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Building a Foundation of Wellbeing at West Meadow Elementary School

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Written by Carley Tinney, Family School Liaison Counsellor at West Meadow Elementary School in Claresholm

At West Meadow Elementary School, we strive to support the wellbeing of each student; we view school as not just a means to academic achievement, but also a place to grow emotional and social skills. We foster this through leadership opportunities that help the students individually and collectively as they develop communication skills and confidence. We know this greatly impacts their relationship with themselves and others. 

As the Family School Liaison Counsellor, I cultivate one one-on-one relationships with students, teach emotional literacy and regulation skills, support mental health, and build students' capacities for many aspects of their wellbeing. I also spend time in the classrooms presenting information on mental health, emotional regulation, friendship skills, anxiety, stress, conflict resolution, executive functioning, mindset, and many other topics. By doing this I am able to build relationships with the students and teach practices that benefit them in and out of school. 

I recently completed the Counsellor in the Classroom presentation with the grade 5 classes. Counsellor in the Classroom is a program developed by the Kids Help Phone to encourage the discussion of mental health and wellbeing. Kids Help Phone recently opened this program up to grades 4-6, so I could deliver age-appropriate information for the grade 5 students. 

The Counsellor in the Classroom program offers information and insight to students about mental health, stigma, resources, wellbeing, coping skills, and finding support. Over the course of 5 weeks, I presented a different mental health topic and the students participated in activities to help further their understanding. Students were able to learn to navigate the Kids Help Phone website and access the many resources and tools on the website.  It also provided the opportunity to discuss safe resources to access for mental health support. During our last session, we conducted a classroom-wide video call with a counsellor that works through the Kids Help Phone. The counsellor presented information on the many different types of calls she has received and the support counsellors with the Kids Help Phone can offer. She explained the different methods of communication the Kids Help Phone offers and answered many questions the students had prepared. The students were engaged, respectful, and expressed genuine interest throughout all of the sessions. 

For more information on Kids Help Phone, find them at

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