In August 2013, I was hired as an assistant activity leader for the Kid Zone Enrichment Program. Six months later, I was promoted to activity leader and put in charge of the kindergarten and first grade club room. My supervisor, Dylan Fitzpatrick, told me I was perfect for SOI and that I would love it. With learning the exercises, asking questions, and watching Dylan work with my kiddos, I finally got the hang of it! Dylan continued to support me, answer my questions, guide me every step of the way, and teach me as I thirsted for more.
At first I was extremely frustrated because I wanted the results to be instantaneous. This is a process that takes time because you can’t skip steps. With the correct training, plenty of patience, guidance, support, and plenty of question asking, I started to understand why I was told I was perfect for this program. It was amazing to watch the kids who used to complain every day change and gain so much self-control, strength, and confidence! The way they controlled themselves, interacted with each other, and interacted with me was becoming more consistent and evident to others. Over time and with hard work, these kids were finally able to stand in a line or queue without wiggling around or touching the person in front of them. Playing with their friends, interacting with staff, or even waiting in a queue or line was becoming more consistent, and I wasn’t the only one seeing the change.
The next school year brought more SOI training, new and returning kids, a new manager, a new supervisor, and greater challenge. I was far more confident with SOI; my club room was doing SOI four times per week every week. For 15-20 minutes at the beginning of every day, it became routine. After two months, the kids were able to do the arm exercises and form a line and queue without me being the leader. We set goals and created competitions. The kids would go above and beyond, nearly bringing me to tears!
If the kids didn’t want to participate, and since you can’t make them participate, they would either sit against the wall watching, or if they had SOI FS Primary workbooks, they would have the option to work on two pages of it. The SOI workbooks helped them to focus and helped their vision. They had to sit correctly in their chair, feet flat on the ground, and could only work on a couple pages.
Every day, I would have a few who would ask if they could do more because they loved doing the book! I would make sure to inform parents of what I was doing with their child. It was amazing to see these kids come to me saying, “Miss Alyssandra, can I do my book today please?” I loved hearing them be so excited!
As I continued forward, learning more about this amazing program, I helped informally train co-workers in SOI. When substituting at different schools, I would see kids struggling to behave. I would put kids on books, work with them, and train staff on how SOI works and what to look for.
As a future teacher, I still have so much learning ahead of me, but I do know I want to incorporate SOI into my classroom. I believe SOI will improve behavior, help with self-control, and be a positive aspect to my student’s overall learning. I feel that incorporating SOI into my classroom will help my students achieve their greatest potential! I can provide building blocks my kids will be able to use for the rest of their lives. SOI truly opened my eyes to how I was viewing, handling, and responding to the behavior of my kids in various situations. As an elementary education student at Northern Arizona University who plans to teach first or second grade, I am thankful for my training and experience with SOI. It opened my eyes and made me see kids in a whole new light.
written by: Alyssandra Sandoval