The Fort la Bosse School Division’s (FLBSD) MIND initiative has created the opportunity for our school to have its own MIND committee.
This committee has organized three successful Wellness Days, a day for students to learn about strategies that they can add to their own tool box. It empowers our youth to take this knowledge and apply it to their own lives.
VJH staff also learn about wellness and are encouraged to promote helpful strategies in their classrooms. Hopefully this goes beyond the classroom and generates conversation at home too.
The Virden Junior High along with FLBSD are committed to working together with our communities to prepare students for the future by providing quality education and fostering lifelong learning in caring environments while making the best possible use of resources.
Research shows that school-based mental health promotion programs:
- Increase mental well being
- Enhance regulation of emotions
- Enhance coping and problem-solving skills
- Increase engagement, achievement and attendance
- Enhance empathy and respect for diversity
- Decrease bullying and aggression.
As educators, we want to provide a safe and inviting community for our learners. VJH has several clubs that reach a variety of interests: chess club, running club, yoga club, environmental club, participaction and team sports.
We promote and encourage mindfulness in the classrooms. Students have access to guidance time and weekly visits from the school counselor.
The power of conversation is incredibly important to achieving wellness in our building. With conversation comes criticism, questions and concerns. However, since the initiative has been implemented, we as educators are starting to see a shift in the conversation. Once students start to understand the link between their wellness and its effect on the people around them, the change within the building can easily be seen:
-Students are being asked to pay attention to what they tell themselves - what is your inner dialogue?
-Students do not have devices during the school day, an intentional change to help eliminate distractions in a world full of noise. It allows them to take time to decompress and take a break from their devices.
-Students are proactive, starting to recognize the tools and strategies that work for them so they can eventually self-regulate independently.
Ideally we want students to understand that they have a lot of those tools right in front of them. The implementation of our MIND strategy has allowed us to focus on the power the brain can have over you and your body.
Submitted by the VJH MIND Committee: Keely Woods, Lea McPherson-Ross, Hanna Cantelo, Regan Brereton Waller, Jane Chandler
HOW THE MIND STRATEGY WORKS
Anger blocks the highway from your amygdala (the part of the brain that controls emotions) to the prefrontal cortex (the thinking center that helps you make decisions). However, when you are angry you have blocked that highway, losing the ability to think clearly.
By providing students with this narrative, the next time they feel angry or frustrated they will understand the importance of breathing and calming down before making a decision or reacting.
Educating them on the importance of being proactive instead of reactive also helps to diminish bullying. Using powerful lessons and strategies to help them navigate their feelings and encouraging them to pay closer attention to how they react to difficult situations or what they may say when frustrated has reduced bullying incidents.
Ultimately, the goal of the MIND initiative is to develop lifelong strategies that can be used beyond the classroom, and to continue to educate youth on the importance of mindfulness to create a safe and welcoming community within our building.
The MIND strategy helps to ensure that our students have the appropriate tools to manage their stressors, to encourage positive thinking, and continue to offer fun and engaging Wellness Days.