research has revealed alarming statistics in the area of mental health problems
in children, particularly primary students. As many as 1 in 7 are now
experiencing significant levels of anxiety and depressive illnesses. This confirming
that mental illness is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st
No brain in
human history has ever had to function in such a stimulated/sensory/information
and expectation dense lifestyle. Our brains are not designed for this way of life.
The influx of sensory and intellectual information is putting our brains into
crisis mode. Our children are suffering more than ever because their little brains
are in survival mode. The amygdala has become hyperactive and overstimulated,
resulting in huge levels of ANXIETY.At Our Lady
of the Way, we are devoted to the development of the whole child, therefore we
strongly believe in BRAIN CARE. Caring for our brain is now more important than
ever, it is imperative that this becomes a mainstream practice if we expect our
children to thrive and be successful within this modern lifestyle.We have a
dedicated Mindfulness Teacher at OLW who implements and delivers a
comprehensive social and emotional learning program taken from The Smiling Mind
Curriculum Manual, as well as sharing her own tips and tricks that have worked
for her in classrooms and her own family experiences over the past 15 years.
This explicit teaching enables our children to have the access to build skills
and strategies to care for their brain, allowing them to reach their potential
in all areas of their lives.
The ways we
teach children to care for their brains include:
Formal and informal mindfulness practices.
Knowledge is power. Teaching children from a young age how their brain works can encourage a deeper understanding of their thoughts and feelings, consequently building emotional intelligence.
Understanding the importance of tuning into your senses in order to slow life down. One way we teach this during our mindfulness lessons is by tuning into our sense of hearing by consciously listening to the vibrations/sounds of our Singing Bowl. The science behind this involves how the sound synchronises with brainwaves, enhancing awareness of the mind/body connection. It is said to entrain the brain to move into theta brain wave frequencies that induce deep peaceful states, creative thinking, clarity of the mind and intuition. The vibrations affect our nervous system engaging our relaxation reflex and inhibiting the stress or pain response. Our singing bowl is only a small part of the mindfulness lesson each week, but has proved already to be a significantly powerful tool to begin each lesson.
helping to make a plan and/or build a habit of
integrating mindfulness meditation into your life in some way.
yourself and recognising the importance of self-compassion in the prevention of
overwhelming thoughts and brain exhaustion.
Having a bank
of strategies and a process to follow when a melt down and overload does occur.
Having a plan for the tough times.
We now know
that the brain has the ability to create new neural pathways. Here at OLW we
want to educate children in brain care to ensure healthy habits are formed
early. Prevention being the key to activating the part of the brain associated
with happiness. Having a happy disposition then leads to more focussed
thinking, improved memory and attention and heightened performance and
achievement in all areas – including a positive outlook on life.