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Did you know you had an upstairs and downstairs brain?


I came across this book while I was doing my research on social and emotional development in young children. This book has the basic key information that can help us understand how the brain functions and how we can enhance and nurture it to its fullest potential in the aspect of social and emotional development.


In addition, it includes 12 strategies that are practical and are easy to be implemented at home or in the school setting. As I work with mainly younger children, I found many interesting points that I could apply in my classroom. I began to understand more in-depth about the inner workings of our left and right brain and also the upstairs and downstairs brain. The different stages of brain development is fascinating and helps us to better understand the children in our class.

It was interesting to see the exact same behaviours being displayed in the classroom. For example, when a 2-year-old child hits another child, it doesn’t mean they do not know that it is wrong but it is their fight or flight response in their brains being switched on. Their downstairs brain (emotional) is unable to integrate with their upstairs brain (logical). This is perfectly fine as they are still not developmentally ready to unlatch that bridge to connect them together seamlessly.


So, as a teacher in the classroom, with the knowledge that I’ve gained, I have learned how to aide them by using some of the strategies provided in this book.


In addition, in today's troubled and unusual times as we live through COVID, it is even more important to understand and learn how to enhance our children's social and emotional development and more importantly coping strategies. Here is one of my favourite excerpts from the book:


When your child has flipped their lid, the “upstairs” part of the brain is not available. The upstairs part of the brain is where we can make decisions, show empathy, have self control etc.Therefore, we need to wait until the child calms down or help them calm down, before we start trying to rationalise with them.

Makes so much sense but how often do we actually do this?


This book is a great read for parents and professionals in the education sector. It will definitely help us better understand our children’s social and emotional development.


Good luck!

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