WellAhead is a philanthropic initiative that aims to improve child and youth mental health by integrating social and emotional wellbeing into K-12 education. They are focused on long-term change — shifting culture, structures, priorities, and practices of schools and the education system at-large to better incorporate social and emotional wellbeing as a key role.
With the renewed physical health and education (PHE) K-9 curriculum, there has been limited support for teachers in particular. WellAhead heard from teachers that they struggle to find resources, though teaching new and uncomfortable subjects may also be a factor. The seven new content PHE areas are: healthy relationships, mental wellbeing, healthy behaviour, healthy eating, media awareness and personal safety, physical literacy, and sexual health.
The WellAhead team and DashBC saw the value in applying a user-centred design approach and team to work with BC’s top PHE teachers. Harmonesse was chosen to facilitate this approach, working to train the teachers in a series of co-design workshops. They created a brief around co-creating a set of insights and ideas to inform the design of quality, free PHE resources that meet teachers’ diverse needs, along with easy ways to access and share them.
Harmonesse facilitated 6 days of workshops to get to the bottom of how students could benefit from quality PHE resources, providing the teachers with easy access and sharing them. Using a variety of system change, design thinking, and design research techniques, teachers were empowered to draw insight and generate ideas from interviewing and working with their peers.
From the interviews, a few insights such as PHE teachers needing simple and accessible resources, how they were uncomfortable leading mental and sexual health curricula, and how like-minded organizations had limited awareness of each other’s work arose, inspiring discussions around possible solutions.
Ten quality resource principles were created including principles such as: aligning with curriculum core competencies, being evidence-based and teacher-vetted, up-to-date, and having age-appropriate content. Three teams of PHE teachers from K-12 developed concepts to address the pain points across all BC teachers. The developed concepts included online resources, free courses, and a mentor network where each team took on a concept to create a ‘concept ecosystem’.
The diversity of stakeholders from across the ecosystem including government, not-for-profit, school boards, and teachers came together to listen to the final presentation, taking part in bringing the concepts to life through new collaborations and alignment.
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