b'HELPING STUDENTS THRIVE PROMOTING MENTAL HEALTHAT MARION SCHOOLAT COLE JULIE-RIEL Educators at Marion School strive to ensure that every studentAs LRSD continued its journey in implementing a comprehensive learns the strategies and resources they need to cope withmental health promotion strategy divisionally, an eight-member lifes many challenges during their school career and beyond.mental health promotion team at cole Julie-Riel (JR) wasParticipating in the Thrival Kits pilot was an opportunity forhard at work supporting the well-being of students and staff.clinicians and educators to implement a curriculum-basedWith participation from administrators, classroom teachers, mental health promotion program for children that introducesstudent services teachers and clinicians, the team supported students to a variety of mental health promotion activities.dozens of wellness strategies for staff, students and families The Thrival Kit is a shoebox sized package that students fillbased on their assessment and planning processes throughout with small, meaningful items as they complete brief classroomthe year. They also included strategies that supported the mental health activities throughout the school year. Thrivalwellbeing of staff while building their capacity to give generously Kits provide students with daily reminders and opportunities to their students.to self-regulate and practice mindfulness techniques, said Mike Engstrom, Grade 6/7 Teacher at Marion School.We created a sense of community with each other and with our Providing our students with self-reflective journal times gaveclassrooms, said Denise de Rocquigny-King, teacher at JR. them a safe opportunity to be honest with themselves aboutWe understood the importance of bringing joy where and when how they were feeling. This is a necessary practice for allpossible, especially for our students.students and educators alike. Extra ways to connect with colleagues through treats, games, Daily Thrival Kit activities, such as mindfulness, promotelearning, and sharing helped staff feel closer and better prepared mental well-being and teach students specific strategiesto foster belonging and positive mental health for their students. that protect their mental health. Students can access theirStaff meetings, though virtual, included kindness icebreakers, individual boxes and use the tools at any point of the schoolsharing of mental health resources, and ongoing support for day. Wealth Oyowe, a grade 4 student commented that hismental health promotion activities. In between meetings, the favourite tool in his kit is a grandfather rock; a rock thatteam worked on trauma-sensitive learning, built Thrival Kits he specifically selected after hearing a teaching about thewith students, held spirit weeks and holiday celebrations, and meaning of grandfather rocks to Indigenous Peoples. I learnedsupported school-wide regulation activities such as movement how to calm myself down and take control of my emotions,breaks and mindfulness practices.said Wealth.With mental health promotion as a core component of their Teachers can incorporate their own favourite mental healthschool plan, the leadership team at JR was able to lay the practices into a Thrival Kit session or invite another trustedfoundation for a difficult but rewarding school year. This enabled adult with a specific skill set to introduce a topic or activity.staff to feel valued and capable of supporting their students in At the end of the school year, students get to take their kitswell-becoming. It was essential to have administrators that were home encouraging the daily use of mental health promotioncompletely on board with promoting mental health and wellbeing strategies throughout the summer. Next school year, the teamfor all staff members, said Elissa Hart, speech-language looks forward to building on this years momentum; furtherpathologist. I believe the staff at the school have really benefited embedding Thrival Kits into classroom practices. from the many supports that were provided to boost staff morale and overall mental health and wellbeing.India Friesen, a grade 5 student, listed some of the most impactful activities for her this year, including Kidney Awareness Week, Orange Shirt Day, journal writing and the Beyond the We created a sense of community withHorizon Youth Summit. My teachers gave each kid a voice and each other and with our classrooms. would always listen to us, said Friesen.We understood the importance ofAmong the many impacts of the mental health promotion work at JR, staff reported a sense of family, collaboration and bringing joy where and when possible,connection, as well as low staff absenteeism. The team ended the 2020-2021 school year having fostered positive mental health especially for our students. and wellbeing during an unpredictable and challenging year. DENISE DE ROCQUIGNY-KING CO-AUTHORED BY Teacher at JR Steven Lawrie, Director of Inclusion and Clinical Services,and the Clinical Services Team31'