My school district has made some changes into the kindergarten entrance birth date. Ten years ago when my now-high-schooler entered kindergarten she was only 4 and cut-off date was in December. After several years moving this date sooner, a child must be five by September in order to enter kindergarten. This was done for several reasons, but the reason that played the most impact was the maturity level of the students. Most of them were academically ready for kinder, although they were emotionally immature. With all the rigorous and new standards for kindergarten, teachers spent most of their time focusing on the social-emotional development of the students.
In PreK, besides teaching academics, our main focus is the social-emotional development of the child. Teaching them how to be a good friend, how to be respectful, and how to be safe when working and playing.
I will introduce a social-emotional learning curriculum that does just that : SecondStep Social-Emotional Skills for Early Learning. This curriculum offers tons and tons of information and materials to have your early learners ready for their biggest milestone yet .... kindergarten!
I was generously given an entire curriculum to use in my classroom. It is amazing! We love the picture cards, the boy and girl multicultural puppets, the posters, the songs, and the Brain Builders!
My favorite part of this curriculum are the Brain Builder Games. Brain builders are super fun games designed to build's children's ability to self-regulate - managing their emotions and behaviors. It involves executive-function skills, attentive listening, focus development, self-talk, and following directions. The games can be played with a large group or small group of children.
The teacher's guide will guide you step by step with an overview of the game, the steps to teach each Brain Builder, and the game cards for each game. It offers suggested movements and it can accommodate different learners due to the challenging variations.
I personally love to play the Brain Builders right after recess, when we are transitioning from our playground back to the classroom. The games have helped my students feel calmer after active play and exercise, and they are beginning to feel more aware of their heartbeat speed. This has become an important part in our routine. Transitions are running smoother because my students have their attention on me waiting for the Brain Builder we'll do.
Would you like to try brain builders in the classroom??? I'd bet you do!
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