The Whole-Brain Classroom: Supporting Educators and Young Children by Understanding Brain Development, Emotions, and Mental Health

Caroline Demmitt, Kindergarten, Selwyn Elementary School

Curriculum Unit (PDF)


The Whole-Brain Classroom is a comprehensive curriculum unit that spans across the entire school year to help teachers and young students understand their brain and feelings. The unit fills the gap of social-emotional education and teaches children with their brain in mind first.
The whole-brain approach looks at the children in their entirety, as a human who has physical, cognitive, and emotional needs, as well as limits. This unit is designed to be the heartbeat of the classroom, a constant practice that guides teachers and students to a successful emotional
regulation and a fuller understanding of their cognitive capacity. Throughout the year educators and students learn basic brain anatomy and use expansive vocabulary and sign language to communicate feelings. Classes also take part in meaningful conversations and read a variety of
books to help students understand what emotions they are experiencing and why and how to healthily cope with them. These strategies create a school family where peers help collaborate, problem solve, and help others. Together, caregivers and children learn crucial life-long skills such as compromise and forgiveness that leads them to thrive social-emotionally.