Kinder. Gentler. Stronger.
By Danielle Murphy and Karine El Chacra
How WE Well-being transformed one pilot school, as told by two educators.
The St. Maria Goretti School community is kinder thanks to WE Well-being. We are healthier. We are stronger. We are better leaders. We are more compassionate. We are more resilient. We are ever more grateful. We belong. The program changed us. It changed our students and it changed our classrooms. There’s been an uptick in recent years in the number of students struggling with mental wellness issues. WE Well-being provides teachers with a way to promote positive mental health and guide students to happy lives. Our journey at St. Maria Goretti began by embracing and reinforcing the importance of building a caring community. Our activities and lessons, guided byWE modules, supported the importance of taking care of each other and our classroom. The programhelped students to develop a better understanding of the importance of self-care and care for each other, especially during busy school days. TheWE lessons demonstrated the many ways that building empathy, compassion and gratitude can help promote well-being and mental health.
During classroom discussions and module activities, students discovered the power of simple actions. Daily activities changed mindsets. The program was embedded and intertwined in all aspects of our day. We would look at the scientific research, then put it to the test with activities such as gratitude walks, journaling and mindfulness exercises. TheWEWell-being program inspires leadership development. Bringing service learning to the classroom engages students on different levels. We watched mindsets shift from “me” to “we” as students collaborated on empathy projects— sock drives for the homeless, smile bags for shelters, fundraising for Sick Kids. Students showed pride in themselves and each other. They have become active citizens who care and contribute. If we were to give a message to other teachers, it would be to give the program a try. Thanks to WE Well-being, our hearts grew stronger and so did our minds. Now it is a part of everything we do.
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