In Year 1, WellAhead focused its efforts in British Columbia, where we supported 6 pilot school districts through a process based on a social innovation lab framework. The focus was on collectively brainstorming and then testing out “everyday practices” – sustainable, scalable approaches to advancing social and emotional wellbeing that are easily embedded into the school routine and don’t require significant resources or training.

We hypothesized that by demonstrating that schools and teachers could easily – through their
everyday work – impact student wellbeing, that districts would find it more feasible and reasonable to prioritize social and emotional wellbeing as a key role for its schools. In that sense, the everyday practices were meant as a gateway to broader change at the school and district level.

For more information on our work with pilot districts in BC, read our Year 1 report.

The Process

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Co-Design

(August–December 2015)

Each school district brought together a range of stakeholders (educators, administrators, students, parents, and community partners) involved in promoting students’ social and emotional wellbeing, as a way to help catalyze positive long-term change. Co-design was meant to surface the wide array of knowledge, lived experiences, and creativity of communities.


Prototyping

(January–June 2016)

A low-risk way of testing and improving ideas through rapid iteration. Educators implemented the everyday practices in their
own way, reflecting on essential elements, ways to share them with others, and how to integrate them into their work.

The following everyday practices were prototyped in Year 1:

2 x 10: A Solid Foundation

Connecting through 10 personal 2-minute interactions. Students are more connected to adults in the schools.

(SD 61 – Greater Victoria)

Be in Nature

Taking learning outdoors to explore and connect with nature. Students will be able to regularly practice physical health, interact with their peers (social learning), and self-regulate (calm) by being outdoors.

(SD 70 – Alberni)

Circle

Building connectedness by sitting in a circle and sharing together. Students develop confidence, build social skills and connectedness to peers and adults.

(SD 48 – Sea to Sky)

Mindful Pause

Pausing to take deep breaths and practice mindfulness. Students learn skills to reduce their own stress/anxiety and increase their focus.

(SD 43 – Coquitlam)

Monday Morning Connection

Intentionally re-establishing connections between teachers and students following the weekend. Students share and develop connection to teachers, enabling teachers to better meet students’ social and emotional needs throughout the school day.

(SD 67 – Okanagan Skaha)

Talking Circles

Gathering to share food, celebrate culture & build community. Students have opportunity to connect more deeply to their culture, develop confidence, build social skills and connectedness to peers.

(SD 92 – Nisga’a)

Wellness Wednesdays

Taking 10 minutes, every Wednesday, to focus on wellness. Students develop personal knowledge and skillsets in advancing their own wellbeing.

(SD 67 – Okanagan Skaha)


Scaling

(July-onwards)

Pilot districts are building on their learnings from co-design and prototyping to scale their everyday practices and advance
their own visions for integrating wellbeing into their district. Four of the six pilot districts have continued onto this phase and are being supported in Year 2.


The Pilot Districts

In Year 1, we worked with the following six school districts. Of these, four – Sea to Sky, Greater Victoria, Okanagan Skaha and Nisga’a – have continued on into scaling in Year 2. 

 

Coquitlam is an urban community near Vancouver, and the third largest district in BC.

Sea to Sky is a mixed urban/rural community north of Vancouver.

Victoria is an urban community on Vancouver island and is also the capital of BC.

Okanagan Skaha is a mixed urban/rural community in the interior Okanagan region of BC.

Alberni is a rural community on central Vancouver Island.

Nisga'a is a unique Nation located in Northern BC in the Nass Valley. The district includes four schools and students are primarily of Nisga’a descent.