Specifically targeting a middle school population for students Grades 4 – 6, KidSMART exists as a free downloadable mental health toolkit to be utilized by teachers and community leaders.
The toolkit includes lesson plans and rich activities on the key themes of “Stress Management and Healthy Coping”, “Mental Health Awareness”, and “Skills for Being There”, in order for educators to deliver a best-practice curriculum directly and independently to their own youth populations.
The need for KidSMART
Andrea Wiebe, CMHA Calgary’s Curriculum Developer for Community Education and Wellness says this age range (8 – 12) are beginning to identify, experience, and live with their own set of mental health challenges.
“This age is at a key developmental point for establishing attitudes and behaviours regarding mental health. Poor mental health can have a lasting impact on children’s school performance, skill development, and capacity for social relationship building.
“Mental health difficulties in this age group may also contribute to ongoing challenges with relationships and personal achievement, and have the potential to lead to overall isolation, low-activity, and negative self-worth.
For children and youth in particular, the social stigma, lack of accessible resources, and inaccurate information surrounding mental health also creates monumental barriers in finding appropriate, timely interventions, and supports.
As such, CMHA Calgary is thrilled to provide KidSMART in response to this crucial community demand.
Using current literature, the KidSMART toolkit combines both mental health information and resources that can be utilized in the classroom or at home.
“The toolkit provides engaging activities and lesson plans for students to build and practice valuable mental health skills. Lesson plans include a variety of themes including stress, mental health, mental illness, emotional regulation, gratitude, resilience, mindfulness etc.,” said Andrea.
As a barrier-free platform, KidSMART will evidently help educators introduce crucial information to children about their mental health and wellness. Andrea concludes that the exposure to youth mental health education within the community will be a key factor in reducing stigma and increasing mental health literacy.
“It is vital to build an atmosphere where mental health is normalized by incorporating it into everyday lessons and conversations.”
The launch of KidSMART would not be possible without the generous support of Calgary Foundation. Thank you for continuously supporting mental health in our community and providing an opportunity for youth to learn and develop their own mental health.
“Particularly in recent years, our understanding of what is vital to our health has drastically shifted. Since COVID-19, we are now more acutely aware than ever what it takes to ensure individuals and communities thrive – especially when it comes to young people. We are very proud to support CMHA Calgary’s KidSMART toolkit and believe this is an important step toward building a strong foundation for youth mental health.”