What Is It? A school-based program to create safe, empowering, emotionally-literate classrooms from Pre-K to 4th Grade with integrated assessment, professional development, in-classroom consultation, and analysis.
The purpose of the Safe Brain Classroom curriculum is to (1) set a school-wide baseline for teacher understanding of the brain-related basics of child development, (2) provide strategies for increasing empathy, emotion identification and regulation, and exploratory learning in the classroom, and (3) provide in-classroom follow-up consultation and observation to directly support teachers and administrators.
Individualized teacher trainings and strategies are tailored to each school setting. Only through observation, interviews with key staff members, and understanding the culture of the learning environment can an effective program be designed, and then implemented with teacher buy-in, longevity, and positive outcomes for children.
Foundation in Research The human brain was not designed for learning (Cozolino, 2014). Neurologists have long since known that the human brain was designed to survive first, and thrive second.
When a child experiences toxic stress in the form of trauma, poverty, maladaptive attachments, or a lack of consistent parent response, the child's brain systematically suppresses areas that it does not deem essential to survival (Rauch, et al., 1996). For example, when a brain is under stress, the area of the brain that processes language and speech is inhibited. This sequence is protective, as it allows the area of the brain that deals with survival ("fight or flight") to operate at a higher capacity. When understood in the context of an early childhood classroom, this process can produce cyclical harm.
The Safe-Brain Classroom curriculum capitalizes on this knowledge to help teachers understand and disassemble the barriers to learning in the early childhood classroom. Through a series of strategic practices, teachers trained in the Safe Brain Classroom will set up an environment ripe for positive attachments, trusting relationships, emotion regulation, and, ultimately, successful academic learning.
Model An initial needs assessment and interview is conducted to determine best practices and recommended strategies. Next, a series of professional development trainings is delivered with simultaneous in-classroom, weekly consultations. Finally, a post-intervention phase assessment and interview is conducted to determine progress and/or next steps.
Copyright: The Loop Center for Social & Emotional Development, LLC 2016