Many students, teachers and parents are dealing with uncertainty, anxiety and stress as schools gear up to open this month. Moreover, students are returning back to classrooms after months of isolation and virtual learning and there are going to be unique challenges that will need to be addressed.
This is why Calmversation Learning Foundation, a B.C.-based non-profit founded by educator Jena Sharma, prepared a free Kindergarten to Grade 12 Social and Emotional Learning Care Kit for Canadian educators.
The back-to-school care kit is designed to help support teachers and homeschoolers in managing students’ social and emotional well-being.
Funded by the Canadian Red Cross and the federal government, the kit consists of 40 lesson plans that will be released weekly, beginning Aug. 24.
“Providing social and emotional learning opportunities for students is critical at a time when children are returning to school after months of uncertainty, social isolation and virtual learning,” said Sharma.
The program also equips educators to “positively impact students and minimize anxiety and apprehension as they head back to the classroom,” she said.
Along with videos, activities and discussion prompts, the kit includes guidelines on creating new classroom norms like establishing a safe and respectful social distancing environment.
Creating a calming space and inclusive learning environment for students in class and at home is another aspect that the program provides insight into.
Along with ensuring physical safety, the program also pays attention to children’s mental health with practices like emotional check-ins with students, ensuring that educators are setting a tone that allows kids to feel heard and comfortable.
The program also consists of communication tools for covering topics relating to race, privilege and prejudice and self-care and support for educators.
The program is available for educators for free until Nov. 30. Enrollments can be done at calmversation.org
In addition to the care kit, the Calmversation Learning Foundation will be launching a series of online workshops and live Facebook events to engage educators on subjects relating to the current social climate, address concerns and provide community, support and training.