I am teaching new classes for kids using "Mind Up". Mind Up is an evidenced based, social and emotional program of The Hawn Foundation built upon neuroscience, positive psychology, and mindful awareness training. The “Mind Up” curriculum uses research-based lessons with the latest information about the brain to improve behavior and learning. It is shown to enhance perspective taking, empathy and kindness as well as fostering complex problem solving skills.
As I teach my classes I will post lessons/thoughts as I go along. Thus those who are interested can learn as the kids in my classes learn.People can buy the "Mind Up" manuals on Amazon. There are three different manuals written for different age groups. They are the same lessons—just adapted for age groups. All manuals are under $20.00.
Our first lesson covered how the brain works. Of course in my class I brought in a cauliflower head to demonstrate the brain. Also a poster of the brain. Here is the information:
AMYGDALA: Feeling frightened? Upset? The Amygdala is on alert! It regulates and blocks information from going to your prefrontal cortex (PFC), so you can react in a flash. When you feel safe and happy, the Amygdala will pass information on to the PFC so you can think.
PREFRONTAL CORTEX: The prefrontal Cortex uses important information to focus, decide, compute and analyze, and reason. Here’s the catch: the PFC gets information only when the amygdala is calm. Then it passes on to the hippocampus any info worth remembering.
HIPPOCAMPUS: The hippocampus creates, stores and processes all important facts and memories the PFC passes on to it—such as birthdays, your friends e-mail , addresses and the brisk salty smell of the ocean.
Breathing: Anytime you’re stressed out, breathing can come to the rescue. Deep full breathing calms your amygdala and helps you think and remember clearly.
What can we learn from this? When we are stressed we go into a flight, fright or flight mode and it is hard to reason and learn, thus we have to calm our brain down enough so the prefrontal cortex can take over and ‘reason’. We are hoping that each kid taking “Mind Up” will learn a few strategies that will work for them to calm down the amygdala so their prefrontal cortex can reason and learn better.
The students looked at a diagram of the brain, got to take home brain erasers and looked at a bottle with sand in it.representing our brain when we are frustrated. This shows that when we are ‘shaken’ or surprised or stressed it is like this bottle getting shaken. Then we need to calm down (watch the items clear up) before thinking clearly and make important decisions. We need to figure out ways to calm our ‘amygdala’ down.
I am a mother of 3. I have a passion for helping kids feel comfortable in their 'own skin'.