Inspiring Learning, Lifting My MindUP Higher!
By Rachel Bailey, Training and Schools Partnership Lead
I have been part of the MindUP UK team now for 7 years, and I’m always excited to work with new groups, be it through our whole-school training model, training staff new to our MindUP schools, MindUP parent workshops or facilitating focus groups with pupils.
One of the most fulfilling MindUP projects I have been working on recently has been training a group of amazing, dedicated and passionate school leaders on our exciting new course, ‘MindUP for Senior Leaders,’ currently being piloted. This course is designed to equip senior leadership teams with the skills, knowledge, and understanding needed to take a strategic approach to embed MindUP across their school learning environment.
MindUP for Senior Leaders Pilot Course
It has been an absolute privilege to work with this cohort of 17 leaders who have, without exception, truly inspired me with their enthusiasm and commitment for learning, using our MindUP framework to shape sustainable mental health and emotional wellbeing priorities for their school communities.
We are two months into the course and already the training has enabled school leaders to return to their schools and confidently deliver training in Neuroscience and Mindful Awareness to their staff. In addition, leaders have implemented school-wide pupil learning and practices using the MindUP curriculum guides and digital resources.
One headteacher couldn’t wait to share with us that their teachers had been grabbing them all day, excitedly sharing their experiences and their genuine eagerness to teach the MindUP lessons and embed practices into everything they do: “I’m just so pleased we were able to take part in this project. It’s really uplifting!”
We are not just taking their word for it though, 94% of all school staff surveyed after their first training reported that their knowledge in Neuroscience and Mindful Awareness improved, and 93% reported that the workshops prepared them to start teaching the lessons and applying MindUP practices. This is fantastic reassurance that great outcomes are being achieved from the training being delivered by our leaders back in their own schools.
We hear from the leaders that their staff and pupils are already benefiting from the mindful practices. One school shared that staff were keen to start introducing the Brain Breaks as soon as they’d had their training. On top of all the usual feedback from children about Brain Breaks helping them to feel calm, happy, and ready to learn, one pupil commented to their teacher: “taking a Brain Break is like having a warm bath but without the water”.
Another headteacher shared how children and staff in their school LOVE the Brain Breaks right across the school, from Nursery to Year 6. Some children are already teaching family members at home about their brains: “The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain we use to do our learning,” a Year 5 pupil was overheard saying to their parent/carer as they were leaving school.
Very shortly after launching MindUP in their school, one leader received the ‘Ofsted call’, and during their inspection, MindUP was observed in action. In the words of the school, “they loved it!” What a wonderful endorsement of the impact MindUP can have school-wide in such a short space of time.
Creating Future MindUP Pioneers
Having trained a diverse range of teachers, support staff and parents over the years, I am always impressed by the difference MindUP makes in our schools. Now, my inspiration has been lifted to another level, by observing how our successful pioneers are leading MindUP in their own schools.
In a short space of time, this cohort of leaders have become a very connected and supportive group, and in the current climate I am extremely grateful for our next training day, now a virtual experience, which will focus on Positive Psychology and Social Emotional learning (SEL). The theory and strategies the school leaders will learn during this next stage of the course will help to boost their perspective-taking and empathy, happiness, optimism, kindness and gratitude… Very timely for all of us during this challenging time. I can’t wait!
We aim for this course to be available to school senior leaders across the country from 2020/21. Please register your interest and we will contact you when the full course becomes available. Also, keep an eye on our blog and follow our social media channels (@MindUPUK) to keep updated.