There are 15 lessons in our MindUp curriculum. During our first lesson we learnt all about three important parts of the brain - the pre frontal cortex (PFC), the hippocampus and the amygdala. We learnt that the PFC is usually in charge of our brain. This is what helps us to think, feel, learn and make good decisions. We said this was like a wise owl. The hippocampus is where memories are stored and made. We said this was like an elephant because elephants never forget! The amygdala is what helps to protect us from threats, this is the part of the brain that controls our fight/flight/freeze/faint reflexes. This is like a guard dog. During our lesson we learnt all about how these three parts of our brain work together and how to keep our PFC in charge so we can think, stay calm and learn.
Some of us have started exploring our new MindUp area. This is a safe place we can go if we need to calm our amygdala down. We love the resources in this area and enjoyed finding out what we will be able to use if we find ourselves upset or anxious in the future.
In one lesson, we looked at the relationship between our brain break and what is happening inside our brains. We learned about neuroplasticity and that we can create new paths in our brain. We also learned that doing our brain break is like exercise for our brains, it trains us to allow our PFC to stay in charge and pause before we decide how to react. It keeps our guard dogs (amygdala) calm!
One of the children led us in our Brain Break. We love how our Brain Break makes us feel. We always feel calmer and more ready to learn afterwards.
In our last few lessons we have been learning how to be more mindful. We have done mindful listening and smelling. Now we have also done mindful,tasting. We had to really think about what we were eating. We held and touched a piece of food before smelling it. We closed our eyes and placed the food on our tongues - no chewing yet! Then we rolled the food wound our mouths, thinking of the flavour and the texture before chewing and swallowing. We did this with several small pieces of food. We could really feel the difference in experiencing our food in this way. Many children said they would like to make an effort to do this with the first and last bite of their food each mealtime!
You can use this video to have your own brain break at home.