the 26 exercises that make up the Brain Gym Program. He is also available for workshops and speaking engagements. Contact Publicist Diana Ennen at firstname.lastname@example.org, (954) 971-4025 for details.