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OK, prepare yourself, because your first question will be, “Where was this when I was in school?” Especially if some version of “sit still and pay attention” was the motto. The Alert Program® disagrees. It teaches that the brain was never designed to focus without body movement or sensory “brain breaks.” Take Five! Staying Alert at Home and School is permission to take a break, figure out what little quirks and tricks help you get into a learning state of mind, and know what revs you up or what settles you back down. It’s a personal “you manual” based on the internationally known Alert Program®.

The “five” refers to maybe a five-minute break. Or a 50-minute break. Even a five-week vacation! First you learn what you need and when you need it. “Five” also refers to the five sensory avenues that lead that part of you that hums along inside you all day, sometimes dragging, sometimes racing, sometimes ready to do what needs doing. We call those alert levels high, low and just right. And those avenues are mouth, move, touch, look and listen.

Take Five! takes a fun look at each sensory avenue to support optimal alert levels. Putting something in your mouth, be it gum or a straw or a kazoo or a toothpick – anything clean – is wonderfully calming and focusing for a lot of people. Others need sound — soft music, rock music, rhythmic drumming, or the sound of rain or ocean waves. Still others need to do something physical before they do something mental. All avenues lead to self-regulation.

After a chapter on theory written in layman’s language, you’ll find five chapters (five sensory avenues) that offer home- and classroom-friendly activities to teach children to be alert, focused, and attentive. You’ll learn simple exercises to do in a chair or against a wall. And you’ll find a world of support you never knew existed.

Take Five! is 75 pages of learning, support, creativity, empathy and fun where once there was nothing but an expectation that everyone should just sit still. Now you’ll have a whole book full of options to support self-regulation.