‘Student well-being’ to be promoted in Ontario

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Ontario is releasing a discussion document to engage with education partners, parents and students on the well-being of children and students in Ontario’s publicly funded education system.

A news release in Toronto said on Tuesday that research shows that children who have a positive sense of well-being are more resilient and better positioned to make positive and healthy choices to support their life-long learning. “Students cannot achieve academically if they do not feel safe or welcomed at school, if their well-being is at risk or if they lack the tools necessary to live active and healthy lifestyles, both at home and in the classroom. Children who have a positive sense of self are better equipped to meet the challenges of a fast-paced and increasingly interconnected world.”

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Liz Sandals, Minister of Education, said: “Our children are our most valuable asset, and it is our job to ensure that they are well prepared for the future so they develop into confident, capable and caring citizens. Our success in promoting well-being will depend on the knowledge, passion and dedication of everyone working together — including Ontario’s educators, staff, students and their families.”

Taking cues from First Nations, Métis and Inuit ways of knowing and holistic perspectives of education, starting in the fall of 2016, Ontario will build on the release of the discussion document by launching an engagement process with its education partners to establish a common understanding of what promoting well-being means in schools and to develop ways to measure progress in promoting child and student well-being. In future years, the province will also seek feedback about enhancing well-being for children in the early years, as well as educators and staff.

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The discussion document highlights well-being initiatives already underway in schools across Ontario, including fostering and promoting:

  • Positive Mental Health
  • Safe and Accepting Schools
  • Healthy Schools
  • Equity and Inclusive Education

Focusing on well-being is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by e xpanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.

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Between 2004-05 and 2015-16, the government invested more than $540 million in safe schools and equity and inclusive education to support the work of school boards and school communities. In 2016-17, total projected funding of $65 million will be invested to further support schools and school boards in providing safe, inclusive and accepting schools to support the achievement and well-being of all students, it was stated. – CINEWS

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