Brain-Based Learning: What is it?
By: Danielle Ward (Director of Ignite! Prototype Academy and Occupational Therapist)
Brain-based learning refers to teaching methods, lesson designs, and academic programs that are based on the latest scientific research about how the brain learns.
Cognitive development includes how students learn differently as they age, grow, mature socially, emotionally, and cognitively play a role in how the brain learns. Recent research in cognitive science revealed that intelligence is not a fixed characteristic as previously thought.
Neuroplasticity refers to the fact that the brain can grow new connections between neurons as we learn something by having new experiences. Research shows that the human brain physically changes as skills are practiced and learned. Learning improves brain functioning and intelligence!
According to John Ratey, author of A User’s Guide to the Brain and Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, there is a neurochemical response to exercise which leads to greater interest and challenge to develop and support brain development. In a research review completed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research review from 2010 revealed that elementary school children who took breaks from work to be active during the day could concentrate better on schoolwork.
How does Ignite! Prototype Academy approach Brain Based Learning?
Ignite! Prototype Academy uses brain-based learning strategies and exercise in our kids’ gym to optimize brain function and the learning experience. Ignite! workouts combine physical skill with cognitive or academic skills to demonstrate autonomic ability. Each session provides a skill that is perceived as a challenge worthy of great effort with balance so the student can be successful. Students are exposed to novel tasks, repetition, and complex skills. Ignite! focuses on the whole brain (right and left hemispheres), recreating developmental movement patterns, and creating an environment within our gym for kids to enhance learning.
We use specific methods that enhance brain-based learning used in our Ignite! sessions, including self-assessment of the five controllable factors (sleep, nutrition, exercise, stress, and energy), reflection on performance, participation in developmental movement exercises, and completion of focus drills.
Exercise helps facilitate learning and behavioral change in everyone! Try out an Ignite! session for you child to see what it’s all about!