Boy looking at a computer screen. (Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels.com)
The province is unveiling free online educational programs to complement home-learning.
Education minister Rob Fleming said these learning tools for students, families, and teachers offer interactive lessons to support their health and well-being.
The virtual WE Well-being program recently launched as part of the new WE Schools at home program.
Accessible for K-12 students in both English and French, the program is aimed at youth who are experiencing anxiety and social isolation during the pandemic.
It places a special emphasis on WE Well-being online learning, including social-emotional learning and resiliency.
Developed in collaboration with B.C. teachers, the Ministry of Education and University of British Columbia and mental health professionals, the program provides teachers with curriculum resources for students in elementary schools that cover self-awareness and personal responsibility, with plans to expand to high schools.
The program was launched in 2018 as a pilot and has involved over 3,500 students, 150 educators, 43 schools, and 11 school districts to date.
Also available to parents and caregivers is the new EASE (Everyday Anxiety Strategies for Educators) at Home program.
It focuses on tips and strategies parents can use with their children to create calming routines, help them talk about difficult emotions, and manage their anxiety.
Kits have been developed for students in kindergarten to Grade 3 and Grade 4-7 students, and provide five weeks of activities, with a different game or story for each day.
Activities are research based and proven to help younger children calm themselves, learn relaxation techniques and understand their worries.
“This is a difficult time, especially for children and youth who are safely distancing from friends and relatives and who may be feeling stressed or anxious from all the recent changes in their lives,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development.
“These new EASE at Home resources will provide parents with simple activities that they can model for their kids and include in daily routines.”
The province says the WE Well-being and EASE at Home materials complement the announcement of $5 million to expand existing mental-health programs and launch new services to support British Columbians around COVID-19.
One focus of the funding is a new virtual clinic that will make Foundry services available around the province for young people aged 12 to 24 years and their families through voice, video and chat.
“This crisis is taking a toll on the mental health of British Columbians of all ages, including young people and their families,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.
“This new resource is great news for students who are missing connections with friends and teachers, parents who are adapting to the needs of their children in new ways, and educators who are working hard to support both the academic and emotional well-being of their students.”