Counsellor's Blog for Students, Families, and Caregivers
niski pîsim ᓂᐢᑭᐲᓯᒼ (March 2023)
Let's talk about sleep...
Does the scene on the left look familiar?
We all felt the time change in March... but for many kids, that's not the only time they struggle to go to bed at night and wake up feeling refreshed in the morning.
Sleep challenges in children are common and it is important to address them.
Children and youth who don't get enough sleep have a harder time focusing in school. They are sometimes tired and sometimes hyperactive. Both those things make it hard to take in information.
Not getting enough sleep also makes it harder for us to deal with our feelings and emotions. We have less patience for others and lash out at them more easily. This is true for adults, too, by the way.
How much sleep is enough?
For Elementary School children, an average of 10 hours is recommended. For Junior High and High School youth, an average of 9 hours are healthy.
Of course, each child is different and some children may need a little more or a little less.
If you feel that your child is not getting enough sleep, try to move their bedtime to an earlier time gradually. If they go to bed at 10pm, try putting them to bed at 9:45 on day 1, at 9:30 on day 3, at 9:15 on day 5 and by the end of the week, try 9pm.
Ways to help them sleep better...
There are many things you can do to make it easier for your child to fall asleep and have a good sleep at night.
Take time to wind down before bed with quiet activities like reading, colouring, building a puzzle or having a snuggle.
This is a great time for you to connect with your child, hear about their day and deal with any worries that might be on their mind.
Audiobooks can be a great alterative to watching shows. There are podcasts, apps and YouTube channels where you can find bedtime stories or guided meditations to listen to (don't watch the screen, just listen).Calming sounds like soft music, rain or ocean waves can also help your child drift off to sleep.
Mikisîw pîsim (February 2023)
A Story about Interoception and Feeling Our Feelings.
Listening to My Body by Gabbi Garcia
How to Actively Listen
February is a special month. It is the month of connection. Moving towards the end of the Winter season, and looking forward to Spring. Waiting to see what the Groundhog will tell us. Valentines Day, Family Day and PINK shirt day all symbolize LOVE and CONNECTION and KINDNESS.
On behalf of the MESC counselling team, we welcome everyone back to a new school year. We will be working to keep this site up-to-date on a monthly basis: hopefully there will be something that you find useful. We are VERY EXCITED to see the awasisak ekwa oskayak in the schools soon. As always, if you would like more information about counselling or mental health, please feel free to contact your school counsellor. If you're not sure how to contact them, there is a form here that will help.
mikiso pisim (February 2022)
Being Kind - to others AND yourself
Challenge yourself - practice love and kindness towards yourself and others this February! And don’t forget Pink Shirt Day on February 23.
kisê -pîsim (January 2022)
Press play and listen to Mrs. M read a story. This book reminds us to be aware of our emotions and to be kind to ourselves throughout the tough moments in life.
Tansi kakiyaw Ohpikinahawasowak (Parents/Caregivers)
Let's take time to reflect on our blessings. When we focus on the positives rather than the negatives, our outlook on life can change dramatically. This past year I began writing in a daily gratitude journal and I won't lie, it has been tough to stick with consistently. However, I've found that when I make the effort it has definitely helped me refocus, reset and turn my mood around. Journaling is a stress relieving activity that can help us form better relationships, lower stress levels and promote positive thinking. Beginning today and to kick off the New Year, I am making the commitment to write daily in my journal. I will take a few moments to reflect on my day and count my blessings. I invite you to join me:)
Take a peek at the printable gratitude journal. Find the pages that will motivate you to put gratitude into practice.
opâskâwehopîsim - ᐅᐹᐢᑳᐁᐧᐦᐅᐲᓯᒼ (June)
Go outside! Unplug the electronics. Discover something new.
Everything is connected, and since you are part of everything, you are connected to everything. In an increasingly diverse world, it is imperative for our kids to be exposed to the enrichment and wholesome experiences that takes place when life is explored around you. Learning about the natural world exposes us to moving and stretching, unique characteristics and wonder filled connections.
Ms Susan is exploring the spring plantlife and especially the Three flowered Aven that she found close to the ground. She found that the ground was warm and out of the wind and breezes. She imagined a connection to the other plants and insects and the ability to be able to duck out of the way if some large foot was coming by. Ms Susan found even more small plants and insects by being like this flower than when she walked way above them. It was really relaxing and so interesting to learn about the diversity of life next to the ground.
One way to enjoy moving and nature with your family is offered below.
opâskâwehopîsim - ᐅᐹᐢᑳᐁᐧᐦᐅᐲᓯᒼ (June) 11
Hey everyone, it’s Mrs. Fehr from EJSH! Have you ever felt like you wanted to improve yourself in some way? Maybe you would like to be more outgoing or maybe you would like to work through a specific fear or maybe you just want to learn patience. Personal growth happens when you work towards positive personal development. It requires you to be motivated to change in a positive way and it may require you to do things that feel uncomfortable. Positive change requires us to step out of our comfort zone and move forward. Even though it may seem hard in the moment, it’s so worth it! A great way to help remind you of your personal growth goals is to make a vision board. You can then hang it on your wall or add it to your desktop! Check out this link for how to make one!
opâskâwehopîsim - ᐅᐹᐢᑳᐁᐧᐦᐅᐲᓯᒼ (June) 4
Name it to Tame it: Feelings of Anxiety
This week, we're focusing on feelings of anxiety. Most of us know how this can feel, but we don't always know why or what to do about it. Hopefully this week's post helps. Feel free to start with the video to the left for an overview.
In this picture you can see some of the ways feelings of anxiety can affect our bodies, without us even knowing. Sometimes these feelings come with thoughts about a situation we are worried about. But sometimes, they just happen on their own. By noticing our signs, we can get to the root of our feelings and start to take some steps toward managing our feelings.
When we get skilled at recognizing our body signs of anxiety, then there's a few ways to deal with it, starting with calming our bodies. To the left are a few ways to do this. Other ways to do this are: exercise, spending time in nature, asking for help, journaling, doing something that your enjoy before or after a difficult task.
It is really important to remember that EVERYONE experiences some level of anxiety--it is normal and helps keep us safe. The goal is not to remove anxiety, but to learn ways to manage it throughout our lives.
Pinawew pisim -ᐱᓇᐁᐧᐤ ᐱᓯᒼ 28
WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER
Women and girls are not always honoured and protected as they should be.
Women and Girls are worthy of SAFETY, DIGNITY, RESPECT and HONOUR
Pinawew pisim -ᐱᓇᐁᐧᐤ ᐱᓯᒼ 14
This week we are going to highlight strategies that support holistic wellness! below you will find strategies to support your mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional well being!
Use your finger to complete the mazes!
Try some different yoga exercises! there are lots for all ages on Youtube!
Move your body and use your brain with a nature scavenger hunt!
Emotional Wellness Jar Activity
Find a jar/ box/ container and decorate it with whatever you have around the house
Find some scrap paper and cut it into squares large enough to write a sentence or two on
Write down happy memories, happy thoughts, or anything that makes you smile on the papers and keep them in the jar
Keep adding to the jar whenever something makes you smile
Whenever you need a pick me up pull a paper out of the jar and you will be reminded of a time you felt a lot of joy!
Younger kiddos may need some help with this activity but they can use pictures and smaller words to express themselves as well!
Pinawew pisim- ᐱᓇᐁᐧᐤ ᐱᓯᒼ 7
Maybe you have even said something like this (I know I have!). Well that's because we all experience stress EVERY DAY in our lives - from trying to keep up with schoolwork and being part of a family, changing of routines, to living through this pandemic. Stress is normal and happens to everyone! Sometimes we even need stress to get things done. For example, being stressed when we wake up in the morning to get to school may help us to find the energy we need to arrive at the bus stop on time, eat our breakfast or take a quick shower to start the day. This would usually be considered a positive stress.
We also have negative stressors in our lives that can cause our health to be harmed. Mrs Fehr talks about this “mind-body connection” in the blog post on ayiki pisim 23. Being too worried, nervous, anxious, STRESSED about things isn’t good for us. But, when we are brave and able to face our worries, it helps our brains and bodies and makes us less stressed over time.
As we continue to go back and forth with our school routine, make sure to take time to check in with yourself. Think about what is a positive stress in your life and what is a negative one. Then, feel free to check out our website to see different resources that you can use to help to make that stress a little smaller. Want to learn more about how stress works? Check out this video for an introduction. Remember, if you need help you can always talk a trusted adult who cares - like your school counsellor - to find out where your stress is coming from and what to do with it.
AYÎKI PÎSIM 30: You are doing great, we have got this.
AYÎKI PÎSIM 23: Mind-Body Connection - What it means and what we can do to help ourselves
AYÎKI PÎSIM 16: Emotional Regulation: What is it and how do we do it?
A key part of understanding our own regulation is knowing how it feels to be ready and what it feels like to flip our lid. The WINDOW of TOLERANCE (left) is one way to understand this.
Everyone's window is different and can change from moment to moment, depending on stress and support.
Staying within the sweet spot of our window of tolerance takes practice and sometimes help for others, especially in children.
Some ways of getting and staying in our window of tolerance can include doing things like deep breathing, walking away, having a safe place to go, visualization, positive self-talk, drawing or writing, having a drink of water and having a plan with someone you trust.
When children are learning how to regulate their emotions, they will need our help. This is best done through a process called co-regulation.
Co-regulation is modelling calmness for someone who has flipped their lid, not joining in their chaos.
To the left are ways to model and teach co-regulation.
It's not always easy to stay regulated when some one has flipped their lid, this is normal, take a break if you need to or tag out with someone who can take your place. We need to make sure we are regulated to help regulate another.
We can expect lid flips to happen. Making a plan with a person when they are feeling calm and ready can be helpful.
Here is an example of a plan when someone has flipped their lid to help get their thinking brain back online. Even though we have a plan doesn't mean it will work the first time, it will take practice and may need to be tweaked here and there, try different things and see what works for you.
It is important to remember that there are many things that effect a person's ability to regulate emotions. Previous trauma, anxiety, hunger, being tired, bored, doing something we don't like, and lots of other things can get in the way. The best way for us to help a person is to co-regulate.
If you would like more information or help with making a plan, please contact the counsellor at your school.
AYÎKI PÎSIM 9th: Let's explore... CREATIVITY
MUSIC & DANCE
Sometimes ideas just come. But there's one fail-proof way of helping them along: make a collage.
JOURNALLING / WRITING
Make a mark...DOODLE it!
COOKING / BAKING
Kids are naturally experts at expressing their creativity through play. When you play by yourself, with your toys or in nature, you are being creative. When you play with friends or siblings, you are being creative!
Having fun lifts the spirit and brings joy to life.
LAUGHTER IS HEALING. LAUGHTER IS MEDICINE.
Niski Pisim - 24th
Spring Break is just around the corner! Things are a bit different this year with the cohort system but remember it is still important to take a break! It's okay to work on school a little bit next week but it is still your spring break! A great time to get outside and do some activities as a family! We have added some activities below you can do safely within your family groups. Get outside and stay safe :)
Niski Pisim - 12th
Niski Pisim - 8th
LEGO Block Patterns - using the patterns below, construct the figures. Once you have done it once, then time yourself constructing the second time. The third time you can challenge a family member to construct one of the patters. Have fun and remember the skills that you are developing by simply building LEGO patterns.
Mikisiw Pisim - 26th
Mikisiw Pisim ᒥᑭᓯᐤ ᐱᓯᒼ 19th
Name it to Tame It: Grief
In December we posted a video from our Name it to Tame It series that focused on emotions in general. This week we’re focusing on one particular set of feelings: grief in children. It can be helpful for children (and adults) to know what might be expected and some healthy ways to cope. Below, we’ve broken the info into sections so you can take from it what you need. Hopefully it’s of some help in supporting the children in your life. It has been shown by research that children who know more about grief often have an easier time coping, please feel free to share the information with your child as you see fit. Below you will find info for adults and children about grief. Feel free to use or not as you see fit.
What is Grief
Grief is what we feel when we lose a connection to something important to us.
Grief and mourning are not necessarily the same. Grief is often described as the immediate feelings from a loss. This differs from mourning as it is related more to reflection, memories, and ritual surrounding a loss.
There are no rules about what we grieve or how.
How to Talk to Younger Children About Grief
from https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/death.html for more details and examples, please click on the link.
When talking about death, use simple, clear words.
Listen and comfort.
Every child reacts differently to learning that a loved one has died. Some kids cry. Some ask questions. Others seem not to react at all. That's OK.
Stay with your child to offer hugs or reassurance.
Answer your child's questions or just be together for a few minutes.
Put emotions into words.
Talk about your own feelings
Tell your child what to expect.
Talk about funerals, wakes, and rituals.
Share your family's beliefs about what happens to a person's soul or spirit after death.
Explain what happens after the service
Give your child a role (if they want).
Help your child remember the person.
Don't avoid mentioning the person who died. Recalling and sharing happy memories helps heal grief and activate positive feelings.
Respond to emotions with comfort and reassurance.
Ask about feelings and listen.
Let your child know that it takes time to feel better after a loved one dies.
Support groups and counselling can help kids who need more support.
Help your child feel better. Provide the comfort your child needs, but don't dwell on sad feelings.
Give your child time to heal from the loss. Grief is a process that happens over time.
Some Things People Grieve
Grief is often associated with death, but there are many other things we can grieve:
Death of a person
Death of a pet
Not getting to see someone important to us
Losing a thing that is important (an item, a job, etc.)
Losing trust in someone close to us
Changes in our lives (like COVID-19’s changes)
Being let down
Some Ways to Cope With Grief
There are times when the feelings of grief can be too confusing and difficult to deal with on our own. During these times we may need extra help. Each person deals with grief differently. Below are some different, healthy coping ideas that might be useful to some people.
Talking to someone you trust
Ceremony and ritual
Prayer and reflection
Being with good friends and family (this can even include pets)
Connect with nature
Being patient and forgiving with ourselves
Cry when you need, laugh when you can
Trust your instincts
A message of encouragement in challenging times
Tansi --Mikisowipisim 05
Audio (above) is the telling of a traditional Cree story - The Granddaughter who was eaten by a Big Fish
The Granddaughter who was eaten by a Big Fish
(words to the story open with tiny arrow right of these words)
It's Erika, from NES here! I want to say just how excited I am that we get to have some of you BACK IN THE BUILDING this week! The last couple of weeks may have been hard learning from home, but we want to remind you that you are doing your best and that is good enough! It's easy to be hard on yourself when we are doing hard things! Learning from home is hard, not seeing our friends and family is hard, keeping routine while you are at home is hard! But remember what Dr. Jody Carrington says! "we are wired to do hard things!" Remind yourself you are doing your best, and watch any negative self-talk, try replacing negative things with some positive affirmations!
Ms. Jordee here, I would like to welcome you all back to this New week, New month and New year of 2021! All of us here at NES are so very excited and happy to be seeing your lovely faces (with masks on!) Wapahki! Just a reminder that the Counsellors are available and I can’t wait to see you all. Get some rest, drink some water and get a good night’s rest for tomorrow we are all back in the school.
kisêpîsim 22/Jan. 22
Trying something new for 30 days!
Sometimes when life starts to feel heavy, we need a small reminder to just breathe. Here is a quick tiktok video to help walk you through a relaxation activity to help. Click on the "Drop your Shoulders" words and the link will come up for you.
Bev found an amazing song to help remind us the importance of gratitude and finding people in our lives that we are thankful for. Click on the word "Gratitude" to see the youtube link. Often when we are struggling to manage our emotions, we see the world in a dark way. Listen to the song and then do the activity below to help refocus your ability to see the world in a positive way.
Activity - Write a few sentences with one or two of the following ideas.
-What was the best thing that happened today?
-Name something that makes you happy.
-Where is your favorite place to go real or imagined?
-What is the best gift that you have ever received?
-Name a person that you love and why.
-Who do you like to spend time with and why?
It’s Mrs. Fehr from Ermineskin Junior Senior High School. Wow, time has gone very quickly for me this fall! Now that the snow has come, my mind has drifted to Christmas! I was thinking about how Christmas is sometimes a challenging time for some people who are anxious. It makes me wonder how people will cope with anxiety this year with Covid-19!
It seems that everywhere I go someone is talking about Covid-19. While it is important to talk about, it can make us feel anxious and fearful especially when we have loved ones we are worried about.
One of the most important things to remember is to educate ourselves with the facts about Covid-19. (See Alberta.ca for facts). Please remember there is a lot of information posted on social media that is not true and seeing it might create more anxiety. What happens when we are feeling anxious? I feel a tightness in my neck and shoulders, and my heart beats faster than usual. How do you feel in your body when you are anxious? Helping your body relax will help ease some of the anxiety you are feeling.
Mr. Roberts and I have added some things on this website to help you cope with the anxiety that Covid-19 might bring. Take a look at the resources we have added to the caregiver page and check out the fun stuff page showing some of the things we do when we are feeling stressed and anxious.
It’s important to take care of ourselves now more than ever during this time of COVID-19.
Name it to Tame It: Introduction to Feelings.
This is the first in a video series about being feelings detectives. This one talks about recognizing our own feelings and others'. Future videos will deal with specific feelings, including grief, which will be our next video.
The Way I Feel
This is the book The Way I Feel, written and illustrated by Janan Cain. It's all about feelings. This will give you more information about some of the feelings we talked about in our video. Check it out!
Tansi! ihkopîwipîsim 23
There is a storm cloud in my tummy!
Tansi Being a parent or caregiver can be satisfying and fun. It can also be challenging and frustrating. Children’s anger often provides us with a challenge or dilemma. It is helpful when children learn safe limits to their behavior for their own security and for the safety of others. They also need to know that their feelings are understood. When this happens a child feels validated and is helped to develop a healthy sense of self.
Ms Cary Northwest and Ms Susan Spyker, school counsellors have put together a couple of videos addressing big feelings that include frustration, disappointment all the way to anger. Ms Cary is reading a great story called Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. She is inviting you to use your imagination while you listen. You might imagine a storm cloud forming in your tummy as the events happen through the day. It is helpful to visualize and connect with where feelings are coming from. The storm cloud craft might help with that.
Ms Cary and Ms Susan hope that you will listen to the story, make the craft and share your reflections on them. Are you aware of where you feel frustration building? What do you think of storms?
We both hope that you are staying safe, getting some fresh air and will be noticing your feelings as they sometimes come and go like weather.
Ms Cary Northwest is a counsellor at Grace Marie Swampy Memorial Primary School (The Pink School) and can be contacted by email or phone. She can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or texting or phoning 780-312-3273.
Ms Susan Spyker is a counsellor at Mimiw Sakahikan School and Ermineskin Kindergarten School. She can be reached by emailing email@example.com or texting or phoning +1 587-205-5310 or leave a message with the school.
There are many more wonderful blogs and videos on the MESC counselling website. You can find them at https://sites.google.com/maskwacised.ca/mesccounselling/
Tansi! It's November 13 and this is Erika and Jordana from NES!
This week we have added some resources to the Caregiver page about routine and how to make learning from home a success! Whether you are only working from home with your child every other week, or you are choosing to learn from home full time there are challenges and we are here to support you! The entire counselling team also wants to ensure you know we are available to every MESC student no matter where they are learning from this year!
ihkopîwipîsim - (November) 9.
Tanisi! Stephen and Jan at EJSH here. We wanted to share our google classroom with any students from our school as a way to connect with us. Please use the link below to check it out!
TOP 10 SELF-REGULATION STRATEGIES
Breathing - Deep belly breaths, 5 finger breathing, or doing a guided meditation
Doing physical activity - Even something as simple as going for a walk
Have a snack and drink some water - Healthy food that helps my brain feel energized and uplifted
Listen to uplifting music - Picking your favorite feel-good beat to groove to
Do something sensory - Playing with a fidget, make slime, or a mind in a jar
Have quiet time in a safe space - Sometimes it’s fine to relax and be by yourself
Get creative - Make a craft, do some art, draw or colour
Find a distraction - Talk about something different, watch a funny video, just change it up!
Read a book -We have put one in our “fun stuff” for you to enjoy
Stay connected and ask for help - talk to a friend or family member, go on to the MESC counselling website, speak to an elder about ceremony, prayer, or support
ihkopîwipîsim - (November) 6.
This year has been off to a wild start! I was so excited to go back to school and see all of my students and coworkers. I was happy to see some familiar smiling faces, but it was a weird time to come back and only find half of the people here. Then, in October, our schools shut down again and I had to go back home, just when I was starting to get the hang of things. I haven’t felt like myself lately and have really mixed up feelings. Some days I am happy, excited to face the world, and have lots of energy. Other days I am lonely, bored, tired, and just BLAH. My friend Ms Erika showed me this video about self-regulation and it really helped me to understand what is happening when I lose control of my emotions.
Right now, I am dysregulated. My lid is getting flipped easily, I am in the red or blue zone all the time, and things just don’t feel right. I would really like to be regulated again. I want to be in the green zone, with my lid on, calm, and ready to face the world no matter what the day brings. I needed to find some strategies to help me feel like me again so I asked the other counsellors at NSS to help me come up with a list of best strategies for self regulation.
The MESC counselling website has a lot of good tools to be able to use when I am feeling all sorts of different things, so find what is best for you and make your own list! It has been hard to practice these when I am feeling good, but I know it is important to do so that when I am dysregulated I can easily come back to my strategies and be ready to go once more - no matter what comes at me!!!
Kaskatino pisim - (October) 29.
Tanisi Ohpikinahawasiwahk ekwa awâsisak (parents, guardians and children),
We are excited to announce that this website is going to be re-invigorated for the duration of the school year as we work to support students and families, wherever they may be learning from. We are all busy working on creating content and we should have some new posts weekly, starting in November.
We also wanted everyone to know that counselling services remain available to all MESC students, regardless of where they are learning. Feel free to contact your child's school or submit a counselling request through the Connect With Counsellor Page (for non-emergency counselling) to find out more. We look forward to hearing from you!
opaskaweho pisim- (June) 26.
Tanisi Ohpikinahawasiwahk ekwa awâsisak (parents, guardians and children),
We hope this message finds all of you well. As you know, the end of our school year is approaching quickly and we want to make sure that all families have access to mental health support over the summer in these tricky times. We’re hoping that the following will serve as a tool to find help when and if it is needed, as MESC counsellors are not available through the summer months. As always, the numbers below can be called as a first step and there doesn’t need to be an immediate crisis to call. It is always best to call and talk to a knowledgeable helper who can help with the next steps. As always, we are wishing you the very best and really look forward to being in the schools again this fall. Please know that all of the below information (and more) will continue to be available on the MESC Counselling Website at https://counselling.maskwacised.ca/ .
MESC Counselling Team
Mental Health and Crisis Contacts
If you are unsure about if you should call any of the below numbers, please call and they will help direct you if needed. It is better to call if you are unsure.
Maskwacis Mobile Mental Health: crisis line 780-362-2150
Text4Hope: Text COVID19HOPE to 393939 to subscribe for ways to cope with feelings of isolation, etc.
Maskwacis RCMP: 780-585-3767
Maskwacis Ambulance: 780-585-4000
Kids Help Line: 1-800-668-6868
Kids Help Line Text: text ‘connect’ to 686868
FN and Inuit hope for wellness: 1-855-242-3310
Mental Health Help Line: 1-877-303-2642
Addiction Help Line: 1-866-332-2322
Connectteen: text only 587-333-2724
Youthspace: text only 778-783-0177
Suicide Prevention: text 45645 call 1-833-456-4566
Maskwacis counselling: 780-585-2268 (Can also be contacted via Facebook)
https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page16944.aspx (COVID-19 info)
opaskaweho pisim- (June) 19.
Freshly Made Bannock...mmmm!
Tanisi, Mrs. Fehr here from Samson Elementary (NES). I hope everyone is doing well!
Every year, June is Pride Month in Canada🏳🌈. It is a time that LGBTQI2S celebrate through pride parades and other celebrations. If you want to learn more about how Pride month began, check out this link. https://blog.gale.com/prideparades/
June 21 is also National Indigenous Peoples day. I’m thinking about my own heritage and how I am proud to know certain things about my culture. I remember as a child learning from my Cree mom and Nokom how to make bannock. My mom always “baked” her bannock in a frying pan over the campfire. She also taught me how to roast it over the campfire on a stick or fry it in hot oil. I liked the hot oil ones the best! I learned how to make bannock when I was about eight years old, and still make it for my family. They love it when I make a big batch! Making bannock is a tradition that I am proud of and I am passing this knowledge on to my children and grandchildren. It makes me feel connected to the Cree part of me and to all my relations. What part of your culture are you proud of? What makes you feel close to your family and relatives? All this bannock talk is making me hungry! I’m heading to the kitchen to make some now!
Here are some affirmations for the month of June following our theme of PRIDE.
What are affirmations? Affirmations are simple, positive statements that we can say to ourselves. They help us to affirm, validate, or encourage ways of positive self-talk. They can help us to calm anxieties in times of worry, reach our goals, or feel good about ourselves.
How do they work? Read the affirmations in your head. Say them outloud. Think of times when you felt this way - proud of you! You can repeat them daily or put them in a special place as a reminder of your strength and pride.
opaskaweho pisim- (June) 12.
HI EVERYONE! Sandi here , from Meskanahk Ka Nipa Wit School
This week’s blog is about one of my favorite things. MUSIC.
I have a million playlists with a lot of different types of music. When I like a song, I put it on replay..it drives my family crazy.
MUSIC is so many things….
Historical, Political, Spiritual, Personal, Social, Fun and so much more...
Here are some examples of the many things music can be *(disclaimer for younger children: I've checked the songs for "non-school language" but there may be some more mature themes):
MUSIC IS POWERFUL
“We can manifest our genius through what no one can take away-our voices and our music”
Music is a powerful creative expression of who we are and where we come from.
N’WE JINAN Youth and Music!!!
Check out this amazing song…..HOME TO ME
Music can make us feel understood...We can listen to a song and say to ourselves “I felt that”. It can reflect and affirm our most painful and most joyful experiences. Songs often become deeply connected to memory.
Music can help us better understand things that are within or outside our experiences.
Music can be our voice. Music is about being heard.
Music is deeply rooted in tradition and history.
Stay Red-Northern Cree
Music is connected to Justice or lack of Justice.
Make It Bun Dem-Skrillex & Damian ‘Jr Gong’ Marley
Music can give us hope.
Music can inspire and motivate us.
The Script-Hall of Fame
I love music!!!
This picture is me when a song I like is on!
Now, something to try at home:
Pay attention to how different songs make you think and feel….Does the song make you feel relaxed, sad, motivated, hopeful, bold, strong, does the song remind you of someone or something? Etc…
Some Local Music: What does music mean to Paul Coutre? He had this to say...
“Music has been there for me when nobody else was. It’s been the parent, my Mother or Father when they were not healthy enough to be there for me. Music was the motivation that taught me right from wrong. MUSIC is a LIFE CHANGER”
PAUL HELPED TO CREATE the SONG MAKE IT OUT ALIVE
MONTANA FIRST NATION, MASKWACIS
In 2019 Students from Meskanahk Ka Nipa Wit School created a powerful song titled Make It Out Alive. Click on the link to listen. The song Make it Out Alive is just below the documentary video Life into Lyrics.
ABOUT THE SONG students worked with the production company Darkspark to write and record their song.
Students wanted to give voice to the HOPE, COURAGE, STRENGTH, WISDOM and the BEAUTY of who they are as CREE PEOPLE and their home, MASKWACIS.
They also knew it was important to express their thoughts and feelings about Indigenous Youth who may be experiencing a loss of trust, hope and identity. Students wanted to address the loss of loved ones through tragic circumstances like suicide, addiction, violence and those loved ones who are missing or not in there lives for other reasons. They decided to speak to the struggles. They decided to give suffering a voice.
THEY PRODUCED A BEAUTIFUL MASTERPIECE...A SONG
With wisdom beyond their years, they shared a story of who they are that is filled with COURAGE, TRUTH, LOVE, HONOUR, HOPE and DIGNITY.
It was a great honour to share the experience with them and I am so entirely proud of their outstanding achievement! Look directly below for a link to the site and video of this song.
And last, but not least, a few of Sandi's favourite songs! And check below for some songs to sing to from Ms. Cassandra!
In my mind -Dynoro
Tomorrow Never Comes- Zac Brown Band
Sing it Out! Singing has a lot of benefits for our minds and bodies. Below are some tunes to get you started!
Happy -By:Pharrell Williams
On Me- By: Thomas Rhett, Kane Brown & Ava Max
Saturday Sun- By: Vance Joy
Sunday Best- By: Surfaces
The Other Side- By: SZA & Justin Timberlake
Know Your Worth- By: Khalid & Disclosure
Happier- By: Marshmello & Bastille
Sunflower- By: Post Malone & Swae Lee
Summer Feelings- By: Lennon Stella & Charlie Puth
Thunder- By: Imagine Dragons
opaskaweho pisim- (June) 5.
June is Indigenous History Month
Treaty No. 6 was signed on August 23, 1876 at Fort Carlton in Saskatchewan. The total area of the Treaty stretches from western Alberta, through Saskatchewan and into Manitoba; and includes 50 First Nations. Provisions in the Treaty recognize the notion of the medicine chest as well as the right to education. Chief Bobtail signed the treaty for the Cree people in 1877 and was the first to select the current Maskwacis site as their home.
June is Pride Month
Pride month is an opportunity to peacefully protest and raise political awareness of current issues facing the community.
We are almost there...Hang in there
We are getting close to the end of the school year, just a few short weeks left. This may cause some excitement in some and anxiety in others. Here are a few activities to help get you through. You can visit this page in the summer months and use any of the activities over and over again.
pinawew pisim-ᐱᓇᐁᐧᐤ ᐱᓯᒼ (May) 29.
What is Gratitude?
Gratitude is when we are thankful for the everyday things in our lives that make us happy and feel good. We can be grateful for the things we have, the people around us and ourselves. It's about focusing on what's good in our lives and being thankful for the things we have. Gratitude is pausing to notice and appreciate the things that we often take for granted, like having a place to live, food, clean water, friends, family, even computer access. Some things that Mrs. Dewald, Miss Charlene and Ms. Leann are grateful for are the teachings brought to us by Elders, community and MESC like our 4 principles that we strive for in everyday interactions.
1.Iyiniw Mamitonehicikan ᐃᔨᓂᐤ ᒪᒥᑐᓀᐦᐃᒋᑲᐣ
Be compassionate; recognize one another’s diverse experiences, views and voice.
2. Nehiyawewin ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ
Be careful with your words; listen, learn, ask questions, and take time to reflect.
3. Nehiyaw Pimatisowin ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐤ ᐱᒫᑎᓰᑐᑕᒼ VTI
Be actively engaged; open-minded, honour spirit and one another.
4. Wahkohtowin ᐘᐦᑯᐦᑐᐏᐣ
Build positive relationships; approach every interaction from a place of love and respect.
Here are 10 prompts to get you started.
That makes you happy
You couldn’t live without
Someone that helps you
That makes you smile
You love to do
You are thankful for
Someone you love
You think is fun
That makes you feel good
That makes you laugh
pinawew pisim-ᐱᓇᐁᐧᐤ ᐱᓯᒼ (May) 15
Tanisi everyone! Miss Mariah from NSS here. These days, I am feeling that it is hard to stay home a lot. Does anyone else feel that way? It sometimes makes me feel sad, lonely, or bored. Something I learnt how to do to help me feel grateful and excited is to make everyday special. Instead of thinking that it will be a long time before I can leave home again, I think about how I can make my time at home memorable. Sometimes it is doing something that makes me look forward to the day like planning a special game or activity. Other times, it is dressing up. Even making a weekly menu with my family can turn a blah tuesday into Taco Tuesday and something I look forward to. Last week, I planned to watch a new movie at the same time as my sister who doesn’t live with me. I also had a tea time with my best friends on a video chat. Maybe one of my favorite days last week was when I finally finished my puzzle! I felt so proud! This week, I am sharing with you some of the cool and weird “special days”. Feel free to do some research to find out how these special days came to be. How can you make everyday special? How does this help you to feel better and manage your time at home? How can we honour everyday as Creator’s gift to us?
Thursday May 14 - Dance Like A Chicken Day!
Friday May 15 - National Chocolate Chip Day
Saturday May 16 - Wear Purple for Peace Day
Sunday May 17 - Pack Rat Day
Monday May 18 - International Museum Day
Tuesday May 19 - World Plant a Vegetable Garden Day
Wednesday May 20 - Be a Millionaire Day
Thursday May 21 - National Waiter and Waitresses Day
This video really puts everything into perspective and makes me think how am I going to make TODAY special, for me!
And if you like art, check out the daily draw below!
I LOVE art! What about you? Drawing, painting, coloring, sculpting, beading, and crafting are all some of my favorite things to do. They help me to feel good and to create beautiful things in my life. But, I was wondering WHY art makes me feel good so I did a bit of research. Here is what I found out!
Art helps us to feel good because uncomfortable feelings are hard to say. When we do art, it is a way of organizing those uncomfortable feelings into something outside of us. If we can draw a picture about being angry when it is hard to talk about it, this will help us to let go of that angry feeling.
Art also helps us to focus, concentrate, and “get in the zone”. Sometimes I focus so hard on coloring that I stick my tongue out without even noticing it. This is good for our minds and helps us to improve these skills that help us at other times, like doing mindfulness, meditation, or school learning.
The biggest thing about Art that makes us feel good though is that doing activities we enjoy is good for our mental health. It helps us to set aside some times to focus just on ourself and to check in with how we are doing in this world. Art is something that I enjoy and sometimes I get too busy to do. So whatever it is that you enjoy it is always important to keep doing it, especially when times get tough
I made this daily draw challenge to share with you. Feel free to get inspiration from a word every day and to create art with it. You can also share it with us through MESC mail or posting it on your school facebook page. Mrs Fehr has a special video for you all about how to make paint when you don’t have it at home! I can’t wait to try it out. Happy creating everybody!
pinawew pisim ᐱᓇᐁᐧᐤ ᐱᓯᒼ (May) 8.
Why We Love Pets!
Here are some of the reasons pets can be so beneficial to our well being.
By: Bev, Sandi and Cassandra
Bev and Tiny
Why spending time with animals is beneficial for your health
Animals get you outside
Sun and fresh air both boost your mood, and the sunshine gives you a dose of vitamin D. Horseback riding, walking a dog, or any outdoor activity that involves being with animals is therapeutic.
Animals prevent you from feeling lonely
There is no better way to relieve a sense of loneliness then to interact with animals on a regular basis. We develop relationships with our pets and animals. When we talk to them, we feel as if they are listening to what we say. Animals are a great source of much-needed therapy for anyone.
Animals can bring a smile to your face
You never know when an animal is going to do something extremely funny or cute. This results in a smile or a laugh from you, raising serotonin or dopamine levels, which results in calmness and happiness. Having a cat fall asleep in your lap, or watching the squirrels in your backyard chasing each other around can have a positive impact on your health.
Animals help you get more exercise
An astonishing number of people don't get enough, if any, exercise during the day. Having a pet, or having a reason to interact with other animals results in significantly more physical activity.
Sandi and Jesse
Dogs (atimwak ᐊᑎᒼ ) are especially good at living in the moment and this makes them very good at knowing how we are feeling. They can read us like a book. They can teach us about ourselves. Dogs follow their instincts and can sense things we may or may not be able to. I have been told that dogs can be sent to us as protectors. I believe this is true. They share our joy and our burdens. For this reason, showing kindness and respect to animals is important.
“If we take good care of Dogs they will always be happy to see us. They have a spiritual connection to us; they can sense how we are feeling and love us unconditionally.” --Judy Skeenum
I encourage you to spend time with your pets; dogs, cats, horses or any other animal you connect with. The more you can get outside with your pet the better. Animals, fresh air and sunlight lift the spirit and strengthen body, mind and heart.
A Cree story of how Dogs came to be our companions:
The Dog Stars. A winter Story. Ask an Elder
Ms.Cassandra and Diesel
Growing up I have always had furry friends around my home. Diesel has really helped me when I am feeling lonely or missing my friends and family back home in British Columbia. Dogs have a great way of sensing your emotions and comforting you when needed... without you even telling them (SUPERDOGGOS)! Diesel and I enjoy going for walks, playing fetch and cuddling up on the couch to watch a movie.
“I have a theory, that you get the right dog, the dog that you need, for a particular stage in your life.” - Meg Donohue
We Encourage you to share a picture with us and what you love about your PETS!
E-mail us at:
Below are some ideas from our counsellors to help ourselves feel better in different situations. As with anything, the more we practice, the better we get! Give them a try!
Here are a breathing few techniques to get you through any tough times that you may have during this isolation. Stay healthy!
Some quick tips to help if you find yourself in a funk! It's easy to get into bad habits when we are missing our routine and regular outings but a little thing can make a big difference! Read some quotes that make you feel good, clean up something in your room, or in your house, it helps to be in a clean space and will give you a sense of accomplishment. Drink lots of water, it’s easy to reach for sugary drinks but water is really important. Try a new breathing strategy, there were a few in your wellness packages, and if you reach out to your counsellors they can help you find a new one! Have a dance party inside, it’s a good way to get moving and brighten up your day! Don't be afraid to try something new or to reach out if you are in a funk, we are here to help!
4-7-8 breathing can help when you are feeling stressed, anxious, or need help getting to sleep. Anytime you try a new strategy it takes some practice to get good at it. Since we all have some more time at home there is no better time than now to practice! Breathing this way can help you calm down and put your lid back on, move out of the red zone, and move back into that good thinking space. You can count in your head to keep track of the seconds, or you can use a timer to visually see the time pass while you breathe. Keep practicing, eventually it becomes easy to use these strategies whenever you need!
April 23, 2020
Our counsellors put together this video to let you know that we are still here for each MESC student and family and that we miss you all!
April 16, 2020
Tansi Ohpikinahawasiwin ekwa awâsisak (parents/guardians and children)! This is our first post to welcome you to the MESC counsellor's blog. We will post here weekly, with everything from fun videos to strategies for mental health and everything in between. We hope to mix a little info with a little fun as we all work together to find our way in these new times. All of the school counsellors are excited to connect with the young people from our schools in this way. We also have our Fun Page, with purely fun/inspirational stuff that we will be updating weekly as well, so check that out. Finally, we also have our Connect with a Counsellor page for anyone who would like to have 1-1 contact with their own school counsellor. It is not for crisis counselling but will put you in touch with a counsellor for non-emergency purposes and ongoing support. Feel free to use it if you are a student and are having some tricky feelings that you'd like some help with. Parents and/or guardians may also use this form to connect their child with the counsellor from the school they attend.