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Sunday, February 8, 2009

SMART Activities Boost Learning

Stimulating Maturity through Accelerated Readiness Training

The foundation for school readiness is the maturity of the brain, and even students from disadvantaged backgrounds can achieve at national norm levels when the program is coordinated between grades over several years. The most important aspect of the SMART program is that it is supported by more than 10 years of data-based scientific studies with more than 30 research reports available.

SMART staff development has trained more than a thousand teachers nationwide and is used in hundreds of classrooms. The activities are chosen for their direct effects on reduction of physical discomfort, uncontrolled distraction reflexes, development of superior attention abilities, age-appropriate readiness sequences preparatory to academic curricula, emotionally-warm and positive teachers and classroom climate, direct instruction, age-appropriate homework, and public performance at automatic mastery levels. When basic skills are firmly established, success at higher grades is a steady progression. Pupils, teachers and parents love this program and the competencies that the children develop.

Early child development includes neuro-development as the foundation for school success. We expect that half of the students will score in the top quarter of nationally-normed measures, and that few students will score below average (a true Lake Woebegone effect). The Minnesota Learning Resource Center has received several million dollars in grant support to train teachers and to document the positive effects of this brain stimulation in schools.

Lyelle Palmer, Ph.D.
Research Scientist -- Co-developer of SMART
Minnesota Learning Resource Center
lpalmer@winona.edu

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