The book “Well Aware: Developing Resilient, Active, and Flourishing Students” lends itself perfectly to the philosophy behind the Trillium Lakelands District School Board approach to health and well-being, ‘Feed all Four’. This approach stresses the importance of connecting, relating, and teaching to the ‘whole child’ by using the curriculum as the vehicle. Its foundation is based on Maslow's hierarchy of needs and the First Nations medicine wheel, and emphasizes the importance of balance between body, mind, spirit, and emotion for students and also for our staff.
The Well Aware resource supports the foundation of Feed All Four which moves away from the idea of mental health as ‘illness,’ and moves toward the fundamental importance of prevention. The focus on balance and positive school culture “compassion, inclusion, encouragement, and effective instruction” for example, are all preventative strategies that can work to protect our youth from becoming the ‘one-in-five statistic’ impacted by mental health issues in Canada.
This book also emphasizes the importance of staff wellness which is an integral part of Feed All Four. Flourishing students are developed, in part, by flourishing teachers.
The TLDSB Feed All Four team has introduced the Well Aware resource during presentations, PLCs, and to help develop school improvement plans. This resource was also reviewed with the TLDSB Mental Health Steering Committee, some of whom chose to purchase the book immediately. We have recently purchased a copy for every principal in our board and these will be distributed at a principal’s meeting in April to support our Feed All Four approach to health and well-being.
Healthy Active Living Consultant
Manager of Mental Health and Student Well Being
Special Programmes Consultant