Yesterday we had a great guest post from teacher Laura McCarthy. Maybe it’s because I’m 7 months pregnant but I actually teared up while reading her field trip story…

Laura says:

“Creating a joyful classroom instills a passion for learning and establishes a comfort with exploring the unknown. When children are happy, when they feel taken care of and feel like the room is their own, they are ready and eager to learn.”

She’s right. They also learn better and improve the working operations of their brains. Neuroscientist Dr. Silvia Bunge scans and monitors children’s brain activity while they are working on various tasks. She says:

“Motivation is experienced in the brain as the release of dopamine. It’s not released like other neurotransmitters into the synapses, but rather it’s sort of spritzed onto large areas of the brain, which enhances the signaling of neurons.”

Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman summarize in the book NutureShock:

“The motivated brain, literally, operates better, signals faster. When children are motivated, they learn more.”