In the Business of Human Development
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In the Business of Human Development



Presentation given on May 13, 2014 at the Kay Meek Centre prior to Dr. Leonard Sax.

Presentation given on May 13, 2014 at the Kay Meek Centre prior to Dr. Leonard Sax.



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  • Early brain development involves a complex dance of genetic and environmental events that interact to adapt the brain to fit a particular environmental context. Development represents more than a simple unfolding of genetic blueprint. How do we GROW BRAINS???
  • In turn, these three capacities provide a foundation for many of the activities that support later child development such a making friendships, going to school and learning how to cope with stressful situations.
  • Sensory Regulation is the resource for learning. If arousal levels are too high or too low then you may not have the resources to pay attention.We all strive to be calmly focused and alert because we have the most resources to allocate to attending.
  • When we are happy and engaged in activities that we find pleasurable (everything from painting to playing), our brain is flush with dopamine, a neurotransmitter that also helps lubricate our information filter and rev up high power thinking in our prefrontal cortex. Dopamine helps get our brains ready for peak performance. The dopamine pleasure surge is highest when students are fully engaged with their learning and brimming with positive feelings such as OPTIMISM, HOPE, GRATITUDE & AN OVERALL SENSE OF WELL-BEING.
  • Renewed curriculum and assessment supports the development of deeper learning by:focusing less on imparting facts and information-based details and more on the big ideas, concepts and content, and competencies that students need to succeed in their education and their lives considering literacy and numeracy as essential for deeper learning in all years of schooling considering all areas of learning to be important to the growth of deeper learning and to the development of educated citizens providing consistency in curriculum structures so that the “horizontal connectedness” or connections within an area of learning are evident as are those ideas that transfer across areas of learning and to the real world

In the Business of Human Development In the Business of Human Development Presentation Transcript

  • The Early Years Matter The biological 'code' of success in life is built by all the sounds, sights, touches, thoughts and emotional interactions that children experience in their first few years (Clyde Hertzman).
  • But what we are really doing is human development . No where has there been greater understanding and clarity over the last several years than in this work of human development.
  • Cognitive, social and emotional capacities are inextricably intertwined; to focus on any one requires consideration of all three. (AB Family Wellness, 2013)
  • The development of these three capacities occurs largely in the frontal lobe of the brain, and relies on the interrelated neural circuits to function properly throughout the life course. (AB Family Wellness, 2013)
  • Grad Rate about 98% More than 80% of students going to post- secondary In the 100th percentile on all provincial assessments
  • It is about smart AND caring As we approach our country’s 150th birthday, Canada’s Governor General, the Right Honourable David Johnston, has challenged Canadians to imagine our country as it could be – a smart and caring nation that holds promise for all.
  • Kids Today compared with 5 years ago: • Make better decisions • Drink less alcohol and using fewer drugs • Feel safer at school • And also need more sleep and feel stressed
  • THE FIVE DOMAINS OF SELF-REGULATION (Stuart Shanker’s model) 13
  • Infancy Mastery over sensory functions. Regulation is provided by caregiver - predictability/stability Toddler Beginning to participate in managing their responses School age Increasing autonomy to manage within institutions Teen Self-regulation is devolved within institutions/society
  • (A. Diamond, 2009) School activities that give rise to the pleasure surge & prompt the release of dopamine include: • Participating in acts of kindness • Collaborating with peers • Making choices & solving problems • Engaging in physical activities such as sports, dance and play • Enjoying creative efforts and disciplines such as music, art, drama, storytelling and reading. MindUp Curriculum, 2011
  • Parents are part of the process not just observers of the polished product
  • Deeper learning happens when students use what they know to solve problems, make decisions, and inquire into real- world issues.
  • Thank you for coming – to support your children, and our community’s children – we want the best for all young people in our community