It was Wellness Day at Elm Creek School last week and students and teachers were privy to a day of speakers and activities focused on positive physical and mental health.
“We decided a few years ago to go to every other year where we would bring in new speakers for wellness day focusing on physical and mental health especially,” said Lisa Carlson, Wellness Day planner. “So we try to do a mix of fun physical things, some art activities and have speakers talk about mental health.”
Some of the sessions included a guest from the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba who talked about the dangers of vaping.
“That’s been big in the news and in the school so we wanted to bring attention to the dangers of vaping,” said Carlson. “We had local artist Chris Larson who did different art activities with groups of kids, constable Gill from the Carman detachment who talked about different areas of youth in the law, texting and driving, driving under the influence and things like that.”
Students were then treated to a presentation from the school’s guidance counsellor who spoke about effective life skills, searching for a career and time management before the kids head off into the real world.
“We had a lady come from Elie who did Zoomba, which was popular with the kids,” she said. “Our gym teacher did weight techniques and our local youth pastor came with a giant deck of Dutch Blitz cards where the kids have to run with them and that was popular too. They are all great connections as resources in the community.”
Those sessions were offered in the afternoon and students were only allowed to pick three of the ones they were interested in the most.
“David Roberston, an author, spoke to truth and reconciliation and the search for his identity as he didn’t really feel his heritage growing up,” explained Carlson. “He talked about reading books and own voices, books written by those who are marginalized in a society like African Canadians, Indigenous authors, LGBTQ books and things like that. He reiterated the importance of reading those voices so students get to understand what others are going through or to be reading about someone like themselves in the character.”
Marlene Gallagher, Indigenous education advocate, consultant and lecturer also presented on Treaty Education and The Seven Teachings, something Elm Creek school is focusing on this school year.
“Respect, honesty and love, all traits that good human beings should have,” added Carlson. “Our school year is focused around traditional indigenous beliefs and the teachings of the sacred seven animals. We wanted to use that as an introduction for the kids because we’ve paired students up with older grades and younger grades and we’ll all get together and do activities together through the year.”
Next week students will be participating in Remembrance Day services with their paired class to show respect to the veterans of the community.