WE Schools @home helps teachers, parents and students with free resources that enable growth and education
With schools now closed across the country, millions of Canadians find themselves in new roles. Parents and caregivers are now teachers, educators are rushing to support their students through distance learning, and young people are navigating days unmoored from their well-established routines. To help, WE Schools developed a new program called WE Schools @home, which offers resources, support and training to make things a bit easier.
WE Schools works in over 7,000 schools across Canada, bringing service learning and social and emotional learning programs to hundreds of thousands of young people. The organization has a long history of delivering distance learning resources.
“When the stay-inside guidelines came, teachers, principals, superintendents and parents reached out asking for our assistance,” explains Carrie Patterson, chief operations director for WE Charity in charge of WE Schools.
To respond to the need, the organization launched WE Schools @home to complement the plans of school boards, support parents and address young people’s needs. Founded with the help of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and building on WE’s longstanding virtual programming made possible by TELUS and Microsoft, it provides interactive lesson plans created by experienced teachers and tailored for students from kindergarten to Grade 12. These turnkey resources are aligned with curriculum standards and are conveniently emailed directly to teachers and parents every week.
But young people are missing more than just academics. They are also missing community. To help restore their sense of connection, WE Schools @home also offers an hour of educational and inspirational content every day, streaming live at 1:00 p.m. EST on Facebook Live @WEmovement. With its uplifting stories, guest experts and space to address student concerns, every episode promotes well-being in a unique way.
Although the program is designed first and foremost for students, Ms. Patterson explains that its intention is also to give parents peace of mind. “Essential workers can help Canada knowing that their children are being supported. Busy parents at home get some time to catch up on emails for their workplace or simply take a moment for themselves.”
For teachers, WE Schools @home offers resources to help translate classroom skills for distance learning. With weekly webinars on professional development, discussion cards to help broach difficult conversations about the pandemic, and a social and emotional learning toolkit to nurture students’ resiliency, teachers have the support they need during this difficult time. “Whether you’re a parent facilitating learning at home or a teacher using these materials with your students, we want to be your partner,” says Ms. Patterson.
Parents can’t be expected to morph into teachers. Similarly, teachers are juggling their own lives while trying to do what’s best for their students. Everyone needs a little help. Normalcy, structure and a focus on mental health will help carry young people through these trying times. That’s what WE Schools @home offers.
To learn more and download your free resources, visit WE.org/athome
Advertising feature produced by WE. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.