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Julian's Primary School


Primary School




Mindset and Memory


Mindset and Memory - a series of remote workshops for the parents and carers at Julian’s Primary School, created by TailoredPractice

The following sessions were created for our parents and carers in order to share with you some of the research and techniques that we have been using at Julian’s. Although each video has been created for a different phase, they are applicable for all primary school ages.


We hope you find the sessions useful. If you wish to give us some feedback on the sessions, we would appreciate it. Please go to this feedback link to do so. Thank you.

Mind Your Language Parent Carer Workshop

How the language we use with children can have a lasting impact on their attitude to learning
EYFS focus (approx 14 mins)

Make Thinking Visible Parent Carer Workshop

How our language can help children develop their thinking and learning skills
Key Stage One focus (approx 13 mins)

Mindset and Memory Parent/Carer Workshop

What parents and carers should know about memory and how they can support their children’s learning at home
Key Stage Two focus (17 mins)

What Parents and Carers Should Know

At Julian’s, we know that “pushing the boundaries of excellence” for our students means we must consistently reflect on our practice and use research-informed strategies to maximise student potential. We also know that with the support of parents we can make even more of a difference. Below, we highlight some of the research behind mindsets, the brain and memory that we feel parents would like to know.


MINDSETS and Metacognition

Mindset refers to an attitude to learning. A growth mindset helps students to persevere when faced with challenges. In contrast, a fixed mindset leads people to easily give up or settle for tasks that are too easy. The concept of a growth mindset was developed and popularised by psychologist Carol Dweck, but it is not new to the research world. At Julian’s, we focus on the research of mindsets as well as metacognition (thinking skills that help monitor learning like figuring out the best strategy to solve a problem).


Research shows that the language adults use when they give feedback to children is crucial in helping young people form mindset and metacognitive skills that promote perseverance and hard work. Making small, yet significant, changes in the way we talk to young people will have a lasting impact. Praise that emphasises a young child’s efforts, actions, and strategies yields greater persistence and better performance over the long term. Praise that focuses on a young child’s intelligence or talent promotes significantly less persistence and performance. Likewise, adults should model thinking strategies that help students reflect on how they learn and how to make meaning from mistakes. (See examples below.)



An important part of growth mindset is understanding that everybody can get smarter, which is why we teach young people about the brain.


  • The brain is like a muscle in many ways. It has tiny cells called neurons that strengthen with effort and practice. (Note: the brain is much more complicated than a muscle, but the comparison is useful when explaining the value of effort to young children.)

  • Neural pathways help neurons communicate. The more you practise something, the stronger the connections and the more durable the learning.

  • With practice, the brain can learn new habits—ways of doing things and ways of thinking about things. You can retrain your brain!

  • The brain of an adolescent experiences a remarkable amount of development, making this an incredible time that will have long-term impact. However, the teen brain is more sensitive to peer influence and risk-taking.



Students should know the best strategies for learning in order to maximise success. Success also builds confidence and contributes to a growth mindset.


  • Learning is moving information from working memory to long term memory. To remember something, we need to think hard about it.

  • Remembering information improves memory. Retrieval practice, like quizzes and flashcards, force us to bring to mind info we learned before. The more we do this, the stronger the memory gets.

  • In order to remember, we need time to forget. The brain learns better when learning is spaced out over time. When we forget information and have to remember it again, we build stronger neural pathways between sessions.

  • Our working memory can get overloaded. The working memory capacity is limited. When too much information is presented at once, the working memory becomes overwhelmed and much of that information is lost.


Multi-tasking is a myth: doing more than one thing at a time makes you less productive and efficient, because we have to shift our attention. 


How Parents and Carers can Support Learning


1. Notice your child's efforts

When your child is faced with...

Point out when your child . . .


And model how you do this too!


Embraces challenges


Sees effort as valuable


Persists in difficulty


Listens and learns from feedback


Uses mistakes as an opportunity to learn

Success of others

Is inspired by the success of others

As a result

Leads to more opportunities


When your child succeeds as a result of effort, strategies or actions:

“I noticed that . . .

  • you figured out how to do that all by yourself by trying different strategies.

  • you clearly thought about that task by planning it out.

  • this was a hard assignment/task, but you stuck with it. You kept trying even after you made a mistake.

  • you chose to do the more difficult work first.

“Tell/show me . .

  • how you solved that problem . . . built that . . . created that . . .

  • where the work was really hard and you kept trying.

  • how you would justify that answer to prove you are right.  


When your child faces struggle, disappointment or failure:

“Did you know . . .

  • I try things many times before I get it. Try having another go.

  • that feeling of struggle is what it feels like to learn.

  • all successful people have made mistakes along the way.  

  • one of the hardest parts of learning is the beginning—starting something new. It’s normal.

“Ask yourself:

  • What do I already know?

  • Where am I stuck? What tools can I use to help me now?

  • How can I learn from that mistake? What part should I try again, differently?

  • Or say to yourself: “The brain learns better when it has to work hard and really think. This will get easier.”


2. Support spacing out recall over time

  • Offer to quiz your child. Make it into a game. Remember: It’s OK to forget. It’s about thinking hard to recall, not about getting a perfect score

  • Ask your child to recall what she learned in school that day. A quick review of the day helps to fortity memories.


3. Model metacognition (thinking about how we learn)

  • Think aloud when planning, monitoring and reflecting on tasks

  • Help them to reframe difficult tasks: “This is difficult, but I have a plan that I can stick to.” “I can do this. I will take one step at time.”


4. Help your child self-regulate to avoid distractions and ‘multitasking’

  • Discuss distractions and how to avoid them.

  • Help create a quiet space away from other people and sounds. Inform other members of the family.

  • Offer support by holding onto their smart phones or devices while they do difficult tasks. Built trust and independence by giving them back when requested!


5. Help your child to maintain balance

  • Encourage your child to take 5 minute breaks every 30 minutes or so.

  • Ensure they get plenty of sleep (which means turning off all digital devices well before bedtime). Sleep helps to consolidate learning.

  • If your child is anxious, use breathing exercises like 7/11 (7 breaths in/11 out). Then talk about it and make a plan.



Julian's Primary School

Contact Us

Julian's Streatham

  • 020 8761 1894
  • 226 Leigham Court Road, London, SW16 2RB

Julian's West Norwood

  • 020 8761 1894
  • 16 Wolfington Road, London, SE27 0JF


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