Welcome to Discover ME
Discover ME is a Mindful and Movement Education Program designed to teach children “how to learn” by teaching those important skills that have a positive influence on learning: self-control, focus, concentration, and effective listening skills—the prerequisites for learning. This program stimulates developmental growth by teaching specific techniques and strategies designed to strengthen those essential skills that create the foundation for learning. These activities build social and emotional learning skills through self-awareness and mindfulness – teaching children how to pay attention.
Children learn effective strategies and techniques, while participating in creative activities, designed to teach and encourage the development of self-control through mindfulness.
These techniques equip teachers with the tools and strategies they need to create a classroom environment that is conducive to teaching and learning.
Research has revealed that teaching self-control improves behavior and academic performance!
The ultimate goal is to encourage children to:
Manage their own behavior.
Take responsibility for their actions.
Stop and think about the consequences for what they choose to say and do.
Make positive choices.
Resolve conflicts peacefully.
Children learn these essential life skills through activities designed to teach competent language, how to calm their bodies and minds, how to understand and recognize their feelings and control their actions, and how to be kind and thoughtful to others.
These skills and strategies equip children with the ability to take control of their own lives by CHOOSING positive words and actions.
Self-control is not something that someone can do for you. Self-control is a set of specific skills that YOU need to learn how to do for yourself.
Discover ME teaches children the skills and strategies they need to manage their own behavior: their bodies, their thoughts, and their actions through self-awareness and mindfulness!
More about Discover ME
Self-control is an essential skill that children need to learn at an early age. It is not something that someone can do for you. Set control is a set of skills that children need to learn how to do for themselves. Teaching children how to calm down and control their bodies is the first step in teaching them how to control their impulses. Children need to learn that they are responsible for their bodies and the things they say and do.
Discover ME teaches children that they have the power to control their bodies, their thoughts, and their actions through (1) visualization – learning how to use their imaginations to create and visualize positive images (2) how to use self-talk to encourage positive thoughts and actions and (3) purposeful breathing – learning how to breathe with the sole purpose of calming your body and your mind. This is a powerful tool that young children can acquire through practice—learning how to skillfully use their breathing to manage their emotions. This intentional breathing, not only calms the brain, but also triggers the parasympathetic nervous system which relaxes the body and encourages a state of calm.
When children are feeling overwhelmed by their emotions, whether it is anger, frustration, stress, disappointment, or even excitability, they need to have coping skills in place so they know how to deal with those big feelings. Educating children about their feelings and teaching them coping skills gives them effective ways to manage their emotions and their behavior. Children need to be equipped with the skills they need to calm themselves down. Frequently practicing those essential skills encourages the development of a habitual pattern of positive behavior – learning how to train your brain to remain calm during stressful situations. Once you’re calm you can confront your feelings and deal with them in more productive ways.
Discover ME encourages children to tune in to their own feelings by recognizing those physical sensations in their bodies associated with their emotions. For example, those fluttery sensations you feel in your body when you’re feeling nervous or scared. The tightness in your jaw you experience when you are feeling stressed or angry. Or when your stomach growls when you’re feeling hungry. Children have to be taught how to pay attention to their bodies and to notice the way they’re feeling. When children are capable of recognizing those sensations in their bodies they are able to identify their feelings and should be taught to name the emotion they are experiencing. Awareness of your emotions helps you to deal with your feelings in more effective ways. Those are skills that children need to be taught how to do. Through the practice of mindfulness children can learn those essential skills.
So, what is mindfulness? Mindfulness is being aware of yourself – your body, your thoughts, your feelings, your actions, and your surroundings in the present moment. It is noticing the sounds you hear and the things you touch, see, taste, and smell. Mindfulness is paying attention to yourself—internally and externally without judgement.
When practicing mindfulness, you will hear these words over and over: be present, pay attention, focus, notice, and listen. The reason those words are synonymous with mindfulness are because those skills are the very essence of mindfulness. Those skills not only define the concept of mindfulness, but they are also essential skills that facilitate learning exponentially.
Those skills are the key components that inspire a mindful experience – being in the present moment. Understanding what’s happening in your body and your brain encourages the development of those essential skills and gives you the power to take control of your actions.
Let’s take a look at what happens in your body and your brain when you practice mindfulness. Research has revealed that practicing mindfulness stimulates activity in the pre-frontal cortex – that part of the brain where our focus, self-regulation, and attention skills live – our thinking brain! It stimulates activity in the hippocampus – that part of the brain where our learning takes place and our memories live. Research has also revealed that practicing mindfulness reduces activity in the amygdala -- that part of the brain where our feelings live, such as, our fear, anger, and frustration – our emotional brain! Research tells us that practicing mindfulness calms the amygdala and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which helps to calm those big feelings.
When we practice mindfulness, we are exercising our brain. We are building and strengthening those parts of the brain responsible for self-regulation, attention, learning, and memory. Through practice we learn how to control our attention by noticing when we’re distracted. We learn how to bring our attention back to what we are doing in the present moment. We become aware of the power we have to control where we choose to place our attention. The more we practice, the better we get at controlling our impulses, paying attention, learning, and remembering. Those skills lay the foundation for children too effectively communicate with themselves and others. Those skills are not just words. They are important concepts that children need to learn and understand by participating in activities that give them the opportunity to actually practice those essential skills. Those skills engage and activate the pre-frontal cortex, the thinking part of our brain.
When we practice mindfulness, we can actually restructure and rewire our brain to be more responsive instead of reactive. This encourages us to respond to situations with calmness and clarity. Instead of reacting immediately to a situation, we learn to make mindful choices – to stop and think before we respond and to consider the consequences of our choices. Giving children the opportunity to practice those concepts introduces them to essential skills that inspire learning, self-regulation, kindness, and empathy.
Caregivers should also use those same methods to control their impulses and pay attention that they are teaching their children to use. You have to consciously show children how to do this by teaching, practicing, and modeling those concepts to reinforce those essential skills. We cannot control our children, but it’s our responsibility to teach them the skills and strategies they need so they can learn how to control themselves. Children have to be taught how to manage their own behavior.
The following suggestions and activities give children the opportunity to practice these essential skills: purposeful breathing, self-regulation, focus, noticing, attention, and listening to encourage mindfulness. Remember the more you practice, the better you get!
Begin by putting away your cell phone, turn off the TV, and any other distracting technology. Unplug yourself! Engage and connect with your child. Place all your attention on your children. Maintain eye contact and listen mindfully!