Healthy spaces

Why healthy spaces? 

Healthy spaces refer to the emotional, learning, teaching and working related components of a classroom and a school. Making your own health and well-being a priority is important, because in order to be effective teachers and leaders, we have to be healthy ourselves. Prioritizing this isn’t always easy. Many of us are trying to balance busy personal lives and responsibilities, our roles as professionals in the workplace and meeting the needs of students. It’s no surprise that many surveys and polls indicate that not feeling ‘good enough’ is a common experience among teachers.

What are the essential features?

The components for a healthy space include:

  • safety (emotional, relational, physical, cognitive, and professional),
  • autonomy (for teachers and for students),
  • opportunity (to try, to fail, to succeed, to learn from both success and failure) and support.

Building healthy school communities

How we build healthy school communities? PHE Canada’s Health Promoting Schools program is built on 5 pillars:

  • Teaching and Learning
  • Physical and Social Environment
  • Evidence
  • Policy
  • Community Partnerships and Services

This approach ensures that the health needs of the school community are taken care of in a holistic manner.  For example, teaching students about the importance of healthy eating (Teaching and Learning) is more likely to change behaviour if healthy foods are also sold in the cafeteria (Physical Environment) and staff and peers model healthy eating behaviours (Social Environment). 

The resources you will find here address building healthy spaces from a number of directions

  • working with students and their families,
  • ideas for parents, working with colleagues, and
  • working within systems.

Many of these resources have been developed by your teacher colleagues. We have recommendations for other programs and resources that come with credibility from research and practice, to help you build healthy spaces for yourself and your students.

Making mental health a priority is a key feature here. Building it in to everyday practice is critical.

Suggested resources

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Teacher self care

What did you wish you knew as a new teacher?

Experienced teachers offer tips and advice to new teachers. 


Teacher focused wellness tips

Created by teachers and for teachers, this infographic offers top tips on how to maintain mental wellness. 


Administrator focused wellness tips

Experienced principals offer top tips on how to build and maintain a mentally healthy working environment. 


Stop calling it stress leave 

This podcast discusses the state of mental health awareness within the profession of education. 


Burned in: fuelling the fire to teach

A book to inspire, motivate, and sustain teachers on all levels of their journey. Help fuel educators’ passion for teaching so they stay ''burned in'' instead of burning out.

 

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Working with students

Tough conversations 

Mary Ott, a skilled researcher with over 10 years of experience in special education, talks about the tough conversations that occur between schools and parents about child mental health. [podcast] 


Student focused wellness tips

21 practical strategies to be used in the moment when talking to students about concerns, or to help build stronger relationships and accepting classroom environments. 


EduGAINS: Video resources

EduGAINS is a website for ministry developed resources to support policies and programs related to improved learning and teaching – K. to 12 - in Ontario schools.