The Theory Behind Motional

Motional draws from emotional brain systems research and a wealth of expertise in executive functional skills encompassing working memory, flexible thinking, and self-control. Psychologists and seasoned educators collaborate to create tailored activities and guidance within Motional.

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Motional measures different emotional systems in the Brain (CARE, SEEKING, PLAY, FEAR, RAGE, PANIC/GRIEF based on Professor Jaak Panksepp’s work) and several key executive function skills (emotional regulation, thinking and concentration, sense of self, relationship with others, and emotional literacy) to give a whole brain picture of a child’s emotional and mental health.

Find Out More About Professor Jaak Panksepp

In Motional we call each system or skill area a Subdomain and group these together into the Domains: Pro-Social, Blocks and Executive Functions.

Social Engagement

The Social Engagement Domain includes the Subdomains of CARE, SEEKING and PLAY:

CARE measures the child’s capacity for compassion toward self and others and pro-social skills in general

SEEKING measures the child’s energised engagement in life and learning, level of enthusiasm, curiosity and desire to seek knowledge

PLAY measures the child’s capacity to be able to play with ideas (creativity) and to be playful in relationships, meeting others in joy as appropriate

Social Defence

The Social Defence Domain (also called the ‘blocks’ because when overactive are blocks to quality of life and, in particular, blocks to learning) includes the Subdomains of RAGE, FEAR and PANIC/GRIEF:

RAGE  (when overactive are ‘seen’ as problems with anger which block learning)

FEAR (when overactive are ‘seen’ as problems with anxiety which block learning)

PANIC/GRIEF (when overactive are ‘seen’ as problems with depression or experience of traumatic loss which block learning)

Executive Functioning

The Executive Functions Domain includes a set of cognitive processes activated in the pre-frontal cortex. They are key to learning and to being able to handle everyday life and stresses well. They include:

Emotional Regulation Emotional regulation refers to the ability to manage and control one's emotional responses in varying situations. It utilises the capacity to recognise and understand emotions to modulate emotional reactions appropriately.

Thinking and Concentration Thinking and Concentration are cognitive processes that involve various Executive Functions such as working memory, attention control, and cognitive flexibility as well as aspects of Theory of Mind which includes the ability to understand and interpret the mental states of others, such as their beliefs, desires, and emotions.

Sense of Self A sense of self refers to a person's understanding of who they are and their place in the world. It encompasses various aspects of an individual, such as their personality, beliefs and values. Executive functioning and theory of mind play a crucial role in the development of a sense of self, as they enable individuals to perceive and interpret their environment and make sense of their experiences.

Relationship with others Relationship with Others is a, if not the key component of social and emotional development. This begins through the lower brain systems, particularly CARE and SEEKING prior to birth, and develops through the lifespan, building connections into the upper brain.

Emotional Literacy Emotional literacy refers to the ability to identify, understand, express, and regulate one's own emotions, as well as understand the emotions of others. It involves having a vocabulary of emotions, recognising how emotions can influence behaviour, and facilitates being able to manage emotions in a healthy way.

It is the combination of scores across Subdomains and Domains that influence the way that bespoke Programs of activity, advice and guidance are created.

Find Out More About How We View The Brain

"The training and support has been excellent- from the initial implementation, to the on-going training and update sessions. It is refreshing to have support from a human being and not an automated service!"

Sarah Wilkins, - Executive Headteacher St Meriadoc Infant School & St Meriadoc Junior School

Sarah Wilkins, - Executive Headteacher St Meriadoc Infant School & St Meriadoc Junior School

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