Dr Jennifer Cartmel is a senior lecturer in the School of Human Services and Social Work. She has been involved in a wide range of research projects within children’s services, most recently about children’s social and emotional learning and about intergenerational programs. Her fields of expertise include early childhood education and care, outside hours school care, work integrated learning, and policy, curriculum and practice in children’s services.
Meet your brain
Social and emotional skills are considered essential for success in school and throughout the life. Positive social and emotional skills have been linked to outcomes, including higher academic performance, healthy social relationships, and wellbeing and resilience. Social and emotional learning (SEL) involves the processes, practices and interventions by which children can acquire and build social and emotional skills and competencies they need to improve their relationships with others, academic achievement and overall wellbeing.
Meet Your Brain is an SEL learning program for primary aged children. It is intended to empower children through imparting knowledge, strategies and skill development for the promotion of wellbeing and resilience. The children participate in a structured set of activities that deepen their understanding of the components of the brain and how these components have physical and emotional connections that link to cognitive and affective growth. The program uses the focus of a common language and understanding about how the brain works.
This paper reports on the pilot of the program across a whole school and the responses made by the children. The evaluation pre- and post-measures were embedded into the program delivery. Children reported a deeper sense of self awareness and an understanding about how they could regulate the functioning of the brain in positive ways, including to help them to build positive relationships with family and peers and to engage in classroom learning activities.