Everyday Mental Health
Children’s Mental Health Week is an important reminder to stop and take a few days to really put the spotlight on our kids’ mental health. It’s an imperative and vital event that we embrace every year.
But at KCS, children’s mental health is not just a week, it’s every day. As a school, we have made mental health one of our top priorities. The entire staff and faculty have been trained in mental health first aid. The KCS Habits of Mind, Body and Action are designed to build healthy attitudes towards anxiety, risk-taking, fear, resilience and one’s own self-image. And our Head of School, Derek Logan, has put children’s mental health at the core of his own personal and professional growth. His tireless work in this area has made him one of the foremost advocates for mental health awareness and support in the Canadian independent school community.
Our holistic and daily approach to mental health can be seen in many different places throughout the school. The Grade 1 students are taught to manage their emotions with the help of “Meddy Teddy”, their yoga-loving stuffed bear. The Grade 3 students are encouraged to self-select times when they need to take a movement or calming break in order help them develop their self-regulation skills. Each year we offer two weeks of Yoga instruction in December for staff and students and our youngest students in the Early Learning Program include yoga as part of their PE classes on a regular basis. There’s also a Yoga and Mindfulness elective, where students in grades 6-8 set their own emotional goals and then learn different meditation and yoga techniques to help them reach those goals. This year we introduced the Empowerment Project to our grade 5 students, where they participated in regularly scheduled workshops that are designed to help them learn how to take the initiative to manage and advocate for their own mental health and happiness.
We also simply incorporate a number of healthy attitudes into our day-to-day life here at KCS. In classes, during clubs and on the playground, we learn to focus on gratitude, compassion, self-respect and empathy – all key aspects of a balanced and healthy mindset.
We still make it a point to focus on Children’s Mental Health Week with all kinds of wonderful special guests and events, but we also know that mental health can’t be relegated to one week a year. Because our kids deserve everyday mental health.