Passionate about inspiring and teaching young people, Victoria Jenkins uses her 20 years’ experience as a primary school teacher to educate others about the brain development of children. With the challenges of modern life changing the way young brains are developing, she launched Brain Essentials, offering simple, fun, brain-based resources and courses to educate caregivers and teachers to help children grow healthy brains.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
My inspiration to create Brain Essentials came two years ago when I was standing in the middle of a primary school classroom. I realised that children were more reactive and defensive, and showing less resilience than they did 20 years ago when I first started teaching.
As a teacher, I can see that modern life has changed the way that families operate, yet the needs of their small mammals remain the same. Kids feel safe and loved when they have strong connections with their parents, and this helps them to be their best. Modern life is so busy though, and some kids just aren’t spending enough quality time with their parents. I figured that if parents knew a few basics about brain development, resilience and growth mindset, they might be inspired to integrate a few things into their family’s life that could have a massive impact on their children.
Many of the books, courses and articles I’d read/studied about brain development and the needs of children were complicated and boring! Lots of parents don’t want that! So I decided to combine the knowledge I’d gained from 20 years of teaching and 10 years learning about the human brain with my parenting experience, to create simple, fun, brain-based courses and resources.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
Initially I started spreading my message via public speaking events locally, in Blenheim. These presentations covered brain development, resilience and growth mindset which I tailored to three different age groups.
- Baby Brain (In Utero-24 months)
- Cheeky Child (2-8 years)
- Tricky Teens (Pre Teens -Teens)
I enjoy public speaking so I LOVED these events, but in order to reach a wider audience, I knew I needed to share my message in other ways.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
My biggest breakthrough with Brain Essentials was that in order to help lots of kids through inspiring their parents, I needed to get my brain-based message further than Blenheim! So I either needed to ‘go on tour’ or create resources that can be accessed from anywhere. I went with the latter but ‘going on tour’ is definitely part of the 2021 plan.
First, I filmed the Baby Brain and Cheeky Child resources to create downloadable content for parents. Then, I started planning a resource for kids! I figured that if I created an activity book/journal for kids to read, draw and write in, I could include simple facts about the brain and body that their parents could learn from too.
This morphed into My Amazing Brain, a book chocka full of things for kids to do WITH their parents, including things that mammals NEED to be their best like connection, movement and nature and things that enhance how we feel, like music, aroma and creativity.
Other than my family, I’ve never been so proud of anything in my life! My Amazing Brain is a stunning book and the feedback I’m receiving from customers is absolutely fantastic. It’s everything I hoped it would be and is being sold from the Brain Essentials website.