Primary Students Learn How to ‘Grow Your Mind’ at Flinders

Primary School students from Prep right through to Year 6 at Matthew Flinders Anglican College are getting to know their Wise Owl, Elephant, Sifting Sooty, Sensitive Octopus and Guard Dog - animals that represent key areas of the brain and can help them to build social and emotional wellbeing. 

It’s all part of the award-winning Grow Your Mind (GYM) program, which is being taught at Flinders as part of the College’s commitment to student wellbeing

The GYM program is based on four pillars of research: positive psychology; social and emotional learning; public health; and neuroscience. 

Launched in Term 1 at Flinders, the program is being explored through song, dance, dramatisation and quizzes at the Junior Primary and Senior Primary assemblies.

Parents have also been invited to learn about GYM, with students in Years 3 and 5 this week welcoming their special guests into the classroom for parent engagement sessions during their weekly Wellbeing lesson.

GYM lessons are playful, innovative and age-appropriate, and explore five core wellbeing themes: 
  1. Brain Health
  2. Emotional Regulation
  3. Friendships + Belonging
  4. Resilience + Character Strengths
  5. Gratitude + Joy

Mrs Trudi Edwards, the Flinders Head of Primary, said it was rewarding for staff to guide students in becoming experts in brain awareness and emotional regulation. 

“Grow Your Mind lessons and resources will help our students to be confident in growing healthy minds and dispositions," Trudi said.

"It will also equip them with powerful social and emotional strategies and skills. 

“These skills will help in all areas of their lives: their ability to focus academically, to persist in learning and hobbies, to seek joy, to feel safe, to care about others and to make wise and kind decisions.

“GYM skills and strategies will also be woven through our new bespoke Play & Prosper initiative at lunchtimes, which enables our students to engage in slightly more structured play activities, supervised by staff. 

“Play & Prosper aims to support the development of collaboration, healthy friendships, sportsmanship, conflict resolution, resilience, persistence and other core social and emotional competencies.” 

Meet the Grow Your Mind characters

The characters are animals that represent key areas of the brain, giving children the language for brain awareness to support their social, emotional and mental wellbeing.

  • The Guard Dog is your amygdala. If it senses danger it helps you to fight, freeze or flee. 
  • The Wise Owl is your prefrontal cortex. It helps you make good decisions and problem solve. 
  • The Sifting Sooty is your RAS which stands for Reticular Activating System. It helps us to focus. 
  • The Elephant is your hippocampus, it helps us lock in information and store memories. 
  • The Sensitive Octopus is your insular cortex. It helps you to understand your own and other people’s feelings and to be a good friend. 

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