What is the Extra Lesson?

The Extra Lesson was developed by Audrey McAllen in the 1970’s. She was a Waldorf teacher who wanted to help students who were struggling academically. After years of research, and trial and error, she brought her Extra Lesson exercises to her students, and had much success helping children to improve their academics. Those of us who have followed in Audrey’s footsteps have noticed, over the years, that emotional and behavioral challenges are also healed through the Extra Lesson work. Modern brain science has been catching up with what Audrey knew intuitively! What follows is my description of an Extra Lesson assessment, and the kinds of things that I am trained to look for, and to help remediate, through weekly sessions.

Childhood experiences in the early years are important as a foundation for the later development of intellectual, physical, and emotional capacities. The development of the senses of touch, balance, movement, and a sense of “well-being”, are at the root of the ability to develop these capacities. These four senses are the most basic foundation for one throughout his/her life. Providing a child with healthy touch, freedom of movement, a sense of rhythm, and proper nutrition and rest, all help to develop these senses. This lays a foundation for the development of skills that will be used throughout one’s life. Among these skills are the integration of the primitive reflexes, balance, bilateral integration and the establishment of dominances, body geography, and spatial orientation. Despite healthy early childhood experiences, we often see children who have a hindrance in one or more of these areas. Or, sometimes a child develops these skills, and then suffers a physical or emotional trauma which leads to the development of hindrances. The purpose of an Extra Lesson Assessment is to identify hindrances. We will then develop a lesson plan, based on the findings in the assessment, that will help to remediate any hindrances that we find. We will also give suggestions for activities that would be beneficial at home…

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