May 4, 2020 – Over the last seven weeks, students, families, and staff have had to leave their schools to practice physical distancing; it hasn’t been easy. Staff miss seeing their students in the classroom and walking the halls. Students wish they could play with their friends in the school yard. And parents are helping their kids learn from home. But amid this new reality, many parents are worried that their kids are struggling from a lack of social connection.
We understand these concerns, which is why our schools have been committed to keeping their students connected. Many schools have made heartwarming videos for their students, while others have sent cards home. There are staff who have hosted virtual story hours, and some who have encouraged students to send inspirational messages out to their community. We’re so proud of this wonderful work, but we know there’s always room for more.
DSBN is recognizing Mental Health Week by offering uniquely designed lesson plans to engage students in this year’s theme, the importance of social connection. At a time when we need to support each other more than ever, we’re inviting students to learn why having meaningful, real social connections are so good for their mental health and well-being. Amanda Sherman, DSBN’s Mental Health Lead, emphasizes just how valuable sharing strategies with students to stay mentally healthy are, especially right now.
“This year, while we’re all rising to the challenge of self-isolation, we have an opportunity to explore resiliency and well-being with students, and to use this current experience to understand the value of connecting with others,” said Sherman.
Mental health and well-being lesson plans have been prepared for Grades 1-12 and will be rolled out to students and families over the next three weeks. Topic focuses include fighting loneliness; acts of kindness and gratitude; and the importance of being a good listener.
“Supporting the mental health and well-being of our students is a top priority for us,” said Wes Hahn, Superintendent of Special Education, Mental Health & Well-Being, and Equity at the DSBN. “We’re so fortunate to have a passionate staff who are equipping students with relevant resources, helping them gain a deeper understanding of their mental health during a time they’ve never encountered before.”
To experience the strong sense of DSBN community with us, follow our Twitter page @DSBN and join in on the uplifting messages, acts of kindness, and hope pouring in from across Niagara