Primary Whole Cohort Arrowsmith Program® 


Created by Barbara-Arrowsmith-Young, Arrowsmith is a world-wide program which uses the principles of neuroplasticity, employing techniques that strengthen pathways in the brain so that learning can take place with ease and efficiency. Everyone benefits from cognitive stimulation particularly as key pathways are needed in the brain for specific learning to be able to take place.


What if everyone could think more flexibly and reason casually, make better decisions, be more compassionate and realize that learning can be accomplished with ease and joy?

Barbara Arrowsmith-Young

In 2022, Marsden introduced the Arrowsmith principles to all Year 2–5 students in the Marsden Primary School, with the ultimate goal of improving foundational learning capacities for our Primary students. In each year group, a different cognitive function critical to learning will be strengthened. Once a function is strengthened, it remains strengthened. 


The premise of the Arrowsmith Whole Cohort Program is harnessing the brain’s ability to change both its physical structure and functional organisation, which fosters lifelong learning. Key to this is the outcome of improvements in foundational learning capacities. This is what cognitive enhancement is all about.

In plays we do at school, I can remember the lines more easily because of the Arrowsmith exercise called Phrases. The Word and Tracing exercises have helped me with my spelling and writing.

Abigail, Year 6 Arrowsmith student - 2024


A cognitive function is the job of a region of the brain (or network of regions) that is critical to specific aspects of learning. By providing students with an opportunity to enhance a range of cognitive functions (whether from poor to average, average to superior or enhancement of superior functioning) across the course of their primary years, they will develop the capacities necessary to learn to read, write, reason, understand and analyse complex abstract relationships, think critically, be flexible in thought, retain information and accept and consider other points of view. These are all essential abilities required for all aspects of learning.


Barbara Arrowsmith-Young talks about the Whole Cohort Program.

Jo Burns

Head of Marsden Primary, Director of International Students
(04) 476 8707
Contact Jo Burns for more information about the Primary Whole Cohort Arrowsmith Program®.