Our Approach

WellAhead aimed to improve child and youth mental health by integrating social and emotional wellbeing into K-12 education. It focused on long-term change to better incorporate social and emotional wellbeing into the day-to-day of schools and classrooms. It sunsetted in February 2021. Associated resources remain archived here.

Focus Areas

WellAhead experiments with a range of approaches to better integrate social and emotional wellbeing into schools.

These include:

  • Finding ways to better measure the wellbeing of children. This allows schools to better respond to their needs and be more conscious of social and emotional outcomes.
  • Testing everyday practices to support wellbeing in schools and classrooms
  • Working collectively across stakeholder groups to explore and implement solutions in school boards and districts
  • Increasing human resource capacity at the board and district level to advance wellbeing efforts

WellAhead looks to advance existing efforts by building capacity and connection at the school, district, and provincial level.

This includes:

  • Supporting multi-stakeholder groups and networks to increase their impact
  • Sharing expertise on social innovation, scaling Scaling: Scaling out (disseminating ideas to new jurisdictions), scaling up (influencing policy and resources) and scaling deep (shifting behaviour and attitudes). and systems change with organizations and institutions
  • Convening leaders and stakeholders provincially and nationally. This helps in understanding the current system and exploring opportunities to advance wellbeing in K-12 education
  • Making links between actors to collaborate. Greater impact is achieved when people work outside of their silos
  • Supporting professional learning opportunities and exchanges

WellAhead’s ultimate goal is systems change - the policies, culture, structures, resource flows and practices that help advance student wellbeing.

Though our role in achieving this differs from province to province, some of our general strategies include:

  • Sharing objective recommendations with relevant government ministries
  • Mobilizing knowledge on best (or promising) practices from other jurisdictions

How We Support Change

Funder

We provide grants to organizations, institutions and networks whose efforts are helping to integrate wellbeing into the K-12 education system.

Convener

We bring together various stakeholders to help discover common ground and potential synergies.

Capacity builder

We provide expertise and coaching on social innovation to help amplify existing efforts.

Advocate

We champion wellbeing as a key function for schools with government and other stakeholders. We advocate for best (and promising) practices.

Strategic learning partner

We work closely with our grantees and partners, learning together, and

We work closely with our grantees and partners, learning together, and from one another. As a team, we track observations and developments, reflect on progress and impact and surface learnings that can be shared more widely.

Recent Funding & Investments

School Mental Health ASSIST

A grant to School Mental Health ASSIST will be used to share lessons from its evidence-based implementation science model across Canada and to build teach capacity in Ontario schools to [...]

$ 300,000

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People for Education

A grant from the Foundation will enable People for Education to continue to engage policy-makers, researchers, educators and parents in Measuring What Matters - an initiative focused on competencies and [...]

$ 180,000

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Revivre

Revivre will use funds to scale its mental health self-management program J’Avance across Canada.

$ 300,000

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Taking IT Global

Funds will be used to help Taking IT Global expand their Connected North program into more schools in the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

$ 575,431

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Impact & Lessons Learned

Advancing wellbeing in schools

In 2015, WellAhead began working in British Columbia to experiment with ways to better integrate wellbeing into K-12 education. In Advancing Wellbeing in Schools, WellAhead shares 15 lessons about education, [...]

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News 29 March 2017

How school “health champions” can foster student wellness

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Darcy Riddell 25 August 2016

An Emerging Community of Practice for Canadian Social Innovation Labs

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23 August 2016

Falling into the “program” trap

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