A Closer Look Into the Brain Bootcamp Course

Date
09 November 2021
Writer Name
BrainAhead
Topic
Blog

Does BrainAhead’s Brain Bootcamp course benefit students? The short answer is: YES!

Keep reading to learn more about BrainAhead’s recent study and the benefits of the Brain Bootcamp course. You can also click here to learn more about the features of the BrainAhead courses.

Who participated in this study? 

506 students from Kindergarten to Grade 5 were recruited from 24 classrooms in five independent schools in rural and suburban communities of a western Canadian province (British Columbia). Roughly half were in the Brain Bootcamp course (53%), while the rest (47%) went about their typical classroom routines. 

What was evaluated? 

We evaluated students’ strengths in social and emotional competencies by asking teachers to complete the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment Mini (DESSA-mini) at the beginning and end of the study. We also wanted to see whether the children’s executive functioning (EF) changed, so the ADHD Rating Scale-5 School Version was filled out at both time points by the teachers for participating students as well. The ADHD Rating Scale-5 measured total symptoms of ADHD, symptoms of inattention, symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity, and impairment due to these symptoms.

What were the results?

The results showed beneficial changes in students who participated in Brain Bootcamp compared to the students in the control group. Symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity-impulsivity, and total ADHD symptoms all significantly decreased after participating in Brain Bootcamp, as did impairment due to these symptoms. Since we were assessing these symptoms of ADHD as proxies for EF, the results suggest improved EF for the children who participated in Brain Bootcamp. Further, children showed a significant improvement in their social and emotional competencies.

In contrast, the control group showed a significant increase in hyperactivity-impulsivity and total symptoms of ADHD after 12 weeks of going about their days as usual, as well as a significant decrease in social and emotional competencies. 

What does this mean?

This suggests that the current class curriculum, targeting more educationally mainstream strategies, may not be sufficient for gaining competency in core social emotional learning (SEL) skills such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making, especially as children face an increase in stressors during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Definitions

Executive Functioning (EF): This refers to higher-level cognitive skills such as planning, self-control, working memory, organization, and time management. 

Social Emotional Learning (SEL): This refers to learning the core social and emotional skills vital for healthy development, general wellbeing, and academic success. 

Social Emotional Competencies (SECs): These are the skills which SEL aims to improve. According to CASEL, the five core competencies are: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.

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