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ELC Board hears about S.M.A.R.T. strategies

November 19, 2012
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville Daily News

Can the brain actually be "rewired" to make kids smarter?

Apparently, according to recent research, it can.

The Estherville Lincoln Central Board of Education Monday night heard from two kindergarten teachers about S.M.A.R.T. (Stimulating Maturity through Accelerated Readiness Training) strategies.

Phoebe Hersom and Lorena Brant also told the board of some great strides they've already seen among students that until now have struggled to learn.

Brant said all students could benefit from the training that helps improve both fine and gross motor skills. She said that since kids today aren't getting the exposure to activities they may have in the past, their brains are not developing as they once did.

Hersom and Brant offered more details behind the S.M.A.R.T. training:

n Stimulating addresses frequency, intensity and duration of motor skills.

n Maturity deals with vision, auditory and tactile skills since sensory and motor pathways are interconnected.

n Acceleration means positive stimulation improves stimuli, accelerating growth of dendrites in the brain. Hersom noted that more than two hours of "screen time" - which can include either a television or computer screen - each day actually kills dendrites.

n Readiness means activating the brain stems where learning readiness skills develop.

n Training involves specific activities that are integrated into existing curriculum.

Hersom and Brant showed film clips they had done showing kids practicing motor skills. Hersom said more time, equipment and space would help greatly in improving S.M.A.R.T. strategy training.



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