If you're the parent of a student at Bellview or Walker elementary schools, your kid may know more about neuroscience than you do. What's more, your child likely has learned some techniques for achieving focused attention and improving social skills at the same time.
The program, called MindUp, was developed by the Hawn Foundation, founded by actress Goldie Hawn in 2003. The techniques have been implemented around the world, and research studies have shown MindUp has positive benefits for student performance and behavior.
Bellview started the program as a pilot with last year's third-graders, and principal Christine McCollom decided to expand it throughout the school this fall. It appears to be something the entire district could benefit from.
Ashland School Board members and Superintendent Kelly Raymond got a mind-on demonstration of the techniques during a recent board meeting, led by some Bellview fourth-graders. They also learned about the parts of the brain and what they do — the amygdala, the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex.
The exercises, which involve deep breathing techniques with eyes closed, help students focus. The lessons about brain functions clearly stayed with the Bellview fourth-graders who led the School Board session. The school's staff measured students' social and learning skills after last year's pilot and determined that MindUp had helped improve both.
Parents will learn about the program in March, and can use the techniques at home.
What parent wouldn't love a way to calm active offspring while improving mental focus and social skills?