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Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Integrating and Promoting Well Being in Science Math and the Arts

Written by Allen Davidson, Assistant Superintendent of Employee Services
CASSA – Conference July 2-4 Montreal, QC.

An integrated approach to student wellness across subjects. Well-being is best-understood and developed with attention to knowledge of brain functions and the importance of active lifestyle, skills for social functioning, and emotional self-regulation. It also involves a positive sense of spiritual well-being that respects the importance of culture, equity, social justice and personal dignity.

This session highlighted our responsibility as educators to consider the wellness of our students when designing and preparing for learning. All Principals with the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic School Division (20,000 students) are required to submit Mental Health Literacy plans. They shared one example of a school that gathered data on students who were having chronic behavior issues which resulted in staff developing Morning Mindfulness Session for students to attend: 

·      Morning Mindfulness Club/Session (10-15 min). – Students identified as needing mindfulness preparation were involved in stretching, breathing, discussion/sharing circles, etc. These sessions, all supported by brain research, were designed to ready students for the rigours of the school day. Result: Eliminated/Reduced explosive behavior in almost all of the identified subset of students. Students start the day with a positive space to create environment for learning.

Resource:
Carney, Patrick (2015) Well Aware – Developing Resilient, Active and Flourishing Students. Pearson, Canada. (link here)





The presenters also directed our attention to the Brain Science that tells us what we must know about the Brain and it’s functioning when we put challenges (intellectual, emotional, physical, etc..) in front of our students. They focused on Dr. Dan Siegal‘s Brain Hand Model here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0T_2NNoC68


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