Interest in building bridges between neuroscience and education has proliferated in recent years. The scientific community and faculty are excited about the great opportunity that can result from this connection for the improvement of teaching.
Thanks to this connection, the approach of knowledge and forms of scientific knowledge to teachers is made possible, so that they can reach their students and help them make their learning more effective. One such program that improves children's learning is the HERAT program.
One of the best known programs that have appeared in Spain of this trend based on neuroscience is called HERAT. It is a program that has been designed by the Department of Education, Youth and Sports of the Community of Madrid in collaboration with neuroscientists from the Complutense University of Madrid.
This stimulation program for the child aims to introduce functional neuroscience in the educational and school environment to:
- Accelerate pedagogical processes and improve the academic performance of students.
- Detect children's abilities from an early age.
- Adjust the educational response to the needs of the students themselves.
- Improve cooperation between parents, teachers and neuroscientists.
The HERAT program to improve children's learning and stimulation of neurological processes is aimed at students from 3 years to 12 years of age. This program is based on 5 pillars, which come from the initials of its own name. These are:
- H. Hydration. Neuroscience shows that if the brain is well hydrated, better levels of attention are achieved and, therefore, fewer mistakes are made. Therefore, it will be tried that the children drink water frequently.
- E. Balance. When performing balance exercises, the areas involved in motor and attentional control are activated, that is, neuronal connections are improved. For example: walking on tiptoe, hopping, walking on a line and toe-heel or placing one foot on top of the other and trying to balance, among others.
- R. Breathing. Doing deep and continuous breathing exercises to seek a state of balance between relaxation and excitement, allow the student to reach an optimal level of activation for the performance of subsequent activities.
- A. Auditory. Thanks to auditory attention activities, the areas responsible for the processes that optimize learning in this way are activated. For example, use hearing care cards.
- T. Tactile. These activities are the most effective at the attentional level, since they stimulate the most specific areas of the brain responsible for executive control. For example, draw on a surface with your finger.
The program consists of carrying out an exercise routine such as those mentioned at different times during the school day in 3 half-minute sessions. For example, before classes start, after recess break, and after lunch. Thanks to this, the next 15 minutes are of maximum attention.
The collaboration of families is important since one more application must be made at home. To guarantee the maintenance of the connections formed during the training, it is necessary that it be done on weekends and during vacation periods.
One of the strengths of the HERAT program is that not many materials are needed to carry it out. Regarding human resources, adequate training of teachers and families will be necessary through training sessions and seminars. As for material resources, optionally you can use the computer, the projector, a music player, a blackboard, or activity cards if exercises are not known.
It will be important to provide the parents with exercises, activity cards or any material that is used with the corresponding demonstrative explanation of how it is carried out in order to carry out the activity correctly when the child is not in school hours.
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