'One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child.'
To deliver a compassionate and efficient education experience for children between the ages of 3-11 years, it is essential that we understand the following issues:
TRL in Primary Education has been developed over many years of work with children and classroom teachers and is exemplified by the unique system used at Educare Small School since it opened in February 1997.
It is effective because it is completely in accord with how we should naturally function in daily life and with how we learn.
“If we removed the Alexander Technique... from Educare it would reduce to a good quality small school no different than many. As it is Educare offers children a unique education where their all-round holistic development is properly addressed.
I look forward to the day when many schools have the Alexander Technique as part of their curriculum.”
Elizabeth Steinthal, Principal of Educare Small School.
All I Really Need to Know I learned at Kindergarten.
For more information on movement, learning and wellbeing take a look at our Furniture & Movement page.
Educare Small School presents the perfect model for how TRL can be very successfully integrated into every school day.
Any suitably motivated Primary School could follow this model with an initial, very modest financial outlay.
Once the system is up and running, then the input required from a professional Alexander Teacher would be significantly reduced.
Although Educare has the great benefit of being a small school, TRL and associated practices are transferrable to any size school.
See below for how your school can do this
A Truly Pioneering School
We have taken the principles of the Alexander Technique and simplified and adapted them for children. This became what we now call The Ready List (TRL)
Although many other schools have Alexander work available for individual pupils, at Educare the work is seamlessly integrated into the school day and used by all pupils and teachers.
What Do We Do That is Different?
Now let's look at some of our unique Educare practices and what we notice about how they impact on the children and the staff here:
Movement for Change
Educare has been pursuing these objectives and many of these methods since the school first opened. We were a long way ahead of the curve at that time.
Finally, the wider world is beginning to acknowledge issues around children’s mental, physical and emotional health.
Such issues can arise from over-stressed, over-stretched and rigid educational systems, plus the problems created by the ways in which we live now.
For example, the increasing pressures put on younger and younger children by social media, the Covid pandemic, financial hardship and living in a very uncertain world.
Research and various theories are now being considered concerning how our natural way of functioning has been subverted by the rapid changes to the environment and our lifestyles, especially since the industrial revolution.
The time is right for us to reassess what is truly important and what we want to be the daily experience for our children.
Find out how your school can be a part of this movement
This video from 2007 gives a flavour of some of the ways that TRL works at Educare Small School. Many practices have been added and updated since this was filmed.
A daily session of constructive rest and relaxation. We use TRL and calming body positions to give everyone an opportunity to be peacefully in their own space for a short time each day. When an Alexander Teacher is present this is also an opportunity for children to experience how to give and receive beneficial touch.
A snapshot of our daily Movement Circle. This was at the beginning of a new school year 2021 and so everyone is a little rusty, including me!
If you would like to try Educare Movement Circle for yourself, you can try the basics right now.
In this video Sue Merry - who devised Educare Movement Circle in 1997 - leads you through the foundational movements.
At Educare Small School we use a unique activity, devised by Sue Merry, called Lazy Labyrinths. This video gives an overview of what Lazy Labyrinths are and why we use them. It includes a demonstration that will teach you how to work with Lazy Labyrinths.
Below is our recommended programme for introducing and integrating TRL into any primary school.
The programme is very flexible and can be adjusted to suit your school and the teacher who is delivering it.
An Alexander Technique (AT) Teacher will introduce The Ready List to teaching staff.
During this session everyone will have the opportunity to experience how it feels to practice TRL, with guidance and some hands-on work from a trained professional.
The language and approach that will be used with the children will also be introduced here.
This session can be adjusted to fit into whatever time is available. This is something you can discuss with your AT Teacher.
A short session, no longer than 30 minutes, ideally with one class at a time. Certainly not with the whole school at once!
Your school can decide if you want to introduce TRL to the whole school straight away or maybe just start with a few classes, or even just one class.
Initially your AT Teacher will use a combination of stories and games to create a shared language and experience with the children. Very little 'hands-on' work is usually required with young children. This is the thing that makes introducing TRL to this age-group so simple. Once they understand in their bodies what is meant by 'soft & tall' they are mostly able to switch this on for themselves. This also means that much of TRL work can be carried on when an AT Teacher is not present.
At this session the children will start to learn how to embody the principles of TRL.
Possibly using the usual PE slot, you will be offered a follow-up on this session fairly soon, with a session of fun and games. Here children will be able to further explore, embody and practice TRL.
The next session will take place in the classroom. Here your AT Teacher can focus on how the children are experiencing the classroom environment. Particular emphasis will be on the use of the classroom furniture while practicing graphomotor skills.
Everyone (this includes teachers) will be introduced to using TRL in the classroom.
Various practices will be offered up and explained. The classroom teachers can then decide if they would like to employ any of these practices. For example: Using Lazy Labyrinths, stopping children at the door on their way into the classroom.
Your school might want to adopt these practices. Hopefully you might want to make them part of the school day.
If they have not been introduced to staff already as a part of the initial training then you will be offered another staff training session. Alternatively these practices can simply be introduced to the school as a whole.
There is more information about them on this website.
Once TRL is being practiced at your school you can then choose how to proceed regarding further support and development. Every school will be different and you can discuss your needs with your chosen AT Teacher.
Not every AT Teacher wants to work in Primary Education. We run occasional international training courses for Alexander professionals who want to develop their skills in relation to working with young children.
www.thedevelopingself.net for more information.
Also there are other experienced AT teachers working in primary education now.
If you get in touch with us we can try and find an enthusiastic AT teacher in your area.
Alternatively you can use the UK STAT website or Google to find the directory of professional AT teachers in your part of the world.
Please add your school to this list!
The Ready List
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