What is MindUP?

The Staff of SCN are implementing a programme, called MindUP this school year.

What is MindUP?

MindUP is a comprehensive, classroom-tested, evidence based curriculum framed around 15 lessons that:

  • foster social and emotional awareness
  • enhance psychological well-being and
  • promote academic success

The MindUP classroom is an optimistic classroom that promotes and develops mindful attention to oneself and others, tolerance of differences, and the capacity of each member of the community to grow as a human being and a learner.

How does MindUP work?

The essential work of MindUP is accomplished through the lessons themselves, which include the repetition of the core practice-deep belly breathing and attentive listening (known also as Brain Breaks). The core practice makes mindful attention the foundation for learning and interacting. Its is repeated for a few moments of each school day throughout the school year.

Take a look at some children from Mrs Murray’s Senior Infants practicing their daily ‘Brain Break’.

Each MindUP lesson begins with background information on the brain, introducing a specific area of concentration with an activity in which children can see concrete examples of how their brain functions. Learning about the parts of the brain and how they work helps children understand how their brains respond to stress and prepares them for creating a calm mindset for thoughtful decision making, led by the Prefrontal Cortex (the thinking part of the brain)

Meet the key players in the brain

The Amygdala regulates our emotional state by acting as the brain’s ‘security guard’, protecting us from threats. When a child is in a positive state, the amygdala sends incoming information to the thinking and reasoning brain. When a child is in a negative state (upset, stressed, fearful), the amygdala prevents the input from passing along, effectively blocking higher level thinking and reasoned thinking. At this stage, the amygdala will respond in one of three ways: fight, flight or freeze. In our school, we refer to the Amygdala as ‘Fluffy’, our protective and caring puppy.

The Hippocampus helps in managing our response to threats and to fear, and is a storage value of memory and learning. We refer to our Hippocampus as being like an Elephant as it has an impressive memory!

The last part of the brain is the Prefrontal Cortex or as we refer to it in SCN, our Wise Old Owl.  The PFC is the thinking, speaking, reasoning and learning part of the brain. This area of the brain controls our decision-making, focuses our attention, and allows us to learn to read, write, compute, analyse, predict, comprehend, and interpret.

Mrs Neylon introduced and spoke about the 3 parts of the brain to the school community each morning during Anti-Bullying Week Assembly.

 MindUp in Junior Infants by Ms Moloney

Over the past few weeks in Junior Infants we have been working hard at using our senses. We started with Mindful Smelling where we smelled different things and had to guess what they were – some smelled a lot nicer than others. We then went onto Mindful Tasting where we tasted things that were hard, soft, sweet and sour – this was lots of fun! Then came Mindful Touching were we played a ‘feely-bag’ game, followed by Mindful Seeing which involved a very tricky memory game and a spot the difference activity. We were lucky that we had a lovely sunny day for our Mindful Listenting walk. We went out into the yard and had a minute of silence and took note of all the sounds around us, we heard cars, birds, people talking and were even lucky enough to hear the Church bell ringing!

After all this busy work we had a look back at all our senses and how we used them and drew some pictures to show this! Take a look for yourself….

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