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Teachers of Tomorrow
Advancing school wellness through teacher preparedness.
The Teachers of Tomorrow initiative proposes an upstream approach to addressing student well-being through the issue of teacher preparedness, situating it both as a proximal factor with immediate student impact, and as a critical lever of systemic change utilizing a Comprehensive School Health (CSH) approach.
Recognizing the potential for downstream student impacts and for rippling across educational contexts, Ever Active Schools began actively partnering with the Werklund School of Education (WSE) in 2011 to accelerate closure of the critical gap between how teachers are prepared to address wellness and what they are expected to do in practice.
These collaborative efforts have both informed, and been informed by, the culture of wellness in the Faculty at WSE and in school communities across Alberta. The results of this work has been a prototype for a system of wellness education, modelled on the CSH approach and involving the development of key partnerships, addressing the social and physical environments of the faculty, implementing healthy school policies and requiring mandatory coursework in wellness education.
This work has since evolved to include work with three other project sites in an intensive way (the University of Alberta (U of A), University of Lethbridge (U of L) and Concordia University of Edmonton (CUE)), and a total of 14 other corresponding sites that are involved in a network of universities sharing their journeys.
Currently, we are working with a total of four primary project sites across Alberta (UofA, UofL, CUE and WSE). Each site has formed a team of health/wellness champions and has worked to assess their current states of wellness within their Faculties. Each of the sites is now in the phase of creating and implementing an action plan. Support for the primary project sites will continue through to Fall 2020.
More than 1,000 students from the Werklund School of Education have completed the mandatory course in Comprehensive School Health and Wellness as of February 2019. The next cohort will begin the course in January of 2020. At the University of Lethbridge and Concordia University of Edmonton students have all had an opportunity to experience half day wellness events, which overviewed CSH and gave them an opportunity to experience sessions of their choice related to the CSH priority areas (Active Living, Healthy Eating and Positive Mental Well-being).
Corresponding national sites have been involved through the National Forum on Wellness in Post Secondary Education, which was hosted for the first time in November 2018 at Concordia University of Edmonton, and then most recently at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC in October 2019, co-hosted by Ever Active Schools, the Werklund School of Education and the University of British Columbia. Ever Active Schools and the Werklund School of Education are now seeking up to five additional pilot sites in faculties of education across Canada to further engage these corresponding sites.