August 1, 2012
Well it’s officially August and people have started asking if my kids are ready to go back to school (?!) But as we slowly begin to turn our thoughts towards September, I am reminded of their first days at school. We were fortunate to have a truly gifted kindergarten teacher at our school. I have always referred to Mrs. Robinson as our kindergarten angel; she seemed to instinctively know what each child needed and how to help them get it. She is a teacher who has always understood the importance of self-regulation.
I learned about the importance of self-regulation from my mentor Regi Boehme and also from my dear friend Kim Barthel, two outstanding occupational therapists. It always made sense to me that if a child’s emotions, sensations and cognition were not matched to the environment in that moment, then they wouldn’t be able to learn enough about a movement task to eventually own that skill independently. Today the importance of self-regulation is getting a lot of attention in many circles.
Here in St. Catharines I am fortunate to have Patti McGillivray OT, of McGillivray & Associates OT4Kids as a friend and colleague. Patti recently developed the Functional Screening for Kindergarten Success (FSSK) tool. It can be difficult to determine, in a busy kindergarten class environment, why some children have such difficulty staying calm or moving from task to task. The FSSK can help teachers and other professionals to assess components of self-regulation and also suggests options to help. I am excited to be able to direct you to June’s issue of Professionally Speaking, the magazine of the Ontario College of Teachers, where you can read more from Patti and the FSSK. If you want more information about self-regulation or about the FSSK tool, you can also contact Patti through her website.