S.M.A.R.T. workshops help South Dakota educators achieve long-term benefits for classroom learning

PICTURED ARE Woonsocket School teachers who attended the workshop: Kylie Pauly, Sarah Jensen, Karen Jackson and Judy Hinker.

PICTURED ARE Woonsocket School teachers who attended the workshop: Kylie Pauly, Sarah Jensen, Karen Jackson and Judy Hinker.

Mitchell – Educators from nine school districts within southeastern South Dakota wasted no time enrolling in the three-day workshop called S.M.A.R.T. The workshop teaches participants how physical movement and activities stimulate a child’s brain and enhance classroom learning. The workshop was held May 30-June 1 at the Mitchell Middle School.
S.M.A.R.T. – Stimulating Maturity through Accelerated Readiness Training – is an innovative, school readiness program that inspires educators to teach with a developmental perspective. S.M.A.R.T. is currently used in approximately 300 pre-K, kindergarten and elementary classrooms throughout Minnesota, as well as 12 other states across the nation. The program was created by the Minnesota Learning Resource Center (MLRC), a nationally recognized teacher-training institute affiliated with a Minnesota-based non-profit organization called A Chance To Grow, which offers comprehensive brain-centered programs and services.
“Educators will walk away from the workshop with a new perspective on teaching,” says Cheryl Smythe, director of the MLRC. “They will understand S.M.A.R.T. is not what they teach but HOW they teach children.”
“Elementary teachers in Mitchell have been utilizing the activities from S.M.A.R.T. workshops for about a decade. Educators who have implemented these activities in their classroom say they see the long-term benefits both socially and academically for students,” says Sherri Becker, curriculum director for Mitchell School District and director of the PEP Grant. For the third year in a row, teachers filled all spots available for this workshop.
The workshops at Mitchell Middle School have been funded by the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) Grant, a federally funded grant program designed to help schools and community-based organizations enhance physical education programs for K- 12 students.
According to MLRC data, classrooms that participate in S.M.A.R.T. have higher attention and participation levels, are more motivated to learn and show higher academic achievement. The underlying factor is specific brain stimulation produced by purposeful movements, which leads to the development of a child’s motor skills and fosters learning.
For more information about workshops, visit www.actg.org/workshop.

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