The MindUP curriculum is derived from psychological theory and informed by research in the fields of developmental neuroscience, contemplative science and mindfulness, social emotional learning, and positive psychology. MindUP consists of 15 lessons taught approximately once a week, a typical lesson lasts 40-50 mins, in early years MindUP sessions are shorter. The core mindfulness practice, the Brain Break, is practised 3 times a day for 3 minutes consisting of focusing on one’s breathing and attentive listening to a single resonant sound.
The curriculum includes lessons that promote executive functions and self-regulation (e.g. mindful smelling, mindful tasting), social and emotional understanding (e.g. using literature to promote perspective-taking skills and empathy), and positive mood (e.g. learning optimism, practising gratitude). These activities are aimed at changing the ecology of the classroom environment to one in which belonging, caring, collaboration and understanding others is emphasized to create a positive classroom culture.
Also incorporated in the MindUP model is an eco-behavioural systems approach in which teachers generalise the curriculum-based skills throughout the school day and support children’s use and internalisation of skills to support a positive classroom environment.
The Collaborative for Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning (CASEL), the premier association of social and emotional learning, has identified MindUP as one of 23 of CASEL SEL-ect programmes for primary schools.
Teaching children to focus on and control their breathing can help them become less reactive and more reflective when feeling anxious or stressed. The more controlled breathing is practised, the more self-managed and mindful they can become.
The sequence of the 4 units and the 15 Lessons are designed to enable the whole-school to implement the programme together. All children from early years foundation stage to key stage 3 are taught the same knowledge, skills and practices at an age-appropriate level. This creates a school-wide learning experience with a shared language, practices and experiences. MindUP is not a set of strategies to teach in isolation, the intention is for MindUP to become an integral part of the classroom, school and home life.
The curriculum builds skills sequentially across lessons and year groups. Each lesson is crafted to reinforce knowledge and understanding of the brain and how this applies to learning across the curriculum and beyond the classroom. Once the MindUP lessons are taught, teachers then apply the learning to the wider curriculum to further embed and consolidate knowledge, skills and understanding.
SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING
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