3D LEARNING FOR FOCUS SKILLS
by Janai Mestrovich, M.S. aka Grandma Boom
According to PBS.org for parents, “Concentration is like a muscle that requires regular exercise to strengthen. Some kids are born “stronger” in this area than others, but all kids can learn strategies and engage in practices that help improve their ability to focus and sustain their attention.”
In a migrant preschool class I used an LED candle for a focusing agent. Each preschooler had a turn to look at the candle and focus on one thing at a time without being distracted while I tried to distract them with a rattle and loud vocal sounds. The teacher assisted by holding the candle a few feet in front of each child. Every single 3 to 5 year old was successful in holding a focus! Success builds confidence and having fun adds fuel to the success.
To prepare the children to focus, I used a breathing sphere for inhalation and exhalation of belly button breathing. Self calming is a key for focusing as well as learning the difference between tense and calm internally as seen in my free-for-viewing video at www.superkidpower.org and other simple techniques in Superkid Power Guidebook at www.grandmaboom.com
3D Learning, using objects in the outer world environment to bring children's attention to their inner world accelerates the learning process because it is REAL. They use more senses than merely left hemisphere cognitive memorization. The experience helps children to know for themselves instead of memorizing a rule for someone else. It makes all the difference in the absorption and pace of learning a skill.
The breathing sphere helped children to keep a steady, slow pace with their belly button breathing to self calm in order to focus on one thing at a time. They felt accomplished when complimented on focusing and not being distracted. Why is this important? Because not only do children need to know how to focus and concentrate, but they need to know how to do that even when circumstances are riddled with distractions. At this time distractive behaviors in the classroom are reaching an all time high in our country and that has been proclaimed to be a national issue and concern.
When we sing, our bodies feel the words and the tune. I always have a song or jingle with a lesson. Whole body learning works. It is fun and easy to remember the core part of the lesson. The song we sang over and over, as well as drumming to it is as follows: 'WHEN I FOCUS ON ONE THING AT A TIME, I'M A SUPERKID AND I SHINE!” This serves as nothing short of an affirmation. It is easy to sing and easy to share with parents. Praising children when they are focused helps them to feel like SuperKids.
Artwork also works to reinforce a lesson in addition to seeing how children perceive the lesson in their own way.
Moreover, it IS a practice in focusing on one thing at a time! By investing in techniques to help children develop the skill of focusing, we help them with academic achievement and personal accomplishment. It is a skill. Even children diagnosed with ADHD can learn to focus.
A small spinning top that emphasized eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity and focusing on one thing at a time capped off my class. The children LOVED the lesson!
A student diagnosed with ADHD I once worked with responded well to having something physical to touch that reminded him to self calm and focus. When he was touching the rock it grounded him. He kept it in his pocket pulling it out when he needed that grounding connection, did deep breathing and was able to focus.
Does this approach work? You betcha! After the session with the preschoolers the teacher was speaking to me. A four year old boy walked up and interrupted the teacher. She said, “I am focusing on one thing at a time right now talking to Grandma Boom.” He walked away, waiting his turn. He understood the concept.
Some basics for success focusing are to divide larger tasks into smaller ones, practice deep breathing while looking at one thing for a count to 10, 20 and eventuallly, longer to expand the focusing muscle. Play focus games and allow breaks for rejuvenation.