Neuroplasticity – learning about the brain early in life.

Here’s a little media release – IIOY is up to some exciting brainy stuff – making mini Amygdalas (amygdali) – helping to keep those little almond shaped group of nuclei calm…

image courtesy of Scholastic

–    image courtesy of Scholastic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The brain is amazing – it’s plastic! Neuroplasticity refers to the brains ability to change itself in response to the environment and to learn from experience. The brain is the only organ able to do this. Our emotional state early in life, affects the way our brain develops. All experiences, good and not so good, shape the structure of the brain. The early years of life are a critical time for brain development.

Bunbury-based community group Investing In Our Youth is excited to be bringing MindUP™ to the South West. MindUP™ is an evidence based classroom curriculum that fosters social and emotional awareness, enriches psychological well-being and promotes academic success. Through the MindUP™ curriculum, children learn about their brains and how different parts of their brains function and how this affects their behaviour.

Youth Mental Health Development Officer Louise Fischer, says that by learning about how the brain operates we learn how this affects our emotions and therefore our behaviour.

“MindUP™ gives children a deeper understanding of how the brain processes information,” Ms Fischer said. “Parents and teachers learn about their brains too.”

MindUP™ is a great way in which children, aged from pre-primary through to around 14 years, can learn to regulate their emotions and research shows this knowledge will be sustained into adulthood.

“Children at very young ages can suffer from stress and anxiety. MindUP™ offers children a way to learn about their emotions and how to tame them,” Ms Fischer said.

A new Child and Parent Centre is being built in Carey Park and is due for completion next year. Child and Parent Centres are a State Government initiative. The Child and Parent Centre Carey Park is run by Investing In Our Youth in partnership with Carey Park Primary School.

Coordinator of the Centre Annette Owen says that “MindUP™ is also about learning emotional regulation through the practice of ‘mindful attention’ – which is learning about your senses.”

“Evidence suggests, MindUP™ teaches children to think about their feelings before reacting in any given situation,” Mrs Owen said.

Shaping Brains Project Manager Sheryl Batchelor, from the charity the Benevolent Society in QLD, will be conducting training for teachers in the South West at the end of January next year. Any teachers interested in registering an interest in the MindUP™ training for 2014 should email Annette.Owen@iinet.net.au for more information.

If you would like to see Investing In Our Youth demonstrate some of the MindUP™ activities and want to learn a little more about your brain – see Annette and Louise on October 9 at Paisley Square in Bunbury where they are taking part in Mental Health Week celebrations.

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