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CALL TO ACTION TO ALL ELEMENTARY ONTARIO SCHOOL BOARDS


The Power of Transforming EVERY School Community into a Culture of Wellness

What Evidence-based Research Has Taught Us: Years of evidence-based research supports best practices that have been proven to provide positive results in treating mental health and emotional wellbeing. Some major conclusions that directly enhance a state of wellbeing are… incorporating the value of brain-based learning facts into lessons; understand and provide daily opportunities to include social-emotional skills; integrating the skills taught in school to real life situations; building integrity through virtues and character strengths; and truly developing a sense of self and society so as youth graduate, they have a burning desire and passion to give back to a world that needs their creative expertise. Then, they are eager to make a difference.

This sense of fulfillment comes from having a meaningful purpose by being allowed to have a voice and a choice, throughout their years in school. Extraordinary educational systems understand this to be a fundamental necessity.

How Has the Pandemic Reshaped Education? The Coronavirus Pandemic has tested basic ideas about instruction, attendance, testing, funding, the role of technology, and the human connections that hold it all together. We must continue to think about how to evolve schooling, so the kids get the most out of it. There are a lot of positives that will happen because we have been forced into this uncomfortable situation. The reality is, that this will change education forever. Unless we ignore it and just treat this enormous event in history as a blip, by throwing resources and ‘one-off’’ activities at teachers and students.

NOW is the time for school decision makers to rally and provide their school board with clear directives to deal with the repercussions of this pandemic, during the school year, 2021! Strike when the need is greatest!

What support is available? During life crises, health and educational organizations design kits and packets or provide entire websites of information that have real value. Some of these organizations are mentioned below:

School Mental Health Organization This is an excellent site with evidence-based resources for Educators, Students and Parents & Families.

OECTA A wonderful collection of curriculum-based activities, articles, mini-courses, collaborative learning etc.

Wellness Together Canada Mental health and substance abuse support. 5-minute self-assessment; contact info; health metrics etc.

Teacher Wellbeing Toolkit  Everything a teacher needs in dealing with wellbeing.

Ontario Healthy Schools Coalition This is a healthy schools tool kit.

What Stats Tell Us About the Impacts on Mental Health. Stats Canada 

Sick Kids Well worth a glance at this site.

CTV News: Ottawa pediatrician calls extended school closures a crisis. Watch the YouTube.

What to Do? The individual classrooms within which teachers and students interact constitute the core of the education system. At the same time, what happens in a classroom is significantly affected by decisions made in other layers of this system. When students and teachers return to school, or those in virtual learning, they will all need a clearly outlined ‘new’ approach to make wellbeing a major focus upon their return to school. This is the PERFECT opportunity to begin again. A chance for everyone to do better than before the pandemic. WHEN a school’s MAIN purpose, is to collaboratively focus together (meaning the entire staff AND parents) on transforming their school community to a culture of wellness, this can lay the groundwork for unprecedented positive change. The entire wellness training process takes 5 months, so schools can plan their own start and finish dates, starting with a schoolwide kick-off!

If any school board provides links to resources, even if they are identified by grade, the results are left in the hands of stressed and overwhelmed teachers individually, to follow links to collate their own wellness program. A sense of teamwork, working collaboratively, implementing new daily habits that need to be repeated for the brain to grow, is an enormous task to leave with each individual teacher. A digitally, succinct, carefully tested plan or framework, using evidence-based activities, along with weekly themes and staff interaction, sets up a ‘SYSTEM of learning’ that gives every teacher a sense of fulfillment. Every student learns new daily habits they can use for a lifetime and even parents can be provided with these same skills to reinforce at home! Now that is powerful! A system that implemented properly, guarantees results!

Meet the “Wellness for All Learning System” This system would be the wisest choice a school board could make, especially when staffs and students are returning after such a difficult year. It is upbeat and interactive and promotes daily habits that integrate into all subjects and life, itself. Teachers get in-school personal (mental health tools) and professional development (digital workshops). Digital workshops are provided every two weeks for 5 months, and one month prep is outlined for staffs, to understand the full picture, before they start. This system offers a curriculum framework as an organized plan with expectations and learning outcomes, outlining, and defining what students should know and be able to do, to stay well.

The ‘Wellness for All Learning System’ aligns with the Ministry of Education’s Health and Physical Education curriculum; What We Heard: Wellbeing in Our Schools, Strength in Our Society; The Ministry of Education Comprehensive School Health Framework; A School Board’s Mental Health Action Plan. 20 minutes daily, retraining the brain for healthy habits, works magic!

Connect Patricia Gough, Founder and Director, would be happy to meet to answer any questions or to workshop tools, techniques and strategies, that your schools will find work beautifully, as together, all school communities are transformed to a culture of wellness!! Then all teachers will, in the following years, be trained well enough to easily apply all the resources provided by the many mental health and wellness organizations mentioned above!

HOWEVER, the year 2021 is crucial to set the stage, so curiosity, excitement, and hope, is the energy that welcomes everyone back-to-school, with a board wide plan, preparing everyone for a better life after COVID. Anticipate amazing surprises!

Book a call with Patricia Gough

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Wellness influences how people feel and function in their daily lives.  With Wellness for All Workshops, 20 weeks of empowering, fun activities provide everything you need to teach staff and students to:

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About Wellness for All

The Wellness for All Learning System supports the beliefs and principles of positive psychology. The goal of the positive psychology movement is to make normal life more fulfilling. Who does not approve of that? 

Instead of focusing on what is wrong with you, positive psychology asks the question: “What is right with you?” It asserts that strength is as important as weakness. Our Wellness Workshops are loaded with strength building activities, tools, and techniques! Many ideas come from the teachings of positive psychology!