Since the beginning of Term 1, I have had the privilege to work with the children in Junior School and talk to them about MindUp. MindUp is a comprehensive, classroom tested, evidence-based curriculum that fosters social and emotional awareness, enhances psychological wellbeing, and promotes academic success.
The essential work of MindUp is accomplished through the lessons, which include the repetition of deep belly breathing (Core Practice) and attentive listening. This Core Practice makes mindful attention the foundation for learning and interacting.
MindUp has the capacity to alter the landscape of our classroom by letting children in on the workings of their own agile minds. Each MindUp lesson begins with background information of the brain, introducing a specific area of concentration with an activity where children can see concrete examples of how their brain functions.
MindUp is dedicated to the belief that the child who learns to monitor his or her senses and feelings becomes more aware and better understands how to respond to the world reflectively instead of reactively.
‘MindUp makes my brain happy, so I can learn better’. David, Year 1
How our Brains Work
What’s so important about our Brains?
Our Brain can serve as a map for showing us how we learn and why we behave the way we do. Neuroscience provides a wealth of information that can help us and our children become better thinkers and healthier people.
Why introduce children to Brain Research?
Children are fascinated by facts about their brains. Sharing scientific information about how the brain processes information and is wired to react under stress is a great way to introduce a challenge to your children.
How can we learn to react differently, helping our brain make wise/safe choices about our words and actions?
As children become more familiar with three key parts of the brain involved in thinking and learning, they’ll begin to understand how their feelings arise – and that they have the ability to change what they do in response. This understanding lays the groundwork for them to monitor and regulate their behaviour by calming themselves in the face of anxiety, focusing their attention and taking control of their learning.
What the children have learnt?
The children know the names of the three parts of their brain and their function: the prefrontal cortex (wise leader), the hippocampus (memory saver) and the amygdala (security guard). Modelling their brain with their two fists not only gives children a sense of the size of their brain, but the activity also makes them more curious. The children begin thinking about their brain and asking all sorts of questions. Using nicknames for parts of their brain allows us to talk about them in a meaningful way.
Recently we have also been talking about what is mindful and what is unmindful. I trust the students’ work will illustrate how they are enjoying their learning and gaining deep meaning
Mrs Melanie Woods
Head of Junior School