Give Your Child A Gift For A Lifetime
‘Brighter Minds’ (BM) is a unique whole brain wellness program offered by the ‘Cognitive Skills Private Limited’, Bangalore which aims at enhancing the observation and cognitive functions of the brain for children.
The theory and the training modules of the BM program are informed by some of the latest scientific theories and advances in the field of cognitive neurosciences as well as on-the-ground experience and programs.
What is cognitive function?
Cognitive function is process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses. It encompasses processes such as knowledge, attention, memory, judgment and evaluation, reasoning and computation, problem solving and decision making, comprehension and language etc.
Can there be enhancement of brain cognitive functions, more than what we are born with?
Yes, the studies have shown that the environment and life experiences can influence the growth of the brain and the cognitive abilities. The process of learning is an outcome of connections and re-connections between 80 billion brain cells (called neurons) that each human brain is made of, with each cell having a potential of making several thousand connections with other cells. Hence the brain is highly plastic or mouldable, a process known as Neuroplasticity. Evidence has proven that appropriate tools and interventions in a conducive environment can stimulate neuroplasticity in the brains during childhood and beyond.
What are the various interventions and activities adopted by the Brighter Minds program to improve cognitive functions?
Based on the review of latest scientific literature and actual experience on the ground through pilot projects, a set of interventions are finalized as a part of Brighter Minds training program. They include the following:
- Age and context appropriate dance and physical exercises to generate an environment of lightness and joy.
- Breathing exercises, relaxation and prayer.
- Specific brain exercises and eyeball exercises
- Specifically developed music for relaxation and entrainment.
All the above activities are engaged by the facilitator in an environment of love, joy and positivity which is found to be vital for the success of the program. The parents are also taught the skills and techniques to generate similar environment at homes so that the children can continue to practice and nurture their innate abilities.
How do these interventions actually help in enhancing the cognitive functions of the brain? What are some of the scientific theories that support brighter minds?
The neuro-endocrinal physiologic mechanisms of how these interventions may possibly have impact on the changes in the children is well studied and documented.
The effects of environment on the sympathetic and parasympathetic system of the body through the neuro-endocrinal system (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal or HPA axis) is well known. While heightened HPA axis and associated high levels of cortisol in the blood may help to deal with stress, if sustained for long periods, they can actually have damaging effects on the body including the cognitive functions of the brain. Interventions like meditation, breathing and relaxation exercises can actually calm the body and mind through regulation of HPA axis and cortisol levels.
Specific interventions and stimuli like music, relaxation-meditation, brain exercises are associated with changes in neuroplasticity in specific parts of the brain. A phenomena known as sensory substitution or augmentation has been observed among the blind that actually helps to compensate for the loss of vision through alternate or exaggerated sensory pathways. This only proves that wiring within the brain is a result of repeated and habituated external actions. Neurons that fire together wire together, is a famous dictum in the world of neurosciences, which indicates that specific set of stimuli or practices can induce fresh neural connections between the parts of the brain that are activated during the process.
The process of making the brain waves oscillate with the help of an outside stimulus is called “Entrainment” and certain auditory beats are used for this purpose. Extremely low-frequency music can entrain the brain into low frequency states such as alpha and theta.
The physical exercises have shown to stimulate Neurogenesis, the ability of the brain to regenerate neurons. Exercise also enhances production of glutathione which is major antioxidant in all our cells, protecting brain cells against free radical damage. Exercises also enhances release of endorphins into the blood that has effects on the mood.
Thus, there is a whole body of research literature that explains how the interventions adopted by BM can possibly be impacting cognitive functions of the children.
Ø What research has been undertaken by Brighter Minds team? What changes have you observed in children?
Preliminary anecdotal reports and qualitative exploration with few children and parents revealed that children showed changes in the following traits:
- Self confidence
- Emotional stability
We followed up with an online, random survey of parents to know what proportion of children actually showed these changes to what extent. This was important to be able to systematically document and understand from a programmatic perspective. Out of 71 parents that participated in the survey, close to 91% agreed that their children were more calm, focused, and self-confident with improved comprehension and memory as a result of the BM program. About 85% reported that their children were emotionally more stable and about 87% reported that their children’s’ abilities to share and understand feelings had increased. About 93% of parents expressed that they were satisfied and will be likely to recommend this program to other parents.
In future we are planning to follow up with more objective evaluations using third party and external evaluators as well as take evaluation of long term impact of BM program on children.
Why this program is only for children?
A child’s brain during formative years is more plastic (moldable) than that of an adult and hence offers greater opportunities for development and change. This is already studied extensively and hence we currently focus on children.
What is the duration of Brighter Minds Alpha program?
Alpha program is a fun filled 30 hrs program distributed over 8 weekends.
Why do you call it a ‘Gift for a Lifetime’?
We spend lot of money and effort to buy gifts for our children, which gives them happiness and joy for certain length of time which is mostly short-lived. Brighter Minds gives the child this unique gift of ‘Enhanced capacity of brain to acquire knowledge, understand and apply to solve problems throughout their Life.’
We always look for Gift which is outside. But this program will unlock the Gift which is hidden inside each and every child.