More than 150 Geraldton parents and educators received fascinating insights into the latest research on stimulating their children’s brain growth at the ‘Preparing Children and Teens for the 21st Century’ presentation in Geraldton on June 1st.
A group of progressive Geraldton teachers, supported by Scinapse, organised for US neurologist Dr Judy Willis to visit Geraldton to conduct a presentation on how parents and teachers can promote positive brain development in their children.
Scinapse Chair Emma Jackson said the talk provided an intriguing insight into the inner workings of the brain and how we can help children develop the executive functions so highly valued by employers of today, such as critical analysis and decision-making skills.
“Dr Willis explained how the prefrontal cortex controls the executive functions and how this is the last part of the brain to ‘mature’,” Ms Jackson said.
“Children aren’t born with executive functions, just the potential to develop them. Parents and teacher can help children build strong executive function networks by activating them when they are most responsive – in their primary years to their early teens.
“One of the strategies to do this is to allow children to make their own decisions and judgment. As a parent, the best and probably hardest way to support this is through active listening and only offering an opinion when asked.”
Attendees provided overwhelming positive feedback on the event, describing it as “eye opening”, an “excellent opportunity for Geraldton”, “interesting and amusing” and “amazing.”
They reported having gained practical ideas on what they could do at home or in the classroom to help their children thrive, with an emphasis on “active listening, “no more multitasking while listening”, and “stepping back from questioning a child and allowing them to have an opinion and thought process.”
They also learned that “skills and intelligence are infinite, and new neural connections are possible at any time.”
This event was part of an initiative of the Mount Tarcoola Primary School Neurology in Education Group, auspiced by John Willcock College and Geraldton Senior College P&C.
Funding support was provided through the State Government’s Royalties for Regions Community Chest Fund and the Mid West Development Commission.
Sponsor support included Scinapse, Inspiring Australia, Western Australian Centre for Rural Health, John Willock College, Geraldton Senior College, Allendale Primary School, Western Australian Public Health Alliance, Geraldton Universities Centre, Geraldton Grammar School, Child and Parent Centre Rangeway, Ian Blayney MLC, Ocean Centre Hotel.