History of ABL

Cindy and Jean met at a workshop for area physical education teachers near Cindy in Pennsylvania. They knew immediately that they were like-minded and very kid-oriented. Cindy invited Jean to Ephrata to do a workshop for all of the district teachers.

Jean and Cindy.During that visit, Cindy showed Jean the program that she had created that she named the Highland Elementary SMART Program. Amazingly, Jean had been working on a very similar program that she named the S.M.A.R.T. K.I.D.S. Lab. (Sensory Motor Academic Reinforcement Through Kinesthetic Instructional Differentiation Strategies).

Unknowingly, Jean and Cindy had developed almost exactly the same program. It was then that they decided to collaborate and mesh both programs together by taking the brain science that links early motor development with improved cognition, layering it with the National Standards for K-2 for Physical Education, and then adding the academic content for K-2 reading and math.

The Action Based Learning Lab is definitely a family affair, a real Mom and Pop operation, literally. Cindy and Jean included their husbands in the process. Larry Hess, a retired physics teacher, engineered and designed the Ladder and equipment. He also supervises the building of the Action Based Learning Ladder and First Steps Ladder which are made by an Amish family in Lancaster County.

The name of the Lab had to be changed to the Action Based Learning Lab after discovering that there are over 500 versions of the name SMART KIDS. There is even Smart Kids underwear! This presented a problem when trying to trademark or copyright. So the Action Based Learning Lab was born and introduced at the Pennsylvania AHPERD in December 2005. It is now in about 40 states and Canada and growing!