Well-Being in Connected North Schools

What influences Well-Being at Connected North Schools?

Relationship with Peers/Students Culture, Language and Identity Food and Nutrition Hope for the Future Arts and Recreation Relationship with Staff and Authority Parent and Family Involvement
Framework by TakingITGlobal, Visual Story by Alexander Angnaluak

Introduction & Purpose

You are invited to join us in a creative reflection and journey of understanding towards how we can nurture well-being within classrooms and communities. We each have an important role and contribution to make.

This tool was developed as a learning resource and collaborative planning guide. The conceptual ideas were developed by Connected North team members at TakingITGlobal based on experiences and conversations with community members during visits and video conferencing sessions. The literature review is a growing base of knowledge that we will continue to reference as additional resources become available.

The Connected North program delivers interactive education services to schools in remote northern Indigenous communities through high-definition two-way video communication and collaboration technology. During this school year, over 1,800 virtual field trips and guest speaker sessions have been delivered to our 71 partner schools.

Each element of the diagram in this Connected North Well-being Framework includes a Visual Story shared by artist Alexander Angnaluak, inviting us to both learn from his experience and reflect on our own personal and intergenerational experiences in our journey towards individual and community wellbeing.

Particular sections in this framework (such as the “harmful vs helpful”) are tailored to audiences of teachers, administrators, health professionals and policy makers who are seeking to make decisions and investments that support well-being.

We have chosen to share these insights in a public form as a tool to inspire and co-design approaches that support well-being for Indigenous learners and schools.

We have also prepared a collection of additional references and resources in this area to recognize and highlight the important work already developed by other organizations and researchers.

Defining Mental Health & Wellness

"First Nations believe that wholeness includes health and wellness of body, mind, heart and spirit within interdependent relationships with family, community, and creation. Their cultural knowledge does not narrowly focus on “deficits”. Rather, it is grounded in strength and resilience. In this worldview, families care for each other, are mutual respectful, and see each other as important. From such vibrant families, healthy First Nations communities are built and continue to grow and thrive across Canada."

(First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Framework, 2015)

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health defines mental health as:

  • “Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and relational balance”

  • “Ability to enjoy life and deal with everyday challenges”

  • “Finding balance over time and in a range of situations”

Mental health is a "dynamic state of internal equilibrium..." (Galderisi, Heinz, Kastrup, Beezhold, & Satorius, 2015)

Acknowledgements

The conceptual framework, insights and content reflected here has been developed collaboratively by members of the Connected North team at TakingITGlobal inspired by the communities we partner with.

Special thanks to Alexander Angnaluak, Doronn Fox, Nyle Johnston, Nigit'stil Norbert, Dallas Pelly, Waukomaun Pawis, Magdalena Kelly, Chris McLeod, Jason Jones, Mitch Holmes, Shelton Nipisar, Kim Dymond, Andrea Breen, Michael Furdyk, Edgar Gonzalez, Peyton Straker, and Jennifer Corriero.

We gratefully acknowledge youth, educators, elders and leaders from Connected North partner communities who have graciously shared their experiences, hopes, challenges and feedback with our team. In particular, we appreciate active inputs towards this framework from the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Saskatchewan and Ontario.

We would also like to thank Vani Jain and the team at the McConnell Family Foundation for their support as thought partners.

© 2020 TakingITGlobal and Alexander Angnaluak. All rights reserved. Contact [email protected] for inquiries.