While a 3 or 4-year-old child can't yet sit and pay attention for extended periods of time, developing focus and concentration is vital for future classroom success. Focus-building is a must for kindergarten readiness. Using the chime which, when repeated each day, becomes a signal for the brain to focus. Simple attention training techniques like focusing on the breath, sound, or even slow, long out-breaths help to build the confidence and control needed to be able to pay attention for extended periods of time.
- The Breath
- The Body
- The Senses
- Grandfather Clock Picture
- Flat rocks for each person, including adults
- Pipe cleaners and beads
- Collection of noise makers (coins, pasta, paper clips, and jars to hold them)
- Oranges for each person
Goals of this Lesson:
- Children will learn different techniques to support the ability to focus.
- Children will be able to focus on one object for 30 seconds.
- Children will understand that they can get better at focusing if they practice.
- Teachers and parents will practice focusing skills with the children and follow-up with daily practice.
Starting the Lesson:
Gather kids to sit in a circle. Talk about what “paying attention” means to them. Who tells them to do this in their lives? Why do we need to pay attention? Have the dog puppet talk about what makes it hard to concentrate. (Other kids are talking or fooling around, or when he’s feeling hungry or tired, or he feels bored). Then have the wise owl suggest some things that might help to turn your “focus button” when you need to.
What We Learned Today:
We have experienced that by focusing on a single object or sense, our brain can screen out other noise distractions allowing us to pay attention more carefully, and focus on the task at hand.
Integrating the Lesson:
Practice, practice, practice! Practice being aware of your senses. Feel your legs getting out of bed and your feet hitting the floor. Remember five things you saw on the way to school. STOP - what are the sounds you can hear right now? Use snack time to do mindful eating: notice the sweetness in the juice, the softness of the banana, or the peanut in the peanut butter.