They may seem too young to feel stressed, but teachers at Sringdale Elementary School in Bibb County say pressure to do well on tests can make it harder for students to focus and learn.
To help students manage stress and start the school day feeling energized, school administrators say they've made Brain Gym®, a series of movements that stimulate the brain, a daily routine.
Bibb County schools started teaching the moves nearly twenty years ago, Springdale teacher and Brain Gym® instructor Pam Webster says.
Springdale will receive a statewide award for implementing the program from the Georgia Association of Elementary School Principals this fall.
Webster says she discovered the program while looking for better ways to reach her students.
"When they implement these integrated movements into their day, and when teachers implement it in the classroom, it really helps them be more focused and calmer," Webster said.
The program includes 28 different movements that stimulate the brain for different types of learning, Webster says. Springdale's morning routine consists of five exercises, including "thinking caps," that she says stimulates 200 acupuncture points in the ears, and "cross crawl," that integrates the left and right sides of the brain.
"They can access parts of the brain that previously weren't available to them," Webster said.
Every morning, students watch the school's morning newscast and do the series of exercises together.
"It wakes up your brain," second grade student Ben Troy said.
"It helps you tackle the day," Jordan Watson, a fellow second grader, says.
Teacher Denise McIntosh says that makes it easier for them to learn, cuts down on discipline problems, and raises test scores. She says Brain Gym® gives students tools that put them in control.
"Just think how excited you are when you are doing something that the teacher does not have to tell you to do," McIntosh says, "you think you're big because you can do it all on your own."
Webster says the program is not just for kids. She says adults can use the exercises too, to manage stress and improve memory. She says students and teachers at Springdale will carry lessons they learned through the program with them throughout their lives.