As Fall rapidly approaches, families turn their attention to back to school, back to sports, back to music lessons, back to all of the hustle and bustle of the winter months.
Hustle and Bustle is the nice way of putting it. For parents, grandparents, and extended family it can be down right stressful! But for the kids it can be utter overwhelm! Just the shear number of things that are required of them during the day can be too much.
On top of it all, we grown-ups demand that they be well behaved, calm, focused, considerate, punctual... And the list goes on. It's no wonder that our kids are having increasingly more stress-related health issues!
I recently had the opportunity to interview Educator Tom Gebo a 22-year veteran teacher in the public school system. He is also the director of the Youth Theater Ensemble, a 2-week long summer camp for kids 7-14 (The Interview is below). I was shocked and alarmed by what he shared was his number one concern for his students and his class room in general...
Kids are arriving at school with past trauma, current trauma from living situations, custody issues and even trauma from the every day stuff, like what to wear, getting up on time and breakfast choices.
This all adds up to tension and melt downs in the class room. He shared that some days it's difficult to get his 2nd grade class back on track after an incident. So when I shared the possibility of using the Cogno-Ball to refocus and settle the kids, he was really interested. Together we came up with a modified version of the CM System so that it could be used in a group setting. Tom decided to test the system during the 2 week YTE session this summer! The results were amazing to witness!
At first it was an awkward jumble, Tom had 60 kids plus teenaged apprentices moving the Cogno-ball in one big circle, but by day 3 it was starting to look like a well oiled machine! By the second week, I witness 60 kids quietly walking on to the stage, in the performing arts center where the camp is held, sitting down and smoothly beginning to pass the ball. Left for one minute, then right for one minute. It looked like a sort of zen meditation!
Tom recalls past years when it took 15 minutes+ to get the group of up to 75 kids to settle and be ready to rehearse first thing in the morning and again after lunch. It could add up to a wasted hour! With the Cogno-Group System, he got the morning and afternoon transition times down to 7 minutes! Astounding! Plus the 7 minutes was highly constructive! The kids spent a total of about 3 minutes with the ball and then another 4 or so minutes doing a warm up exercise!
As you'll see in our interview, kids were calmer and more focused in general. Even the kids who generally have behavioral issues were in full participation and free to enjoy the camp as opposed to being corrected for being unfocused and disruptive!
Tom is now ready to take the Cogno-Group System into his class room! Cognomovement founder Bill McKenna donated 35 Cognomovement Balls to support Tom in his heroic quest to diminish the effects of trauma in his classroom and for the students he serves. The administration of his school district are supportive of his efforts as well and hope to use the Cognomovement system school wide.
If these results are possible for a group of 60 kids at a time, what's possible for the children in your life? Could you take 1-3 minutes to create a state of calm and focus and a readiness to learn? What if you could create the same calm state around bedtime, getting ready for school and other events? What of stress relief would that create for you and the rest of your family?