For Lakeside and many other schools this is a week of returning staff, and also training and preparing for school to begin in the next few days. It is a valuable time to set our school environment for the return of our students.
Most schools are focused on textbooks, classroom preparation, lesson plans, administrative issues, and policies and procedures that are constantly changing. In the past few years, we have been focused on COVID-19 protocols. All of these issues are part of Lakeside’s preparation, but we also recognize that there are many other important knowledge points for our staff to acquire as they anticipate working with the students that we serve who have a number of emotional and relational challenges.
I often remark that a lot of what Lakeside’s preparation looks so differently than other schools as we order fidgets, heart monitoring devices and develop special regulation areas. We assign tasks for our facility dogs and their handlers and we prepare for group support, behavior management support, and counseling support.
Neurology Of Learning
It’s important to recognize that students who are cognitive, calm, and focused will perform much better in school. If there is brain dysregulation, they will find it difficult to build relationships, focus on their academic goals and retain information.
For that reason, teachers and school administrators should dedicate some of their preparation time to refreshing their knowledge about the neurology of learning. The brain science is replete with information about how students can learn more effectively if they are regulated and calm.
We utilize our own curriculum for brain-based education called Neurologic. It is based largely on the work of Dr. Bruce Perry. It contains a lot of information but largely it helps us understand that the brain works from the bottom up.
The 3 R’s
In terms of how that works we use the 3 R’s as our way to make sure students are ready to learn and maintain behavioral control. We begin with Regulation. Once regulated, the student is better able to Relate and then has the ability to Reason. If we do not understand that sequence, we often make conclusions about the student that may not be quite accurate.
Educating students is an important job. The main organ involved is the brain. We recognize that an essential part of helping students learn is to help students regulate. For that reason, we teach our Neurologic curriculum to our staff.
We also offer that same training to teachers and school administrators all over the country. It makes a huge difference in classroom management, in teachers’ responses to students, and eventually affects the ability of students to learn, grow, and be successful.
As we begin this school year, let’s remember the valuable 3 R’s that help make teaching students both effective and enjoyable.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO