|Principal & Clinic|
Picture Rule Cards
The right hemisphere of the brain is in charge of self-regulation. Because the right hemisphere processes information in images, it is important to show children visual images of what acceptable behaviors look like. Picture Rule Cards provide specific images of what children can do to be successful members of a classroom.
Each rule in the Picture Rule Cards consists of an image of a hurtful behavior and two images of helpful choices. This provides children with a clear "no," plus two choices for positive behaviors that will maintain their commitment to the safety of the classroom. Post Picture Rule Cards throughout the school near the locations where they will be used. (Example: Post the lining up rules near the doors.)
The transition from home to school, and back home at the end of the day can be challenging for some children. At the beginning of the day, greeting children in the drop off areas and hallways connects them to the school and helps prime them for a day of learning by fostering an optimal internal state before they ever reach their classrooms.
Connection is the key to cooperation. Position staff members at all points of entry and throughout the halls to conduct connecting rituals with children, especially those who seem to be having a difficult time transitioning to or from school. Encourage struggling children to take a deep breath: “You’re safe. You can handle this. Keep breathing.” Offer composed children a high five or pinkie hug (with cheerful eye contact). The I Love You Rituals book contains many brief but powerful connecting rituals that will engage children, prime their brains for learning and ease their transition to/from school. A greeting apron similar to those used in classrooms can also provide a structured way for staff to greet children upon arrival. At dismissal, offer goodbyes with the same encouraging and loving intent as you did upon arrival.
The Conscious Discipline Brain Smart Start of the day consists of four activities: An activity to unite, an activity to connect, an activity to disengage stress and an activity to commit. Many schools choose to begin their Brain Smart day on the buses. A staff member boards each bus to conduct these brain-enriching activities with students to welcome them to school and prime them for a day of optimal learning.
The School Family Make-N-Take CD-rom contains a template for structuring your Brain Smart Start.
Children arriving to school by bus will arrive in with various inner states. Conducting a modified Brain Smart Start before they exit the bus provides the opportunity to change negative inner states into the positive inner states that are essential for learning.
A staff member boards each bus to conduct a Brain Smart Start to welcome students to school and prime their brains for a day of optimal learning. The Brain Smart Start consists of an activity to unite, an activity to connect, an activity to disengage stress and an activity to commit. For example:
Adult: Boards the bus. “Good morning, we’re glad you’re here today. It is our job to keep you safe.”
Students: “And it is our job to help keep it safe.”
Adult: Leads the students in deep breathing exercise. “It’s going to be a great day!”
Adult exits the bus.
Bus Driver: Gives the signal for children to exit the bus and performs a goodbye ritual with each child on the way out.
Adult: Greets each student exiting the bus. All greeting include eye contact and touch.
Chapter 10 in the School Family book provides examples of greeting and goodbye rituals.
You can combine the activities for your Brain Smart Start. For example, a School Family chant involving music and movement with a partner would both unite and connect.
Dr. Bailey discusses "Becoming Brain Smart" in Workshop 1 of the Conscious Discipline Live DVD Set, Chapter 8 of the Creating the School Family book contains specific activities to facilitate the Brain Smart Start, and the "Brain Smart Start Chart" on the Make-N-Take CD-Rom helps you to organize this structure. Several songs support the Brain Smart Start, including "Get Ready" and "Welcome" on It Starts in the Heart, "It's Brain Smart Time" on Kindness Counts, and "Greetings" on Brain Boogie Boosters.