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The Fueling Brains (FB) approach to Early Childhood Education is based on the premise that brain development happens most and best in the early years. The well developed Executive Functions in a child helps him succeed in his future endeavors. Hence, early childhood educators need to have a sound understanding of what Executive Functions are and how they can be developed in children. The FB training and coaching addresses this by providing teachers a foundation course in Brain Development and Executive Functions in Early Years to acquaint them with the fundamentals of the FB approach. The duration of course is 3 hours and it is self-paced. Once the teacher completes the course she becomes eligible to take the FB coaching sessions. The FB coaching for teachers is classified into the following areas: Application-Based coaching and Classroom Enhancement coaching.
FB application is at the centre of Fueling brains program. It is through the application that the program is implemented. The application is designed with the view to empower the teachers by presenting a 360 degree view of all the information that they require for their teaching learning process. This includes the details of the students, their parents, their classes, and much more. However, this is not what the application is designed for. The application is designed to equip the teachers to support brain development of their students. To start with, the application has a well-developed interface of FB assessments where one can assess the students at various stages of the program. The assessment provides a clear understanding of the students’ and the classes’ Executive Functions. These assessments can be viewed in various views such as student-view or a class-view. There are options to sort the students by name, brain score, age etc. Now what can these assessments be used for? Well, these work as the foundation for the Fueling Brains interventions. These interventions are primarily the activities that can be embedded in the Lesson Plans and implemented in the classrooms. The application facilitates the Lesson Planning through its LP interface where teachers can, with just a few clicks, create their lesson plan using a ready to use master schedule made available for them in the application itself.
These are just a few of many many features that the application has to fully support teachers to implement the FB program and lead their students to success. To be able to utilise the application to its full potential it is imperative to understand its features and what it is capable of doing. It is here that our targeted FB coaching comes into play. To use the application in its full glory the teachers are coached in three-step process as follows: Navigating, Understanding and Doing
Navigating-Mechanics of the Application
Understanding-The information/data available in the application
Understand the brain picture of the class.
Identify the EFs where intervention is needed.
Identify the specific EF skill set of their students that they are struggling with.
Identify the activities relevant to the needs of the students.
Comparing two assessments
Doing-Using the application to plan lessons
Classroom Enhancement coaching
The recent brain development research brings into fore the dire need to focus on the child’s EF to address the many issues surrounding the education of young children. This makes it imperative to bring EFs in the early years educational dialogue and take it further towards relevant implementation. There are a number of classifications/models of Executive Functions in the periphery of brain development. To simplify the concept of Executive Functions and for the purpose of clarity, Fueling Brains uses the following three Executive Functions for its program: InhibitoryControl,Working Memory and Cognitive Flexibility A comprehensive process of Strategic Planning is followed when a school partners with FB. It is in the initial stages of the implementation that the teachers undergo the foundation course in Brain Development and Executive Functions in Early Years (FB approach to ECE). The objective of the course is to orient the teachers to the FB approach to Early childhood Education and acquaint them with the fundamentals of brain functions and how they impact the child’s learning and development; and quality of life in general. Once the teachers take this course they become coaching-ready and it is here that coaching sessions are planned to support and guide her in the teaching-learning process. These sessions are brain-based and planned as either individualised or POD sessions as per the needs of the teachers. The teacher with the support of the coach gets well versed in understanding the class profile in terms of EFs and FB groups (Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3). In the series of coaching sessions, the teacher is supported to identify the relevant activities to suit the needs of the different tier groups in the class and ways to conduct them to develop EF skills of the students. The focus areas of coaching sessions are : Understanding td. Usually, the coaching is planned for twelve weeks with a 30-minutes session once a week for individual teachers.he students’ brain health,Reflecting on the brain health of the class as a whole (FB groups in class),Reflecting on own classroom practice,Identifying needs and goals,Identifying strengths and areas for improvement,Other classroom-based individual needs of teachers The coaching plan is developed in the first introductory session which guides the series of sessions. The last session in the series/cycle is focussed on teacher self-reflection and way forward. Usually, the coaching is planned for twelve weeks with a 30-minutes session once a week for individual teachers.
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