A major focus for our school this year is centred around establishing an inclusive and culturally safe environment, that is rooted in individual and collective well-being. In planning the strategies we would use to move toward this goal, our school considered the Indigenous Education Policy Framework document, Mamáhtawisiwin: The Wonder We are Born With, as well as the self-regulation and social development programs, Zones of Regulation and We Thinkers. Together, the principles and teachings of these works are being used to support students in living “The Good Life” – a term that encompasses the essential components of well-being; feelings of hope, belonging, meaning and purpose. One of the ways we are planning to foster these feelings in our students and staff is through our monthly, Well-Being Assembly. During these gatherings, Grade 1-4 students and staff come together to learn what it means to have hope, meaning, purpose and a sense of belonging in one’s life, and then working together in smaller, Good Life Groups to discuss and apply the teachings to their own lives.  Good Life Groups have a multi-grade composition, allowing students of different ages to work together and build community. Each group also includes one or two staff members, allowing students and staff who don’t regularly work together to build a relationship.  Our first two assemblies have focused on what it means to feel as though you belong. Literature and short video presentations have been used to introduce the topic to our whole school, who have then broken into their “Good Life Groups” to discuss what it means to be a friend, and how it feels to be excluded, for example. We are using a sharing circle format in our Good Life Groups, ensuring everyone has an opportunity to be heard, contribute their individual ideas, and learn the importance of listening and honoring the ideas of others. Future assembly plans include in-person presentations by Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers, as well as mental health professionals.

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