< Back to all Learnings

The value of a focus on social and emotional wellbeing needs to be clear to all those involved.

The value of a focus on social and emotional wellbeing needs to be clear to all those involved.

Throughout the past year, WellAhead provincial and district representatives hosted hundreds of conversations with students, parents, teachers, administrators, and community partners. We entered into these relationships with the assumption that those we were speaking to believed wellbeing to be an important role for schools, and were equipped with the knowledge, skills and resources necessary to spread this message in their communities.

We moved into talking about “how” to integrate wellbeing and “what” teachers could do, without spending time exploring and naming “why” this work was valuable. 

Over this past year, we discovered the importance of making the value proposition for social and emotional wellbeing as a key role for schools up front. Grounding this argument in evidence and tailoring it to different audiences and stakeholders are critical steps in developing a convincing argument that taps into the hearts and minds of local community. 

Our site visits with school and district stakeholders have pushed our thinking to consider not only the importance of communicating the value of social and emotional wellbeing, but how its framing might be different for administrators vs. educators vs. students. Example:

•    Why, should I as a teacher, take time out my busy schedule to do a talking circle? 
•    Why should I as a principal encourage teachers to take time away from curriculum to support wellbeing? 
•    Why should the district pay for a student wellbeing survey? 

One student’s story describing how they would not want to take a break for wellness in the middle of their favourite/most important class helped us to understand that students may need to be convinced as to the “why” just as much as anyone else. As one district planning team member said, “If you don’t understand why it’s important, wellbeing is just one more thing.”