Kristina Bothmer’s Grade 1 class at P.L. Robertson P.S. in Milton has been utilizing a Board-created online Wellness Calendar designed to support the mental health and well-being of elementary students.
The interactive calendar provides wellness activities for Kindergarten to Grade 8 students. The focus of the activities is on student well-being, classroom practices and social emotional learning within everyday classroom strategies. Each day of the week represents a different sub-topic within wellness and mental health: emotional, physical, cognitive, social and self-spirit.
“When using the calendar as a class, you never know what topics or points of discussion will come up. One day’s inspirational video link may lead to a group assignment connected to several subject areas, which seamlessly links mental health and well-being to the Ontario curriculum,” says Bothmer, who helped create the calendar with a group of educators.
“I truly believe when students feel good about themselves, know they are safe and welcomed and understand how to self-regulate, the curriculum falls into place effortlessly and is much more meaningful,” added Bothmer. “There is something to do, listen to and talk about for each day of the month.”
The calendar is designed for guided use in the classroom so educators and students can have conversations together and engage in something that supports everyone as a whole classroom community, Bothmer explains.
“My hope is that everyone begins to feel more comfortable at school given the circumstances of this pandemic, for educators to explore wellness and mental-health more openly in their classrooms with students, for students to feel really good about who they are and talking about how they feel, and for families to continue to or begin to have open and real conversations about mental health in their households,” Bothmer says. “The feedback received from families has been nothing but positive. Families are using the activities at home and have felt the benefits of making time for wellness related conversations and activities as a family.”
The Wellness Calendar supports the goals outlined in the Board’s 2020-2024 Multi-Year Strategic Plan
, specifically in the Mental Health and Well-Being area of focus. The HDSB is committed to strengthening safe and caring environments that promote well-being including cognitive, emotional, social, spiritual and physical development, as well as academic development. The calendar incorporates resources from School Mental Health Ontario, which is guided by the commitments of the Ministry of Education to student mental health.
Educators are encouraged to share how they are incorporating the calendars in class through the HDSB Student Mental Health & Well-Being (@HDSB_smhwb
) Twitter account using the hashtag #wellbeingcalendar.