Drop Off: Bus
How to Use Brain Smart Starts on the Bus
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.
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 Creating the School Family book provides examples of greeting and goodbye rituals.
- The activity to unite as a School Family involves everyone doing something together. It builds connection, fosters a sense of safety and releases endorphins.
- The activity to disengage stress involves deep breathing and stretching. It prepares the brain for cortical learning and turns off the stress response.
- The activity to connect the students to the teacher and to each other helps to maintain focused attention and the motivation to learn. It also releases oxytocin, which promotes connection and reduces aggression.
- The activity to commit oneself to learning involves affirmations and positive thinking. It produces serotonin, teaches responsibility, promotes mindful attention and develops the prefrontal lobe.
You may also 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:
- Chapter 8 of the Creating the School Family book contains specific activities to facilitate the Brain Smart Start
- The “Brain Smart Start Chart” included with Premium Membership Toolkit Make-N-Take downloads