Wellbeing is a skill, in fact we now recognize it is a collection of skills that can be taught to children and adults alike. It isn’t just autonomy, grit or mindfulness, each skill forms a piece of an umbrella of wellbeing that protects us from the rain of life, helps us find meaning in our experiences, and is highly predictive of future success. The umbrella skills are inspirational and identifying them in action is a powerful tool in teaching children how to use them.
The Umbrella Project is an interactive, inquiry-based project teaching the skills of emotional wellbeing. Through classroom lessons and observation of the world around them, students will learn real life applications of each umbrella skill and gain deeper insight into why these skills are essential. The umbrella project highlights the synergy between all of the aforementioned skills, which creates the strongest umbrella of wellbeing. By semester end, the students will create a bank of powerful and inspiring stories of emotional wellbeing that they can reflect on for years to come.
WHY THE UMBRELLA PROJECT IS SO VALUABLE
Some of the most profound moments in my medical practice happen when my patients experience a shift in the paradigm through which they are seeing the world and true healing and change can begin for them. Participating in this journey is as remarkable and life changing for me as it is for my patients. At the top of the oath that hangs in my office is “Doctor as teacher” and as I work with schools I realize the parallels between these jobs are remarkable. What fuels the passion in our jobs is the impact we have on the life of another. The Umbrella Project provides teachers with tools to have conversations that can deeply impact the lives of the students they have dedicate their professions to.
– Dr. Jen
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
Grade 8 teacher"We are having the kids take action on each of the traits to make it stick ( For example, when covering empathy, one classroom collected coats for the homeless and placed notes in the pockets of each one, letting the person know that someone cares about them)"
Ian Carswell, Head of Guidance St. Johns Kilmarnock
“Dr. Jen has a terrific sense of school culture and can effectively identify where faculty and student needs are in the area of overall wellness. She gathers evidence methodically, through a combination of anecdotal and empirical means, and then focuses on macro level, long-term solutions that are consistent with the strategic plan of the school. Her approach considers the optimization of student performance for years to come.”
Hosts of Vanessa+Melissa on Rogers TV Co-Founders of Diapers + Lipgloss Inc.“Dr. Jen Forristal is incredibly well versed on just about all aspects of health, nutrition, mental health, balance and parenting. We’ve worked with Dr. Jen, on many occasions and are always impressed with what she teaches us. Not only does she teach wellness, she lives it."
Grade 2 teacher"We are doing a kindness assembly on Friday. The class is doing a fun little drama that portrays that kindness is contagious. We are doing it to music and ends with an Umbrella. So fun. "
Grade 7 Teacher"I have noticed my students using terms such as “empathy” and “kindness” in class discussions. I also ask them what specific skills a character in a book is demonstrating. They have no trouble identifying them! It’s great to see the kids beginning to adopt these into their vocabulary. Thank you for this resource!"