What is Educational Kinesiology (Edu-K)?

Edu-K was the outcome of over 20 years of experimentation and experiential research by specialist educator Paul Dennison, PhD, and his wife and colleague Gail E. Dennison, beginning in the 1960s. At his remedial learning center in California, Paul noticed that people who came for help with learning challenges often had postural, physical or perceptual stresses and inhibitions.

Paul and Gail Dennison describe the interdependence of movement, cognition and applied learning as the basis of their work:

For the last century, educational training of the classroom teacher has been based on the premise that learning is a mental activity. Physical components of learning – the visual, auditory, fine motor and postural skills – have been almost entirely ignored by educators. A student who has difficulty in the early grades rarely does better later on unless the physical cause of the stress is somehow addressed. Moreover, since learning is measured by results rather than by process, stressful compensations are often acquired and carried throughout a learner’s life.

*Paul found that the physical activities and techniques he was developing could sometimes ease the compensatory patterns that had arisen in his clients and encourage co-ordinated and integrated movement patterns. As the physical blocks released, learners were better able to express their innate intelligence and abilities.

Educational Kinesiology draws on techniques and tools from a number of disciplines, including behavioral optometry, kinesiology, postural alignment therapies, learning theory and sport. The Educational Kinesiology Foundation is a California, USA 501(c)3 nonprofit public benefit corporation which owns the registered trademark BRAIN GYM®. More widely known as Brain Gym® International, this organization is committed to the principle that movement is the door to optimal living and learning.

What are Brain Gym activities?

Through trial and experience, Paul developed a core set of 26 physical activities, which he named ‘Brain Gym’ activities. The Brain Gym activities became the foundation movement program of his Educational Kinesiology system.

Brain Gym movements, exercises or activities recall the movements naturally done during the first years of life when learning to co-ordinate the eyes, ears, hands, and whole body. Clients, teachers and students have been reporting for over 30 years on the effectiveness of these simple activities. You can learn all 26 activities by attending a Brain Gym 101 Foundation Course.

Who can benefit from the Brain Gym work?

This simple, yet powerful, program is used by people of all ages and abilities for a variety of reasons. It is probably best known for its effectiveness in school classrooms, the arena for which it was first developed. Additionally, people with special needs and learning challenges benefit from Edu-K and the Brain Gym program by using modifications of some of the movements and activities.

The Edu-K Foundation makes no medical claims nor diagnoses. However, the Brain Gym work is not limited to the educational field and special needs. Brain Gym is used in school systems around the world to help students
achieve more easily. While Brain Gym is frequently used to benefit children with “learning challenges,” it makes learning of all kinds easier for everyone. Brain Gym is used in the business world to help workers at all skill levels to do their work more effectively and easily.

Brain Gym is used in athletics, promoting both personal skill and team communication. Brain Gym is a wonderful personal growth tool, allowing people to make rapid changes in areas where they may have felt “stuck” for a long time. The Educational Kinesiology Foundation encourages people to use, play with, and explore information learned. However, only licensed instructor/consultants can teach, advertise, or collect fees for the Brain Gym program.

How Children benefit from Brain Gym?

Children naturally explore movements as they grow and mature. However, under tension, children learn to rely too much on one cerebral hemisphere of the brain alone, instead of two sides together, placing unnecessary and stressful demands upon the whole physiology. Paul Dennison, calls this the “switched off” state.

Children who have special needs “switch off” more frequently than the average child. Perhaps the stress from neurological damage or simply a more sensitive nervous system creates a need for movements, such as Brain Gym, as well as skills of coordination.

The intention behind the Brain Gym is to stimulate the brain so that the child has equal access to all dimensions of the brain.

How is Brain Gym experienced?

The Brain Gym activities address three specific dimensions of physical movement that correlate with three areas of the brain. Each dimension is described by a key word or function, by observing or noticing neurological soft signs we are lead to the appropriate Brain Gym movements and activities.

People of all ages use these activities throughout the day to relieve stress, or as a quick mind-body warm-up before studying, writing, or sports–whatever the activity may be–bringing them back to feeling comfortable and
productive. The Edu-K Five-Step Balance process takes the Brain Gym movements to a new level, and supports deep and rapid change. An Edu-K balance can be done to overcome an obstacle you’re experiencing: a skill you can’t quite accomplish, a self-defeating habit you wish to eliminate, or a potential within yourself you’d like to develop. We call this “balancing for” a specific goal, and the process is simply referred to as “a balance.” Edu-K balances are experienced with a trained facilitator, either one-on-one or in groups.

Children often choose to balance for coordination skills such as kicking the ball in soccer, or academic skills such as quickly recalling math facts. Adults may choose to address confidence in public speaking, or easily dealing with a certain person or situation. Groups (even sport teams) frequently balance for easy communication or finding simple resolutions as challenges arise. Edu-K balancing typically results in immediate, sometimes dramatic, change.

How long do the effects last?

Individual results may vary. Doing the Brain Gym activities every day reinforces positive movement and postural habits. Individuals are encouraged to notice senses, feelings, and thoughts to determine what may be beneficial at any particular moment.

Both the balance process and the fun, easy, energizing movements can be especially helpful during times of stress.

What is the philosophy?

The work is based upon empirical experience rather than neurological research. Influences include child development and movement experts, innovative educators, specialists in developmental vision, and chiropractic movement educators. Edu-K’s philosophy encourages self-responsibility and self-assessment. Participants are invited to explore and discover their own learning processes. To meet this objective, the courses and individual sessions are built around activities that encourage experience, initiative and evaluation. This is the heuristic model of education, the “drawing out” model of learning. The philosophy is further based on the knowledge that humans learn through movement.

As founder Paul Dennison says, “Movement is the door to learning.” Throughout life, stress can affect the capacity to move and inhibit the ability to comprehend, organize, and communicate. At certain times, people may notice that thinking, feeling, or sensing may influence performance. In Edu-K, we observe and address movement patterns with the intention of restoring the skills associated with successful achievement.

How is Brain Gym learned?

The Brain Gym 101 Foundation Course consists of 24 hours of instruction, commonly offered over three or four days. This training gives teachers everything they need to use the Brain Gym techniques in their classroom (and for themselves, friends and family as well). Participants learn:

• All 26 Brain Gym movements and how to get the most out of them;
• A variety of simple yet powerful Brain Gym balances for the areas of
positive attitudes, seeing, listening, writing/communication, and
whole-body coordination;
• Dennison Laterality Repatterining to powerfully integrate the right and
left hemispheres of the brain, creating communication and coordination
throughout the mind-body system;
• More advanced balances that enhance our ability to function in the
three main cranial/body dimensions (laterality, centering and focus)
so the whole system is balanced to communicate, organize and comprehend;
• How to understand the Brain Gym process in light of current educational/
brain research;
• How to use these powerful tools to create an ease-filled, integrated
state for yourself, your students and others.

How is Edu-K and the Brain Gym program used in the classroom?

It enhances, rather than replaces, existing programs and curricula. Initially, teachers guide the students through the movements and processes, supporting growing movement skills. The ultimate aim of the program is to encourage each student to notice when they might be “stuck” on a particular learning task and for the student to choose an appropriate activity. Such an empowering approach encourages each student to be self-responsible. It can be integrated into classrooms around the world in a variety of ways:

• The movements can be done as a whole group activity.
• A skilled teacher may identify and work with individual students.
• Students learn to notice when they could benefit from the various
movements and initiate the use of them independently.

As a result of using Brain Gym movements regularly in the classroom, many teachers report significant improvements in the basic skills of reading, writing, spelling, and math as well as in areas such as concentration, attention, confidence, and creativity.

How do I Get Started?

Edu-K and the Brain Gym® program can be experienced with licensed Brain Gym® Instructors/Consultants through private sessions, courses, and presentations. Books are also available.

Private sessions typically last 1-2 hours and allow a client to focus on a specific goal. In a private session, Brain Gym activities may be experienced as well as the more advanced work, as is appropriate.

• Attending a 3 days workshop taught by Vera Lopez
• Scheduling a private consultation with Vera Lopez
• Scheduling a video consult with Vera Lopez

How do I Get Started?

Edu-K and the Brain Gym® program can be experienced with licensed Brain Gym® Instructors/Consultants through private sessions, courses, and presentations. Books are also available.

Private sessions typically last 1-2 hours and allow a client to focus on a specific goal. In a private session, Brain Gym activities may be experienced as well as the more advanced work, as is appropriate.

• Attending a 3 days workshop taught by Vera Lopez
• Scheduling a private consultation with Vera Lopez
• Scheduling a video consult with Vera Lopez

What does the training qualify me to do?

Becoming a Brain Gym Movement Facilitator qualifies you to deliver the 26 Brain Gym activities at a professional level to groups and individuals in any setting you choose. On completion of training as a Movement Facilitator you will know how to:

• effectively use and adapt the activities for a wide variety of ages, physical, social and cognitive abilities
• be confident and familiar with the basic concepts of the Brain Gym module of the Educational Kinesiology program
• understand the sensory development background and aims of the program
• communicate clearly the ethos of the program, such as the drawing out model, and demonstrate it in their teaching practice

This experience base is essential in order to understand, respect and carry out the core perspectives of the Brain Gym program when using the Brain Gym activities.

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