Recent research has shown that if by the end of third grade a child is not at reading level, they are at risk for not graduating high school. This is because in kindergarten through third grade a child is learning how to read. After that, they need to be able to read to learn. Students who fail to reach this critical milestone often falter in the later grades and drop out before earning a high school diploma.
So why are some students not reading at grade level?
Studies site poor schools, lack of parental involvement, and poverty as the primary causes, because often many low-income children arrive at kindergarten without the language or social skills they need for learning. The critical piece I feel that isn’t being looked at is how childhood trauma and stress affects the developing brain and how the instability of economic challenges increases the likelihood of a child experiencing stress and trauma.
According to Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD, founder and medical director of the Trauma Center in Brookline, MA, “…it takes a tremendous amount of energy to keep functioning while carrying the memory of terror and the shame of utter weakness and vulnerability. …” It also keeps the individual in the reactive mind, where no thinking takes place. It matters not whether trauma comes from interaction in the family of origin, with other students, gangs or predatory adults on the street, or some combination of the above.
Also, according to Bruce Perry, MD, PhD, and senior Fellow at Child Trauma Academy, and Dr. Van Der Kolk, when a child experiences significant trauma, healing needs to first take place in the brain stem, before higher cognitive and emotional learning can take place. This can happen with simple rhythmically attuned movements such as passing a ball back and forth, walking, biking, chi gong, tai chi, or even scribbling, if approached in a reflective and rhythmic manner.
With this in mind, I think it is important to focus more attention on helping children, especially at-risk children, learn how to resolve and recover from trauma, restore balance, and learn to place their mind in a learning-ready state autonomously. Our overburdened educational system sadly tends to bypass this need for restoring balance and instead just tries to recruit the cognitive and emotional capacities of the mind. This unfortunately leads to more trauma, feelings of inadequacy, and lack of success.
With this in mind, I invite you to explore some of the ICWIB! art activities and videos for FREE because they have demonstrated the ability to help even very young children resolve trauma, restore balance, and place their minds in a learning-ready state autonomously.
Also, in a recent interview, said, “Freedom is the ability to create without the limitation of generational programming. TheI Create What I Believe! (ICWIB!) Program is a gateway and a pathway into a new and better future because it allows children to fully express themselves and to not be limited by the beliefs that have been passed down from generation to generation. This program also frees up children’s minds and allows their creative nature to create a better world for all of us, which is what we need right now!”