Imagine a dietary supplement that has a calming effect on children and increases their attention span. At the end of the school year, this supplement would be worth its weight in gold! And if it also reduced hyperactivity, parents would line up to buy it. But don’t tell them they can get it for free.
Let me Introduce you to Vitamine «N», as in Nature!
Children don’t spend enough time playing outdoors anymore. They don’t have as much contact as they used to with the natural world around them. Many recent studies show that contact with nature and free play significantly impact a child’s health and development. Richard Louv is an American journalist and author of the international bestseller: Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder (2005). He was the first to talk about nature deficit and how many children suffer from it. He looked at several scientific studies and all of them show that contact with nature is essential to the physical and emotional development of children and adults alike.
Richard Louv developed the Children & Nature Network, a rallying movement aimed at encouraging children to enjoy nature. For instance, it states: «Together we can create a world where every child can play, learn and grow in nature».
«Imagine a world where spending time in nature is prescribed more often than antidepressants». Daniel Augier - Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de l’Estrie.
This year, Kindergarten registration will be held February 2 to 8, 2015. Toddlers are getting ready to enter the school world as early as next August! The transition to Kindergarten is an important milestone for parents and children. Family members, who must adapt to significant changes, can lose their bearings.
This transition must begin and be prepared months ahead. Several steps have been put into place in the Memphremagog MRC to support families whose child will enter Kindergarten the following year:
Many schools are providing nutrition education! The goal is to help young people develop healthy eating habits by focusing on pleasure and by providing them with positive experiences. Sunnyside, Stanstead’s Anglophone school, understood this and is following suit. In February, school workers will receive training from the Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) in order to be better equipped to carry out the nutrition education program. Then, children and parent volunteers will be able to take part in cooking workshops, a fun way to learn and get hands-on experience together.
In Potton, the Nutrisanté Committee plans once again to host five workshops during the school year. This long-standing commitment is sure to be beneficial and have a positive influence on the lifestyle habits of many children!
At La Ruche, students will soon get to try out a new format for the cooking workshops. We’re betting this time that teenagers will show interest in this activity if it’s hosted by real chefs from our area! The latter will be trained by the Tablée des Chefs as part of its culinary workshop program for teenagers.
By increasing the number of opportunities young people of all ages have to develop nutritional skills, we’re giving every child a chance to make choices that will allow him or her to adopt a healthy diet.
Link to the DFC website: www.educationnutrition.org
Since her arrival as liaison officer for the Potton and Stanstead sectors, Julie has met with a few families in and around school.
Other members of the population, equally important when it comes to our community objective, have had brief chats with Julie in less formal settings, such as the Reilly House. Julie also had the opportunity to help serve meals during the Dinner Show put on in December by Mansonville Elementary School. A wonderful way to be directly involved in the community!
The Christmas Market held at the Jardins-des-Frontières School also provided an opportunity to meet some creative parents. These informal meetings might seem unimportant but, at times like these, people are more inclined to let down their guard. They’re in their element and feel right at home; we’re the ones who are leaving our comfort zone to go and meet them.
This should probably be one of the strategies we explore at the Journée des intervenants on February 23, when the topic will be how to deal with vulnerable families.
Moreover, many of you received training in the Parent’Aise Approach, and the training will continue. In February, facilitators from Stanstead’s PACE Group, as well as Memphré en Mouvement team members, will be among those receiving training.
Finally, I’d like to leave you with the words of one of my former teachers. He was referring to the give-and-take in relationships, and what made for a good relationship between a client and a counsellor: «The best interventions are those that aren’t hampered by the counsellor’s need to control.»
Our two action plans are well underway. As with every year, I’m impressed with how committed our partners are to practice changes that will help us reach our collective goals with regard to the well-being of our 0-17 year olds and their families.
This morning, I find myself wondering if we learn anything from our experience? And if we draw on our strengths to adjust and improve our actions in order to reach the desired outcome?
Absolutely, yes! In my few years working with you, I’ve witnessed your capacity to adapt.
Of course, no one is perfect and we still have a way to go, especially when it comes to reaching out to the most vulnerable families, a major concern of ours...and everyone else’s in Quebec, for that matter.
Last year, as a result of this concern, the group reached another turning point, and you were bold enough to take a hard look at your organizations and choose to make changes that reflect your practices! In fact, in the meetings that were held over the last few months, many partners reaffirmed their intent to focus on adjusting organizational practices to foster a relationship of trust with families. Many actions will allow us to make our wish a reality. Some of these actions will help us become more aware of our practices and our strengths, find ways to improve ourselves, and discover how to better build a trusting relationship.
This work will continue in step with the Memphremagog Social Development Table’s concerns over reducing the stigma that surrounds poverty. Stay tuned!
There was a time when it was natural for children to play outside: wet, frozen bottoms were a daily sight. In those days, not being allowed to go outside was the worst punishment we could get. The outdoors were a make-believe world without limits: snow banks turned into forts that no enemy from around the corner could overtake, or into ships from which a new world could be explored. Girls and boys took turns at the helm. Our only boundaries were when we had to go inside to warm up and get something to eat...Pfff! But who could be cold or hungry? We had everything! Nature took care of all our needs... No game console was a match for our snow ship. No program could disrupt our adventures. And, as luck would have it, programs were on right before suppertime.
Some would argue that those were the good days. Fortunately, that’s not the case. Why? Because all of us are working to bring back the sense of adventure that was at the core of our games and make it once again a central feature of our practices.
Therefore, we realize that we must renew out trust in our young people by fostering their sense of responsibility. Together, as a community, we must support their development beyond our walls.
And even if it seems utopian, it’s what we’re working towards. Because, «When we dream alone, it’s only a dream. When we dream together, reality begins». Brazilian proverb
Par ces billets, l'équipe de MeM vous tient informée de l'actualité du regroupement et de l'actualité en générale concernant les Saines Habitudes de Vie.