Last night, the Grade Six and Seven parents and children were privileged to listen to our principal, Gavin Keller, present an entertaining and informative talk on the “Secrets of the Teenage Brain”. In the session, we had the opportunity to learn about the chemical and physical processes that create neural pathways which allow us to become productive adults in the future.

The hall was packed with loads of interested parents and students who were ready to learn. The evening kicked off with a hilarious game.

We learnt about THREE main secrets that take place in the brain from age 11-19.

They were, from a Grade 7 perspective:

1. The Brain is under MASSIVE Construction.
When we hit our teenage years, a huge front-end loader arrives and rips up all our neural pathways. It’s like we’re brain damaged. WHAT! So, I learnt that my mom has to re-teach me everything, and that I am going to be very difficult to deal with.

2. Teenagers NEED NEED NEED Natural Drugs.
Since I am a girl, I focused mainly on what ” drug” or hormone that I require in order to live a happy life from 11-19. SEROTONIN is vital. It is a calming drug that we get from feeling loved, being a part of a group, having a sense of belonging, being adored and if all else fails, we can always turn to chocolate.

Oxytocin is also needed by both boys and girls. We get this from working together. So, this is why we sit in co-op groups … It all makes perfect sense, now.

3. The last rule of the night was “Practice makes Per…manent”. Yes, we all thought that “Practice makes Perfect”. Mr. Keller Senior told us that we would have to practise, practise and practise, but it will be permanent after a while.

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Thank you, for the awesome experience. It was PHE-NOM-A-NAL!” Reported by Mia Baxter-Elliott.

I discovered so many new things about the brain; things that I was clueless about. Mr Keller made the presentation so interesting by allowing us to engage with others at our tables. I really enjoyed my evening.” Reported by Cameron Macdonald.

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I learned many things last night. Girls need to be calm. They have and need serotonin. If they don’t have enough, they will feel inclined to self-medicate with chocolate. This has ruined my sudden urge for chocolate. Boys need and have dopamine and will always be seeking recognition. At this stage of our lives, our brain is under major construction. Between the age of eleven to nineteen, we can be classified as ‘brain-damaged’. Last night was really entertaining and informative.” Reported by Keona Missing.

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I am a student in Grade Seven and normally I’d find this kind of thing a little boring, but I actually enjoyed the presentation because it was fun and interactive. Night School is generally designed for our parents, but since last night’s theme was relevant to the teenage brain, we were encouraged to attend. Am I glad that I decided to attend this one. Our parents were taught three different tips to explain our odd behaviour. These tips are also relevant to us because it helped us contextualise our changed behaviour. The main focus was that our brains are under massive construction. Mr Keller said that all the neural pathways are being ripped up. The atmosphere in the hall became hysterically funny as he mimicked our behaviour. He announced that our brains need drugs and all that could be heard were collective gasps from everyone, but we soon realised that Mr Keller meant natural drugs. The female brain needs serotonin, the calming drug and the male brain needs dopamine, the reward drug. When the male brain doesn’t get enough recognition teenage boys will resort to self-medication in the form of drugs or alcohol. During this time of our lives, our brains are under construction – our serotonin and dopamine levels are at an all time low so we need to be careful that we don’t self-medicate to develop bad habits. The final tip from last night was that “Practice makes Permanent”. This means that practicing things over and over again will make whatever you’ve been practicing will permanently be embedded in your neural pathways.” Reported by Sasha-Leigh Smith.

Sun Valley Primary has proven to meet our students at the point of their needs, and in this case, their parents too.

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