Friday, February 15th marked the end of a pretty manic week at IPS as we succumbed to winter weather and declared a “Snow Day” on Tuesday and followed that with an incredible Science Fair and Open House on Wednesday. By the time Friday rolled around the IPS teaching ranks were ready to be inspired and energized at the ISABC Professional Development Day at York House School. The opening Keynote was delivered by Terry Small, of The Terry Small Learning Institute, and was entitled HEALTHY BRAIN, HEALTHY WORKPLACE, HEALTHY LIFE: The role of your brain in a healthy workplace. Terry reminded us that brain dysfunction is the #1 reason people fail work, school, and relationships. Our brain is the supercomputer that runs our life and we need to take care of it!

Here are 10 of the many points that Terry raised during his presentation:

  1. We need to get kids standing more – IPS recently ordered two sit to stand desks for each of our classrooms.
  2. New knowledge = new brain growth. Every time we expose ourselves or our students to new knowledge, they are creating new brain networks and neural pathways.
  3. Effort is more important than answer. The students who struggle in any given class are still building their brains. Knowing all the answers is not the answer. Struggle, challenge and failure are so important to brain development.
  4. Pay attention to your brain like you pay attention to the weather. Not everyday will be the same.
  5. Walnuts are the #1 brain food
  6. “Mess” in our lives is what keeps us “alive”
  7. Brains are very elastic – it is never too late to learn!
  8. We need new challenges, hobbies, use it or lose it
  9. Laughter in the classroom is so important
  10. We all need a 20 minute vacation everyday!

Point #3 above linked closely with a lovely email I received from a Parent after the Science Fair Open House. She wrote in part:

“Just speaking personally, my favourite part was how no student seemed to be particularly concerned about whether their hypothesis had worked out or not – they were all completely comfortable talking about how things hadn’t worked out, and almost to a person, sounded keen to get started on another experiment to see if they could make their systems better.  This is one of the main reasons we sent our daughter to IPS in the first place – to learn to fail, to learn to accept ‘failure’ as part of learning, and maybe, to learn to embrace these ‘failures’ or at least to look on them without worry or fear of negative judgment.”

IPS prides itself on “engineering” experiences to help students to express the very best of what it means to be human and I am comforted to know that even when they struggle or fail, they are learning so much!