Let’s talk about mental health in Ontario. Since the start of the pandemic, the world of education has been taken down one bumpy and curvy road filled with potholes, mixed signals, and U-turns. Students are struggling and/or thriving in this drastic shift of a learning environment as educators continuously put their heart and soul into student learning. Essentially, we as educators appear to need help, mental health resources, and most importantly compassion.
Especially before we run out of gas.
So where can we refuel ourselves on this unforeseen ending road of COVID-19?
I’m starting to realize I am not alone. Educators across the world are asking similar questions as we swerve in and out of the online and in-class classroom. So let’s pull over on the side of the road at the nearby gas station. Let’s take a minute and breathe. Close your eyes, relax and let’s refuel.
Prioritizing Student Mental Health in Ontario
As a social-emotional learning (SEL) organization, we are thrilled to see the Ontario government is planning to provide over $80 million to fund student mental health in Ontario for both in-class and online learning.
We strive to provide mental health resources through the numerous activities and lessons on our website. We are directly serving youth through skill development in topics such as self-regulation, perseverance, optimism, and more to ensure they grow up happy, healthy, and empathetic. Due to the pandemic, there is an increased demand for more services supporting youth. By creating structure and a safe space to talk about emotions, Peekapak is providing a service to youth to help support them through the mental health crisis resulting from COVID-19.
Adapting for the road ahead for mental health
Here at Peekapak we have intentionally pulled over and adapted our program to best support you and your students for the winding road ahead.
We have partnered with Kahoot! to create 10 free pandemic-specific Kahoot! lessons that support Pre-K to 5 students with managing and making sense of their emotions throughout the pandemic.
New Remote Lessons and Lesson Series for Mental Health
We have also adapted our social-emotional learning curriculum to support both synchronous and asynchronous platforms that not only can be done in school but at home.
For remote learning, we have created 50 online presentations per grade level that you can lead with your students. As well we are providing classrooms with asynchronous materials such as video lessons, and access to myPeekaville. While working closely with educators, we also designed a new unit book and lesson series, “Back to School with the Peekaflu”, to help educators facilitate important conversations around the anxieties faced about returning to school during a pandemic.
With the residents of Peekaville getting sick, lots of activities are getting cancelled causing Cody to get angry and scared. How can Cody get through this sudden change in his life? He needs some help from you!
Free Access to our Self-Regulation Unit
We also opened free access to our self-regulation unit for 30 days, to help students manage their behaviours and express emotions in constructive ways. As students become aware of their feelings, they will gain the skills of articulating their emotions and make decisions on how to respond to stimulation.
Why is Self-Regulation Important?
Self-regulation is crucial as we continue to face the unknown. Studies show that the more aware of our emotions we become, the greater the ability to function in academic and social settings.
In our self-regulation unit, we walk you and your students through bite-sized lessons on how to identify, demonstrate and apply self-regulation. Starting off with a letter from Leo the Hedgehog, students are presented with easily relatable scenarios and situations and learn the value of identifying and communicating their emotions.
Other Pit Stops that Support K to 5 Students
An educator focused platform built by educators with free access to standard aligned lesson plan templates. Check out the elementary lesson plans under the Grades dropdown tab! Type in Peekapak into the search bar and find some of our content!
An excellent engagement tool involving games, movies and activities to support the needs of educators and students through reflection and universal topics! Click on the Health and SEL section to learn more about relationships, emotions and more!
Free printable yoga icons and cards to help get your students engaged, out of their seat and active for brief moments of time. Need a stretch break from a long day? Pretend to be a jellyfish or a crab!
A great platform with numerous resources to help yourself, your friends and more. Read some personal stories under the expression tab or check out some of the mental health tools you can download onto your computer or mobile device.
School Mental Health Ontario
Numerous resources for educators, families and students to take care of mental health in Ontario during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Check out some of my personal favourites in the stretching and gratitude sections!
For more resources, check out our blog post on Free At-Home Learning for Elementary Students.
To find out more about Peekapak’s resources, please check out the following link. Have a question or want to learn more? Request information here or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. As a Toronto-based organization, we would love to support our local school partners, and feel free to give us a call at 1-888-415-5318.
Now, when you’re ready, let’s get back on the road.