Current Programs and Initiatives
We are pleased to announce the introduction and promotion of the MindUp program as part of our Mental Health and Student Well-Being Strategy. This program has been implemented in many of our elementary schools across the regions. The MindUP program is based on mindfulness concepts and “brain focused strategies” and is broken down by grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8. By focusing attention on breathing and other body awareness activities, students can learn to reduce stress and optimize the learning capacity of their brain. Mindfulness is known to help reduce anxiety and improve focus and concentration to increase academic performance. Students engage in interactive learning that promote empathy, optimism and improve peer relationships and self-regulation.
Beyond the MindUP program our schools have been intentional in promoting mindfulness as an anxiety reduction strategy and coping behaviour that helps improve self –regulation. Brain science has come a long way and helping students understand how the brain works and the effects on behaviour has been an intentional focus and area of training for our educators.
Zones of Regulation
Zones of Regulation (Zones) is a program designed to foster self-regulation and emotional control in elementary aged children. This proactive program provides strategies to teach students to become more aware of their emotional reactions, how to control their emotions and impulses, managing their sensory needs and improve their ability to problem solve conflicts. Zones categorizes all the different feeling states into four concrete zones that are easy concepts for children to grasp. The zones are then compared to traffic signs and students are taught how to manage emotions based on what zone they are experiencing. Our Child Development Counsellors work with small groups of students or whole classes with our educators in delivering this very effective program which also has a state of the art app with interactive games. You will notice visual displays in many of our schools to promote emotional literacy. Students can cope more effectively if they have the words to communicate their emotional states.
See zonesofregulation.com for more information.
Kids Have Stress Too!
This program is focused on helping students learn how to recognize and deal with stress. Students are taught a range of practical coping strategies that they can use to manage their own stress. Excessive stress can have dramatic effects on learning and social development, interferes with executive functioning such as attention, memory, organization and over time can shrink main memory structures. The program is broken down into age groups; Preschool and Kindergarten, grades 1-3, Stress Lessons grade 4-6 and Stress Lessons, From Stressed Out to Chilled Out grades 7-9 and recently released grade 9 to 12 version. Our Child Development Counsellors work with our Educators to teach stress management in small and large groups. There are many free resources for parents to try at home.
See the Psychology Foundation for more information.
This program also known as "Every BODY is a Somebody" or Girl Talk is an active learning program to promote healthy body image, positive self-esteem, healthy eating and an active lifestyle for female adolescents. There are 6 topic areas with a minimum of 3 activities and was designed to compliment school curriculum. The Public Health Unit has been a significant partner in supporting and delivering this program to grade 7 to 9 students. A version focused on boys has been piloted with good results. This program is well aligned with the new Health curriculum and is offered when a need is identified and co-delivered with the Public Health Unit.