Janet de Witt
GIFTED, LEARNING STRATEGIES
Janet de Witt is an educator, Brain Gym® Instructor and Educational Kinesiologist. As a trained primary teacher she has worked at all levels of education, mostly in special education, and she is currently working as an RTLB part-time.

As a Brain Gym Instructor, she has taught Brain Gym movements to hundreds of educators who use the movements to focus their students and increase learning readiness. Her one-to-one work as a registered practitioner in Educational Kinesiology involves working with Body / Brain Integration which can include developmental work with children with a wide range of ages and abilities ( e.g. ASD, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia) . She is particularly interested in using Educational Kinesiology, Brain Gym and developmental movements to integrate retained primitive reflex movements which can disrupt motor development and the development of some academic skills such as reading and writing.

Janet has taught Brain Gym Movements since 1993 at teacher's centres in and around Auckland and further afield. In the 1990s she taught Rapid Reading courses to Adults and she has also been an ESOL Tutor at Northcote College (Community Education).


Workshops on offer from Janet:

INTRODUCTION TO BRAIN GYM Full day

Target Group : Teachers /teacher assistants, Special Needs Teachers, RTLBs working with students from Primary through to Secondary.

Brain Gym brings movement back to the classroom. Neuroscience tells us that the brain and the body need to work together for lasting learning to occur. In this introductory course you learn the 26 simple movements that can be used in the classroom to promote learning readiness and increase focus. Brain Gym is a tool to integrate into any learning situations and can be adapted for younger children or children with special needs. It is fun to do to music as an energiser or movement break . Teachers will learn a sequence called PACE to start off their day .
Outcomes when using the Brain Gym movements can include:
1. Increased confidence;
2. Improved focus and attention;
3. Improved whole body or fine motor coordination either individually or classwide;
4. Strategies to settle and relax the class.
This course is the first step in the International Training for Brain Gym.

BRAIN GYM WORKSHOP FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD Half day

Target Group : Early Childhood Teachers, Kohanga Reo educators.

Brain Gym movements link the development of early physical skills to subsequent coordination and academic learning skills. Neuroscience tells us that the brain and the body need to work together for children to reach their potential. Simple brain Gym movements can be used with pre-schoolers to develop learning readiness. Some of the Brain Gym movements need to be adapted for young children but can easily be done passively or incorporated with knowledge into existing movement and music programmes.
Course will cover:
1. PACE: a 5 min readiness routine;
2. Brain Gym movements to develop midline skills, including whole body coordination and eye hand coordination;
3. Adaptations and fun music and movement ideas using Brain Gym movements;
4. Overview of developmental levels and skills needed for academic learning;
5. Overview of what to look for and some ideas for remediation of delayed development.

WHY AREN’T THEY LEARNING LIKE THE OTHERS? Half day

Target Group : Teachers, especially beginning teachers, of primary students.

A short course to consider the wide range of factors behind low work production, lack of focus, difficulty following instructions and learning and behaviour problems. Classroom strategies to include less able learners.
Learning outcomes include:
1. Overview of factors that contributes to difficulties with learning in a classroom environment;
2. Ecological factors of classroom learning climate including teaching practice and the physical and environmental factors that promote learning;
3. A checklist for starter: are the students ready? Use Brain Gym movements, relaxation techniques, visual overview/ student /student interaction to prepare;
4. Giving instructions: why don’t some children remember what they have to do?
5. Adapting the curriculum: what and how?
6. Teaching models that are inclusive of less able learners;
7. Some management strategies for increasing work output and success;
8. Behaviour strategies;
9. Set up an effective strategy for a child in your class – problem solve.


TEACHING OF HANDWRITING Half day, or 1.5 hour staff meeting in condensed form

Target Group: Primary school teachers (including beginning teachers) who need some more training around handwriting and want to know what to do with students who are struggling at all levels.

An overview course with a special focus on the developmental and remediation aspects, class and group strategies to improve fine motor coordination with adaptations for early writers.

Learning outcomes include:
1. Overview of what to teach: school policy, cursive script, handwriting checklist, criteria for assessment, pencil grip;
2. Teaching Handwriting in the juniors. The Magic Caterpillar handwriting story;
3. Developmental issues around handwriting;
4. Middle and Senior school handwriting. Handwriting checklist. Remedial handwriting;
5. Recognising when students need extra help or adaptations – visual and fine motor considerations;
6. When to refer a student on;
7. Fun activities to do as pre-writing exercises e.g. Brain Gym for writing, Pencil Aerobics;

Reference : Teaching Handwriting MOE , 1995 ( Available in most schools ).








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