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Posts Tagged ‘Health and Wellness’

As adults we are always taking care of others and can ignore taking care of ourselves.  In reality, we are better equipped to help others when we have taken the time to help ourselves.  We can take our health for granted until we do not have it anymore.  This is found out as I suffered from vestibular neuritis for the past couple of weeks and was dependent on others to drive me around.  It is a viral infection of the inner ear which inflames the nerve and affects balance and concentration. Being sick forced me to slow down, take care of myself, and allow others to take care of me. It is a little ironic though as my professional development for the past month focused on wellness.

emotional wellness site

One of our school’s Health and Wellness goals is to reduce the incidence of student anxiety. We are trying to promote learning by ensuring that students are emotionally regulated and that their brains are ready to learn.  One of our student nursing teams worked with Tracy Rocca our FSLC to develop resources for both home and school.  They presented their website to the parent council and to staff. Please take a look at it under the Resources and Publication/Counselling/Student Wellness Website section of our website. The site has many resources for parents on Understanding Emotions, Self Awareness and Social Awareness. In a similar vein, a school team attended training for the Mind Up program on November 8th. This is a research based program that teaches activities around topics such as gratitude and mindfulness.  The four pillars of the program are neuroscience, positive psychology, mindful awareness and social-emotional learning.  Students are taught about how their brain works and what is happening that allows them to learn and what can stop them from learning.  It goes along well with our zones of regulation that we have already been implementing as it gives us a practice to help students calm their brains from coming in after running around at recess time so they are ready to learn. A few teachers are incorporating some of the program’s practices into their classrooms and we tried out the core breathing exercise with staff.

mind up

Another goal for the school is to continue to promote and build student leadership for comprehensive school health. We started a new option class this year: Health and Wellness Leadership. The students in this option class created a website with activities covering the following four areas of wellness:  mental, nutritional, physical and spiritual. When you click on FLVT Health and Wellness under the Resources and Publications tab, you are taken directly to the site. Students also organized different wellness activities throughout the first quarter. The wellness team is also continuing with Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right program that promotes healthy eating.  Students can bring in a healthy yellow food in December and complete the form in the canteen for a chance to win a prize. The next project for the team is the development of school garden boxes in the new year and possibly a school wide wellness day.

student website

As astaff, we had a wellness retreat day last Friday so that we are better equipped to handle the challenges of the coming month.  We started the day focusing on Spiritual Wellness with Taizé prayer led by Peggy from L’Arche LethbridgeTaizé is short, chanting prayers that were sung and repeated many times with scripture readings, psalms, intercessions and a ten-minute silence in the middle of the service.  It was a beautiful service that was calming in its simplicity.  Next staff participated in a variety of wellness activities ranging from going for a workout to creating crafts to playing card games to listening to music and, above all, building community by visiting with one another.  We closed the day off with the fellowship of a beautiful meal.  It was a relaxing day as we prepare for the business of the coming Advent season.

At the Inter-Jurisdictional Health Champion Wellness Day on November 29, I learned about Intellectual Wellness.  Social connections are one way to support good brain health and wellness so I invite you to join us for our various activities this month. Music is another great way to support brain health so you could come out to one of our musical events. Our elementary choir will be singing at December 6 at City Hall from 12:00 – 12:30, and the grade 2 and 3 classes will be singing at the Evening of Christmas as St. Basil’s Church on December 19 at 7:00 pm.  Our Christmas Family Fun Night will be at the school this year on the 14th from 5:30 – 7:30. It is a wonderful event filled with many activities to promote brain health, such as, coloring, story telling, cake walk, cookie decorating and an obstacle course. Help boost your Spiritual Wellness by joining us for a Monday Advent Celebration. Finally, we invite you to come into the school on the last day of December as the staff serves hot chocolate and candy canes to parents and students. It has become one of my favorite traditions here at the school.  If I don’t see you at one of our events this month, I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas.

More Information on Wellness Education:

Alberta Education Wellness Education

Alberta Education Wellness Framework 

 

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I have been checking out my flower bed every day for the past couple of week to see if the tulips that I planted in the fall, have sprouted.  Today I finally saw some green peeking out of the ground.  I’m pretty excited because these tulips were specially created to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Confederation and are white with a red maple leaf design.  canada tulipTo celebrate at FLVT some of our classes are participating in the Canada Games Activity Challenge where students complete a variety of activities.  Speaking of activities, our elementary marathon club kicked off last week and will continue to train and put in the required 40 kilometers so that students can complete the Little Souls Kids Marathon on May 31.

There are lots of other events to celebrate this month at FLVT.  Our grade 9 students will culminate their three years of studying French by heading off to Quebec for five days.  This is a great experience for our students to see another part of Canada and to put their French skills into practice.

Badminton is winding down and students in grades 6-9 will head off the City Championships in early April.  Good luck to all our teams. After the Easter break, our grade two students will take part in a First Communion retreat at the Church. Our students receiving the Holy Eucharist for the first time is a definite milestone to celebrate. We are blessed to have such a wonderful partnership with St. Martha’s Parish.

I’d like to highlight the work and achievements of our Health and Wellness Advisory Team.  After attending the Healthy Active Schools Symposia in the fall, the students identified four priorities with a focus on mental health. Students decided to create calm down kits to help reduce student stress and anxiety.  They spent time researching items to go in each kit, and they have created kits for the rooms in the office and are in the process of creating a kit for each classroom.  One item for the kits are fidgets which help to improve concentration and attention to classroom tasks.  green foodsStudents spent time repainting the canteen and the canteen now plays calming music at lunch time. Their “Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right” program is currently in place.  Students can earn entries for weekly prizes by showing they are eating a healthy food item of a specific color. March was red and now green is the focus for April. The students still have a goal of creating a quiet room in the school before the school year ends.  Congratulations on a job well done Team!

Finally, I’d like to celebrate the work that our teachers have been doing in their weekly Learning Team meetings.  One of our goals in our Continuous Improvement Plan this year, is to improve basic fact fluency.  Basic facts are addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts from 0 – 9 and students should be able to give a quick response in about three seconds. Teachers have been working with the resource teaching math develElementary and Middle School Mathematics Teaching Developmentally by Van de Walle, Karp, Bay-William, McGarvey, and Folk (2015). Teachers have been working on specific strategies that can improve number sense and basic fact fluency. One important skill for students is to anchor numbers to 5 and 10 where students can easily recall which numbers make a 5 and once they have that they should move on to making 10. Teachers have also been working on finding engaging games that allow students to practice their skills.  We shared what we learned with one another at our PD Day in March.  Teachers each brought a game they used in their classroom and played it with their group and then the group discussed ways the game could be adapted for their grade level. It was an amazing day of learning from one another and we had some fantastic dialogue on teaching strategies.  We are blessed to have a staff who are not only committed to, but are also role models for lifelong learning.

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