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Brain Based Curriculum - Teaching Children With The Brain In Mind by Dr. Sheila Tillett-Holas

Brain Based Curriculum

Teaching Children The Way The Brain Learns

Our curriculum (Teaching Preschoolers with the Brain in Mind) is a brain based curriculum approved by the Virginia Board of Education.

This curriculum features weekly lesson plans and monthly unit themes that focus on brain based learning principles and strategies.

Also includes monthly character building lessons that include:

  • Kindness: Encourage them to be kind to others, share, and show empathy towards their peers.

  • Patience: Help them learn to wait their turn and understand that not everything happens instantly.

  • Respect: Teach them to respect adults, their peers, and themselves. This includes using polite language and good manners.

  • Responsibility: Encourage them to take care of their toys, clean up after themselves, and complete simple tasks.

  • Cooperation: Promote teamwork and cooperation through group activities and playdates.

  • Honesty: Teach them the importance of telling the truth and being honest about their feelings.

  • Persistence: Help them understand that it's okay to make mistakes and that perseverance is important when facing challenges.

  • Generosity: Show them the joy of giving and sharing with others, whether through small acts of kindness or sharing toys.

Core Subject Areas

Language Arts

Reading Readiness

Reading readiness is an important skill for preschoolers to learn. It helps them develop the tools they need to become confident readers. Parents can help their child by reading aloud to them, introducing them to books, and encouraging them to draw and write stories. Additionally, they can help them learn the alphabet, play word games, and practice phonemic awareness. With the right support and encouragement, preschoolers can develop a lifelong love of reading.

Math Readiness

Calendar Math

Preparing your preschooler for math can be a fun and rewarding experience. Starting early is key to helping your child develop strong math skills that will last a lifetime. Activities such as counting, sorting, and pattern recognition are great ways to introduce important mathematical concepts in a fun and engaging way. Through play and everyday activities, you can help your child develop the necessary skills to be successful in math. Encourage your child to count objects, recognize shapes, and sort items according to size, color, or type. These activities help to build the foundation of math readiness.

Science Exploration

science exploration for preschool

Understanding Earth, Space Systems, Patterns, and Cycles, and testing questions and ideas.

Social Science Exploration

Geography Lesson

Civics and Citizenship, Geography, Similarities & Differences

Fine & Visual Arts

Kids in Art Class

Movement and dance, exploring the singing voice, performance, tools to create visual art.

Music Appreciation

Carnival Band

Keyboarding, Drumming & more.

Personal Development

Students sitting around table learning

Self Regulation, self concept, interactions with others, approaches to learning, social problems

Outside Play

Blue Ribbon Results Academy Playground in Norfolk, VA

Daily (as weather permits). Independent gross motor play, cooperative, and organized sports

Brain Breaks

Blue Ribbon Results Academy Logo

Quiet time (naps) and brain breaks are incorporated in the school day.

Before & After Care

The Extended Day (before and after care) program is designed to meet the needs of working parents. Extended Day provides the opportunity for children to arrive at 6:30 a.m. and to remain engaged until 6:00 p.m. for no additional charge.

The Extended Day program is staffed with highly qualified teachers who are trained to meet the needs of individual children. The morning session provides students with a choice of resting, reading, music and movement, and crafts. The after-school session includes snack time, STEM, Music and Art Appreciation, Technology, homework, receive tutorial services in the core subjects (reading and math), and enjoy indoor/outdoor play. At Blue Ribbon Results, Extended Day allows working parents to provide for their families while knowing that their child is having an awesome experience in a loving and nurturing environment.

Morning Extended Care

6:30am - 9:00am

Quiet Time / Prepare Snack / Role Play / Crafts / Table Games

After School Care


Organized Group Games / Evening Snack / Role Play / Crafts / Music and Movement

Kindergarten at Blue Ribbon Results Acadmey

About Us

From the Beginning

Think. Reason. Question. Experiment. These are just a few of the skills and qualities that children will develop at Blue Ribbon Results Academy. Since our founding, we’ve focused on supporting kids during all transitions throughout childhood.

All activities are designed to adequately nurture the emotional and intellectual growth of our kids. Through stimulating situations and hands-on learning opportunities, young children are free to develop into bright young minds. Reach out to learn more, and enroll with us today!

kindergarten graduation celebration blue ribbon results academy

Advantages of Brain Based Learning

The brain is involved in everything humans do. Thus, school and classroom environments affect students’ brains daily. This is an essential understanding for educators to have in the 21st century. Jensen (2008a) said, “Brain-based education is best understood in three words: engagement, strategies, and principles” (p. 410). Brain-based education is learning in accordance with the way the brain is biologically designed to learn. Jensen (2008c) identified the BBL approach as the professionalism of knowing why one strategy is employed instead of another. Brain-based teaching encourages educators to consider the nature of the brain in their decisions regarding reaching more learners. Brain-based instruction is a means to reach all students using a set of guiding principles embedded in differentiated instruction. Understanding the guiding principles and being well-trained in brain-compatible strategies are essential to solving the problem of reaching all students in the classroom. Jensen (2000) asserted, “[BBL] is . . . a set of principles and a base of knowledge and skills upon which we can make better decisions about the learning process” (p. xiv). Caine and Caine (1994) synthesized educational and scientific research to establish a brain-based theory of learning with 12 basic principles that apply to classroom instruction. The principles constituted a strong connection between neurosciences and education and introduced the human learning process. Caine and Caine (2002) and Sousa (2001), seeking to understand the strategies that work best for quality teaching and learning, suggested educators look closely at the suggested 12 principles of BBL that serve as the theoretical foundations of the approach. Caine et al. (2005) restated Caine and Caine’s (1994) original principles of brain-based instruction as follows:

  1. The brain is a parallel processor with entire systems interacting and exchanging information.

  2. Learning engages the entire physiology, including stress, nutrition, and relaxation.

  3. The search for meaning is innate with a hunger for discovery and challenge.

  4. The search for meaning occurs through patterning, and life-relevant approaches are the best ways to influence the learning direction.

  5. Emotions are critical to patterning because a learner’s feelings will be involved with and can determine future learning.

  6. The brain processes parts and wholes simultaneously, especially when incorporated in genuine experience.

  7. Learning involves both focused attention and peripheral perception including those unconscious signals related to the importance and value of what is being learned.

  8. Learning always involves conscious and unconscious processes, and students need time to reflect upon what they have learned.  

  9. Two ways of organizing memory include spatial memory and a system for rote learning.

  10. An individual understands and remembers best when facts and skill are embedded in natural, spatial memory with the use of real-life activity, demonstrations, projects, and field trips.

  11. Complex learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by threat, and optimal learning requires a safe place to think and take risks.

  12. Every brain is uniquely organized, which is why learners are all different.

These principles offer a quality learning approach aligned with how the brain naturally learns best (Jensen, 2000). They are the foundation to why teachers select and use specific strategies and why they use them with certain students and at various times. Jensen (2005) noted that the 12 principles serve as a framework for teachers to consider as they create lesson plans integrating brain-based strategies. Research involving brain-based teaching was first undertaken in 1988 (Jensen, 2008b). The BBL theory is a nontraditional approach that has gained acceptance among some within the scientific community. This technique shows that learning is not always achieved by the same means for every individual. BBL has evolved to the extent that eight elements have been identified as contributing to brain-compatible classrooms: (a) absence of threat, (b) mastery, (c) immediate feedback, (d) meaningful content, (e) collaboration, (f) enriched environment, (g) adequate time, and (h) choice. According to Caine and Caine (1990), Jensen (1998), and Sylwester (1995), when these eight conditions are part of the learning environment, conditions are optimal for learning to occur. BBL is student involvement in purposeful engagement using strategies based on the principles.

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