Our Journey to Develop a Holistic Mental Health Plan at CWAA
Prior to this school year beginning, we identified a need for a school-wide Holistic Mental Health Plan for our students. There are many good reasons for this plan, as children’s mental health issues can dramatically impact their ability to learn at school, as well as to form relationships with their peers. During the past 15 years of my work in education I have seen a dramatic increase in the issues children are experiencing surrounding mental and sexual health issues, in particular. And irrespective of the education environment (secular or Christian), more and more children are experiencing a variety of mental health problems including anxiety, depression, feelings of suicide, self-harm, insomnia, gaming addictions, pornography, relationship and boundary problems related to inappropriate touch and sexual abuse. The magnitude of these problems and the resulting consequences for children and society increases the need for preventative education. For this reason we have solicited the help of a team of parents to serve on a Mental Health/Sexual Health Advisory Team for the purpose of identifying relevant areas of concern to our students, parents and teachers. The mandate of the Advisory Team is to put an appropriate plan in place to provide necessary education and supports to our students, parents and teachers surrounding identified areas of concern.
At our first meeting in October, the Mental Health/Sexual Health Advisory Team identified the critical need of 1) understanding the specific issues facing our families and teachers, and 2) establishing clear and safe relationship boundaries at school so children could learn in a safe environment. Since then we continue to identify ways to gather education resources and engage professionals to support a Holistic Mental Health Plan. We have also taken steps to engage the best educators available to us (child psychologists and social workers) to provide consultation to our community. Last Thursday, we were pleased to present a parent/teacher seminar on how to empower children to address issues related to inappropriate touch and child sexual abuse. This presentation was delivered by social workers from the Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse. We are also in the process of advancing a plan to provide ongoing student education on setting healthy boundaries with friends in our learning environment at school so our school can be a healthy and safe environment for all members of our community.
As we continue to raise and educate our children in our complex society, may we lean on God for wisdom and understanding. May we always remember that God is the great healer and He has a great plan for our children, to deliver them from Satan’s bondage and to loose the chains that bind them. May we ever be mindful that “the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
To help us with our continued education efforts, we need your help! Within the next few days we will be sending out a Parent Survey entitled, “Social, Mental, Physical and Sexual Health at CWAA”. Please take the time to provide us with your direct feedback! Thank you for your continued prayers and support in providing a Christ-centered education environment for our children.
ELEMENTARY PARENT/STUDENT CONFERENCES: Please join your child’s teacher(s) in meaningful discussions about learning successes and future goals. To schedule your 15-minute appointment on Tuesday, December 9 between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., call or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
CWAA’S ANNUAL CHRISTMAS CONCERT DECEMBER 11: Come celebrate the season and enjoy our student performances “Little Christmas Traveler” through songs and a drama at 7:00 p.m. There will be EARLY SCHOOL DISMISSAL at 2:25 p.m. that day.
CHRISTMAS CAROLING: Monday, December 15 –Friday, December 19 from 8:30 – 8:40 a.m. All parents are invited to join us in the gym for 10 minutes of Christmas singing.
SCHOOL PICTURES: Though your school portrait order due date has passed, you can still order on line at MyLifetouch.ca. Online orders will be shipped home when there is a shipping fee applied to the order and will ship to school if there is no shipping fee applied.
AAEC NEWSLETTER: Please click the button below to read the Alberta Adventist Education Communication newsletter.
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IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES:
Dec 2 Flames vs Arizona Coyotes Hockey Game
Dec 5 Elementary Report Cards Sent Home
Dec 9 Elementary Parent/Student-led Conference 4-8 pm
Dec 11 Christmas Concert 7 p.m.
Dec 12 CWAA Christmas Choir & Band Concert at Covenant Nursing Home 7 pm
Dec 15 School Board Meeting 7 pm
Dec 19 Last Day of Classes-Christmas Break (12 p.m. Early Dismissal)
Jan 5 Classes Resume for Students
Are we honest about our weaknesses and mistakes? It seems as though our culture promotes the importance of appearing to be perfect. Children tell Santa that they have been good because they want that great new toy, or maybe they don’t want that lump of coal in their stocking on Christmas. Adults try to present themselves in the best possible way on resumes and during job interviews. But there is value in honestly admitting our shortcomings! As Jim Burns points out in his book, Confident Parenting, “The most genuine, authentic people are those who admit their struggles and seek God’s unfailing love and forgiveness.” Let us seek to be authentic in our lives and with our families!
“But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”” (2 Corinthians 12:9a ESV).
Pastor Brent Wilson