S.M.A.R.T. seminar for teachers

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Eau Claire, Wis. (WEAU) -- Teachers in Eau Claire will be attending a S.M.A.R.T seminar to better engage students in the classroom.

Eau Claire Area Schools using S.M.A.R.T. program to help teachers understand how children learn.

S.M.A.R.T. stands for “Stimulating Maturity through Accelerated Readiness Training.” S.M.A.R.T. is currently being used in Minnesota as well as 12 other states. It gives teachers a new perspective on how kids learn.

"Our preschool, early-education teachers will be going through workshops will the Minnesota learning resource center on how activity with young children impacts their brain development," said Mary Ann Hardebeck, Eau Claire Area Schools superintendent.

Brain development in young children affects motor skills as well as children's ability to connect with their surroundings.

Giving teachers the opportunity to see how students learn is the focus of the smart program.

“We know as students learn to move and children learn to move, they acquire fine motor skills and large motor skills, sometimes referred to as gross motor skills that help them learn,” said Hardebeck. ”It helps them make those connections in the brain that eventually will help them learn to read, to speak better.”

The idea comes from the Minnesota Learning Resource Center, a nationally recognized teacher training institute. The program is affiliated with “A Chance to Grow,” which offers comprehensive brain-centered programs and services. It teaches skills that educators can use to help fully develop a child’s brain stem. All automatic functions take place in the stem, but in some cases it is not fully develop once a child reaches school-age.

“Because students are in such restrictive environments now. We want to make sure that brain development is taking place," said Hardebeck.

Laura Rust is a local mother. She said her child learns by moving instead of sitting.

"She needs that, all her senses being utilized. That's how they learn the best."

For Hardebeck, she said schools will continue to research and modify curriculum to enhance early brain development in the classroom.

"We’re looking at the latest research on brain development for children of all ages,” said Hardebeck. “This is an entry point for us. We will be incorporating these activities into our curriculum and into our strategies and we are really looking to see all the benefits it will bring to our children."

The program will be broken into two sessions: One for preschool teachers and the other for kindergarten through elementary teachers

According to the “A Chance to Grow” website, over 60 thousand children have benefited from the S.M.A.R.T. program since its inception.