Time to say goodbye

Hello again!
It is hard to believe that our time at central has come to an end! We’ve covered a lot of health topics over the past few months and had a lot of fun doing it! After tackling nutrition, hygiene and smoking we ended with a unit on alcohol. The kids learned about what alcohol is, how it is made, it effect on the body and laws pertaining to alcohol in Canada. A challenge that we faced when discussing this topic was discussing a realistic portrayal of the side effects of alcohol, as the media displays drinking as always being ‘cool’. However, the kids of central 4/5 are extremely smart and critical thinkers and were quickly able to see that the media is not all true and that there are a multitude of effects from alcohol. The students were able to grasp that alcohol does not erase problems and there is a difference between alcohol use and abuse! 

To sum up all of the topics we have covered with the kids we came up with the extremely successful idea of time capsules for the students to open when they turn 16/17! The kids loved doing this and were able to get extremely creative with all the glitter, stickers and ribbons they placed all over their time capsules! The students created letters to their ‘future selves’ explaining key tips and importation information they learnt on our main topics (nutrition, hygiene, smoking and alcohol). Some students made promises to themselves and some included the facts and tips they had learned! Overall, it was a great time for everyone and allowed the kids to write about their time with QHO in a creative way!
We are extremely proud of these students for all their hard work and participation! It has been such a fun and exciting few months and we are extremely grateful to Mr. Wood for allowing us into his class room and to both him and the students for welcoming us in and making our time there so great!

Love, Liora and Alison

Dear 16 year old me…

Hey Again,
                  We began our first program with the grade 4/5 class at Rideau Elementary School in February. I could have never imagined I would establish such a wonderful relationship with these children in such a short amount of time. We focused a lot on the effects of smoking and ways to say no. In one of our concluding lessons I had the grade 4s write a letter to their 16 year-old-self to review everything they learned thus far. The students all took this task extremely seriously, and their teacher intends on recommending this idea to other teachers at Rideau. In their letters they explained the long term effects of smoking, they wrote how to say no if someone offered, and they reminded themselves they wanted to live long, smoke-free lives. One student wrote, “I hope you never smoke, I hope we don’t get lung cancer. We both don’t want that. So promise me you won’t smoke, please. We have been learning about smoking and I know I can trust you to remember.” These were very touching letters to read, if I have influenced just one student to never smoke, than that is enough for me! On our very first day Emily and I asked the class, what a healthy life meant to them. We decided to re-ask this question on the last lesson and found that their answers had changed dramatically. They included healthy relationships, not bullying, sleeping, eating well, exercising, and not smoking. QHO was very effective in this classroom and is welcomed back next year!
Bethany xoxoxo

Health Buddies Bid Farewell!

It is with great sadness to report that we said good bye to our wonderful health buddies at Central Elementary School last week. We started off the year with a strong nutrition focus, and then covered topics including smoking, substance abuse, and bullying. This class was extremely interested in discussion and always had incredible contributions to make. They were born performers, and loved to act out peer pressure scenarios. They were all so adamant that smoking was a habit they would never start! When discussing bullying, they learned the concept of ‘bystander.’ They admitted never realizing how important witnesses are, so we brainstormed ways bystanders could help. We also discussed conflict resolution; our theme was ‘two wrongs don’t make a right.” The bulling discussion was so successful we literally ran out of time, each student had so many things to say!  To end off the year we had two hip-hop dancers come to the class and teach them some sweeeeet moves. Each student was so excited to participate; there was a dancer inside each one of them! When we left the classroom, each student gave us a hug and demanded we come back to visit soon. Their teacher, Ms. Fitzgerald, pulled us aside after class and explained how effective the QHO program was for her class. Each student was so vibrant and unique, they have truly impacted Luzha and I. I honestly believe they will lead healthy and happy lives!
Much Love,

Farewell to Frontenac

Oh hey there!
We had a great year teaching health to our grade 6, 7 and 8’s at Frontenac Public School.
We taught several different topics such as Media Literacy, Body Image, Substance Use & Abuse, Stress Management, and Mental Health with a large focus on Self Esteem.
Last Thursday we had our last day with the kiddies and spent the hour playing a re-cap game of jeopardy.  We split them up into four teams and they easily showed how competitive they were and ready to work as a team to win some delicious gummy bears (treats are okay in moderation!!)!
We were really impressed with how much knowledge they had retained, even from the very first week of class in November.  Making learning a competition was very useful with this class and they were very eager to participate in the game. 
Next week we will be taking them to the Boiler Room to enjoy a morning of rock climbing and hanging around ;)!!!!
We had a BLAST this year with the kids and couldn’t have asked for a more rowdy, fun, and sassy bunch.  We can’t wait for all the fun we are going to have at rock climbing and hopefully again next year!

Kisses & Hugs,

Megan xo
With love from Ron & Julia 

A picture’s worth a thousand words

Paul and I hold our Limestone class very close to our hearts. As we look back on our time at Limestone, we feel that each and every student has taught us more than we could have imagined. It is with an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia that we highlight our past year with this wonderful class.
Our first day at Limestone: we had no idea what to expect. We taught nutrition and ways to eat healthy on a budget. We were nervous but Tammy (the teacher in the classroom we visit each week) and the students were welcoming and had a lot of good questions for us- some that even the health expert Paul had to look up! Our first day taught us that we need to prepare background information on every lesson we teach at Limestone, because are were going to have questions (and excellent questions at that)!
Another highlight of the year was when we discussed positive thinking and positive self-talk, an intro to mental health. It became apparent that we were perhaps “preaching” the importance of positive thinking with out realizing many of the students heard this all before –  in therapy.  We listened to some heartfelt stories we will never forget and we also learned a lot about preaching vs. peer educating. We came back from this lesson with a new spin on teaching, discussion-based learning and encouraging students to write down their personal stories rather than share them in front of others. This helped drive the discussion in a positive direction, rather than dwelling on hardships.
This class is so special because even though the students are all different ages and backgrounds, they all respect and care for each other. We spent many lessons discussing ways to improve one’s mental health, which incorporated a lot of physical health practices. They really appreciated learning simple tips and offered advice to whom ever was speaking about a challenge they faced in their every day lives. They even helped me quit my incessant diet coke drinking!
Paul and I found it so refreshing to see such cooperative teamwork and it is quite clear that Tammy, the teacher, has a lot to do with this. Tammy is a remarkable person because with her optimism, encouraging words and open-mindedness, she has a master key to each mind in her classroom. Her students trust her, appreciate her and without doubt, respect her. We are so grateful for all the teaching skills Tammy passed on to us, whether she intended to or not! Thank-you Tammy.
For our last lesson, we decided to put our health tips into action! We brought a huge canvas and painting supplies and let the students paint whatever they felt in an effort to provide the students with a healthy outlet for their emotions. They loved it. They gained confidence with each brush stroke and commented on how they felt like a kid again. It was funny to see them so quietly concentrated when they are usually a very talkative class! Word of our outreach project spread through the halls and some other teachers and staff members joined in. It was the perfect day. We will miss these students and Tammy more than we can put in words and we thank Maddy and Madison for the special opportunity to teach at Limestone. 

Smiles for miles & miles,

Paul & Julia