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Tommy Douglas Collegiate
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Wellness Week activities encourage students to consider their well-being

March 09, 2020

A week-long series of events and activities at Tommy Douglas Collegiate is one way the school is working to create conversations about wellness and provide opportunities for students (and staff) to reflect upon and set goals to improve overall wellness.

The school's second annual Wellness Week saw students participate in classroom-based activities, a wellness fair featuring a wide range of community organizations, and a variety of noon-hour events designed to bring students and staff together.

"As school administrators we believe well-being is important and we want to make sure our students and staff are looked after and are looking after themselves," said Vice Principal Jay Harvey. "Well-being makes you a better student and a better teacher.

"Throughout wellness week we came up with daily themes — physical, emotional, spiritual, mental. We are trying to get students to think about all aspects of their wellness."

Saskatoon Public Schools' strategic plan identifies well-being as one of four students goals and a key aspect of success in school. The goal is to help students develop the skills to make healthy choices; equip students so they know how to take care of themselves; and support them in being physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually strong.

Classroom activities at Tommy Douglas addressed the four themes through the presentation and discussion of topics including overall wellness, sleep, nutrition, physical activity, and screen time.

TDCInews8.jpgA wellness fair attended by all students included information and opportunities to learn more about such things as support animals, massage, nutrition, and Indigenous culture. Partners including the Saskatoon Public Library, massage therapy students from McKay Career Training, and St. John Ambulance took part.

Harvey said Wellness Week was a way to support students and show them the number of resources and opportunities available to support their well-being, whether in school or the wider community.

A particular focus this year was spirituality. Students were asked to consider what gives their life purpose, what provides them with meaning or hope, and how they find comfort and work through difficult times or challenging situations.

TDCInews1.jpgNoon-hour activities included fitness classes, Indigenous games, board games, and a drop-in art experience. Several encouraged connections between students and staff members through a staff vs. student badminton tournament and improv theatre games.

"That's one of the biggest pieces, letting students see you with that different hat on and building those connections," Harvey said. "Hopefully students feel more comfortable talking to teachers about wellness and maybe about other issues going on in their lives."

The support of staff in organizing and leading classroom and noon-hour activities, along with the contributions of the school's various community partners, was an important part of the week's success.

"It brought everyone on board," Harvey said. "We have a great partnership with our student nurses and they have been heavily involved in everything from running competitions to setting up a booth in the wellness fair to helping with the planning."

The week-long event is just one example of the school's support of student  wellness. Harvey said the work doesn't begin or end with wellness week, it's an ongoing commitment throughout the year, particularly as students and staff look ahead to the final few months of school.

"It's teaching them skills and a sensitivity to take time for themselves. Hopefully they carry that forward right to the end of the semester. There will be other things that we do through Move To Grow, such as bike-to-work day, that we can promote and keep tying back into what we are doing with wellness."