We have embarked on an exciting journey within our schools. Our goal is to increase self regulation amongst our students so they have the capacity to recognize and take control of their emotions and actions. We want to equip children with the tools they need to be mindful and aware of themselves and others.
This journey has started with the MindUP program. The first lesson got our kids from kindergarten to grade 7 learning about their brains, specifically the limbic system which controls our thoughts and emotions. The three parts we learnt:
Prefrontal cortex: ‘our leader’ right in the front of our brain.
It is in charge of making decisions, thinking, learning and problem solving.
Amygdala: our ‘security guard’ that warns our body of
danger and stress to protect us.
Hippocampus: our memory saver or our filling cabinet
that stores all of our experiences and everything we learn.
How does this help us understand our thoughts and emotions?
When we are in a calm and safe state, our amygdala can communicate with the ‘leader’ part of our brain to make good decisions. When we are in a negative emotional state where we feel stressed, anxious, or fearful, the amygdala fires to warn us (our fight, flight, freeze response) and cannot communicate with our ‘leader’ part of our brain for clear decision making.
We can train our brains to respond reflectively rather than reactively. By developing this awareness of what is going on in our brains, we can learn ways to calm our amygdalae so that we can reason and think clearly to make better decisions.
We will spend the weeks to come learning about how we can do this!