Victoria Munroe, MA arrived at Therapro on Saturday morning, January 16th as a breath of fresh air from Amherst, Massachusetts where she is an innovative 1st grade teacher within an inclusion model. Her Saturday seminar on January 16th entitled: Regulation in the Classroom from an Educator’s Perspective, was presented to a rapt audience of educators, occupational therapists, and parents. In addition to being a dedicated teacher, Victoria is a certified Positive Discipline Trainer and Parent Educator, which is an approach to discipline that teaches children positive skills such as “problem solving, relationship building, communication, cooperation, respect, and responsibility.”
The attendees were treated to a virtual tour of Victoria’s classroom where we experienced close-ups of a typical day. Specialized activity areas included classroom sensorimotor stations, areas for regulation driven by Brain Gym, Alert Program, Drive Thru Menus, and Zones of Regulation, and spaces for class meetings and lessons. Victoria’s classroom “Peace Corner” holds many sensory materials including a variety of fidgets to help children return to the “Green Zone” of calm and readiness for learning. This classroom provides a nurturing, positive learning environment with built-in supports when a child becomes dysregulated and needs a place to regain control with the goal of remaining in control.
The expectation is for children to transition through activities in Victoria’s classroom, learning successful strategies along the way. Multisensory techniques are utilized to achieve structure throughout the day. These techniques are based on Core values of Victoria’s school, identified by the acronym STAR; Safety, Try My Best, Act Responsibly, and Respect. She demonstrated strategies she uses to help her students with developing executive function skills to help them be better organized and ready for an activity. She suggested something as easy as using photographs as a visual reminder to check if a task has been completed as expected.
A highlight of the morning was getting a roomful of adults standing up and moving to energizing music from GoNoodle.com that encouraged us to “Get Your Body Movin’ and “pull it, push it, dip it” with a catchy beat that you couldn’t ignore. Victoria uses activities like this for helping her class move, focus, and become alert in order to channel their energy productively. As a result, her students are engaged and ready to learn!
Here are some of the comments made by attendees who were inspired by Victoria’s presentation:
“Amazing techniques for regulating behavior for all children. I would love to be a student in Victoria’s class! Laura E., Teacher
“It is about a dedicated, experienced 1st grade teacher that is sharing her tools used & implemented with caring and love.” Anonymous, Occupational Therapist
“Interactive, inspiring, and pragmatic strategies for student success.” Sarah S., Occupational Therapist
“Helpful strategies to help OTs work with teachers. Good to get teacher’s perspective and how they can use self-regulation strategies in the classroom.” Stacey F., Occupational Therapist
“Great job explaining what she does and why. Very rich detail so it comes alive.” Anonymous, Teacher
Thank you, Victoria!
Filomena Connor, MS, OTR/L