Division News Article

Pembina Hills Staff February 2 PD Day focuses on mental health

February 6th, 2024

The division-wide Professional Development Day on Friday, February 2 provided staff with an opportunity to focus on different components of their own and student mental health. The morning began with a keynote speaker, the division’s very own Dr. Rob McGarva, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services and was followed by sessions categorized as Regulate, Relate and Reason with most being led by Pembina Hills staff.

Dr. Rob McGarva delivering his keynote address

The first round of morning sessions was centred on understanding Regulation — Regulation is foundational to connecting and learning together and, much like our students, adults need to be regulated.

Staff were able to choose between an incredible variety of body-based regulation activities to explore what kinds of activities help them regulate, co-regulate with others, how to recognize some of the barriers to regulation (and how to overcome them) and how regulation is a pre-requisite for learning.

The second round of morning sessions shifted to Relate — relating to those that staff work with daily and understanding that activities and environments can be designed to support relationships and enhance connectedness.

Relate sessions were designed for staff to acquire knowledge and practical skills that enhance relationship-building strategies and also reflect on daily activities, structures and routines that increase student connectedness and sense of belonging.

The final sessions in the afternoon were around Reason — what staff need to know about mental health to be able to teach students from available curriculum resources, how to identify ways to incorporate mental health literacy into instruction, building confidence around processes when kids are unsafe and implementing lessons and practices to foster positive mental health of students.

Session topics ranged from the new grades 4-6 Mental Health Curriculum to addictions, consent, fostering positive mental health, collaborative problem solving and more.

The afternoon was capped off with Dr. McGarva pulling the day’s learnings together, connecting the dots between Regulation, Relate and Reason and highlighting the resources available in Pembina Hills.

A special thanks to all of our presenters, session leaders and the organizers of the day!