Our first job is always listening
We know resilience starts with communities, and that communities know best what they need. Using creative techniques such as PhotoVoice to amplify the voice of youth, and creating opportunities for educators, Elders, parents, coaches, and community members to develop their own strategies to enhance student success, we ensure a supportive partnership where each side teaches, learns and grows together.
Strengthening Individuals, Strengthening Communities
The backbone of our work is a Resilience-based approach to Comprehensive School Health: supporting the creation of positive structures around the individual, while simultaneously strengthening the individual themselves through Indigenous scholar Dr. Martin Brokenleg’s Circle of Courage.
An Individual Approach: Resilience in the Circle of Courage
Independence: Through this work, we create opportunities for youth and families to gain control over their wellness: to learn about, cook and eat nutritious foods, to be physically active both in and out of the classroom, and to gain the tools needed to be active and well throughout their lives.
Belonging: We work to create inclusive spaces where all students are able to learn and develop themselves using their own skills and abilities, and where teachers can use their creative classroom to give students the individual and group attention they need to succeed. We know that staff also need space to prepare, recharge, reflect, and support each other, in a place that feels healthy and safe.
Generosity: School is a place to develop the whole person. Providing opportunities for students, staff, and community members to share knowledge and mentor one another creates protective factors against the impacts of intergenerational trauma, including high rates of suicide and addictions, and other mental health concerns. By creating spaces for individuals to share their knowledge and skills with others, this work builds resiliency across the entire community.
Mastery: School is a place where knowledge is shared and where students are prepared for the rest of their lives. We aim to give students and staff tools they need to be successful at school, to promote wellness in their own families, and to live healthy, disease-free lives. Collaborating on novel teaching methods, designing culturally active curriculum, and bringing communities together to support one another all contribute to greater mastery.
Wrapping Individuals in Strong Environments: A Comprehensive School Health Approach
While the Circle of Courage strengthens from the inside-out, the Comprehensive School Health approach builds positive structures around the individual, creating communities where staff and students thrive.
We work to create safe and caring environments by focusing on:
Social and Physical Environments: Designing physical spaces where staff and students can be active, learn in new ways, and feel comfortable, while also creating social settings where they feel safe and cared for.
Teaching and Learning: Highlighting and mentoring novel teaching practices, such as outdoor classrooms or teaching curriculum through movement, and creating opportunities for students to teach others and be active participants in their own learning.
Partnerships and Services: Bringing together people, organizations, and communities that are all working towards the same goal of school wellness, we provide space, facilitation, resources and support to promote positive connections.
Healthy School Policy: Creating systems change over the long term, supporting the creation or review of wellness supporting policies at the school, district, and provincial level.