Fostering positive social and emotional wellbeing in students delivers transformative benefits. It has been proven to prevent mental illness, improve academic performance, and contribute to positive life outcomes. Some schools and teachers already prioritize wellbeing, and are seeing results. The challenge now? Creating a system in which all young people experience school environments that support their wellbeing.
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.
- 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
- Supporting multi-stakeholder groups and networks to increase their impact
- Sharing expertise on social innovation, scalingScaling: 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
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
Recent Funding & Investments
School Mental Health ASSISTA 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 promote mental health in their everyday practices.
People for EducationPeople for Education will use a grant from the Foundation to partner with WellAhead and support the development of Measuring What Matters - an initiative that has identified five domains of student and school success: creativity, citizenship, social-emotional skills, physical and mental health, and quality learning environments.
RevivreRevivre will use funds to scale its mental health self-management program J’Avance across Canada.
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, philanthropy & systems change learned through this process.Learn More