MONTREAL, FEBRUARY 16, 2011-- Six English Montreal School Board (EMSB) elementary schools (Dante Pierre de Coubertin in St. Léonard, Parkdale in St. Laurent, Nesbitt in Rosemount, Coronation in Côte des Neiges and Westmount Park) are piloting Kids Can! the newly funded prevention/education program that equips parents, teachers and children with the knowledge, awareness and skills they need to engage in healthy behavior and to make wise choices. A special media opportunity to showcase the program took place on February 16 at Dante, with the Grade 6 class of teacher Vicki Pronovost.
In this six-session program, students will be provided with facts concerning drug use and will learn strategies to help them withstand peer pressures and make healthy decisions. In addition, parents and teachers will be provided with information and resources to help them support and reinforce what the students are learning. The program is designed not only to be effective and educational, but also fun and engaging.
This new and exciting pilot program is the result of a partnership between Agence Ometz, Concordia University Applied Human Sciences and the EMSB Student Services. The program is being funded with the support of Health Canada. At the program launch at Dante, CTV Montreal reporter Stéphane Giroux was there to do a story. He told the students that he normally covers activities at the Montreal Court House. “Many of the criminals there started to get into trouble because of drugs,” he explained, urging the students to listen carefully what they are old in Kids Can.
EMSB Director of Student Services Lew Lewis, Assistant Director, Dora Cesta, Spiritual, Religious and Moral Education Consultant Irene Miller and Health Schools Consultant Daniele Lori are working directly with Project Coordinator Heidi Hutman and Clinical Director Barbara Victor of Agence Ometz, Lisa Ostiguy, Varda Mann and Nina Nikollaeva from Concordia and Jessica Bernstein from the John Molson School of Business.
The program evaluation, which will assess the goals and outcomes of the curriculum, will be supervised by Concordia’s John Molson School of Business M.B.A. Program. A focus group of parents has been established to provide the organizers with a parental perspective and valuable feedback on the curriculum. Grade 5 and/or 6 students from each of these six schools will be divided into smaller groups which will be facilitated by stagiaires from Concordia University’s Applied Human Sciences Department. The focus group members are Anik Charles Hodges from Coronation, Asa Palmquist from Westmount Park, Franca Farinacci Bertucci and Maria Mongelli from Dante and Mary Posocco and Maria Svetec from Nesbitt.
The Kids Can! Program is being launched in three schools, followed by three more in March. In 2011-2012, 15 additional schools will participate, followed by another 15 in 2012-2013, for a total of 36 schools at the end of the three-year project.
The program promises to be of benefit to the staff, parents and especially to students who will be provided with strategies to help resist peer pressures, engage in healthy choices and behaviours, and to seek out appropriate resources as needed.