Would you believe it if I told you that we focus on building the brain and the body before introducing abstract concepts? I'm the Founder & Program Director of Epoch and I'll tell you the benefits of climbing a tree, playing red Rover, knitting a hat, actually build the brain and ready it for more abstract concepts like learning foreign language or algebra. I can feel you rolling your eyes, but it's true.
Knitting, handwork, and movement activities that encourage "crossing the midline" actually build the corpus collosum, the line down the center of the brain that connects the right and left hemisphere. Through watercolor painting, gardening, dry needling, felting projects and drawing colorful pictures with block crayons, we're causing a firing and rewiring of the brain that help ready it for more abstract concepts.
Our students were exposed to some Spanish last week and will continue to learn throughout the year. We also added a few latin root words to our word wall because latin helps children learn the romantic languages of Spanish, French and Italian easily as these languages spawned from latin roots. Their vocabulary will also improve and their decoding skills as they read. And, as if learning foreign language isn't enough, this is building the same part of the brain used for math, music and spatial awareness.
So, to the untrained eye, it may appear as though we're "just playing" when you see a game of Hokey Pokey occurring on the lawn, but we're developing the body, strengthening vestibular systems, and building the brain to ready it for abstract concepts like letters, numbers and language. Post pandemic, nearly all of our students are "behind" according to mainstream culture. At Epoch, we don't have any intentions of rushing them forward to meet those expectations. We will; however, work with them daily and allow the natural process of child development to unfold. We will give them time to wiggle as wiggling builds the brain. We will access the brain through the heart with color, play, and stories rich in meaning that speak to the child's soul. At Epoch, we are not "teachers" and we're not a "school"; we are a place of love and warmth that seeks to help children be well-rounded, loving contributing members of society.
At Epoch, we don't teach students. We invite children to learn and we model what it means to be a good human and contribute positively to a hurting world. We lead with our hearts and invite children to do the same.