Parent Resource Page

Westsyde Student

Supporting parents and families with information about resources and services

The following materials have been curated by district staff to help parents set their children up for success inside and out of the classroom. Check back often for updated tools and resources to help support your young learners.

SD73 Communicable Disease Prevention Plan

Ministry of Ed Logo COVID-19 Protocols for School and District Administrators

BCCDC Vaccination for Children (5-11 Years Old) - Information Sheet **NEW**

Sesame Street - Healthy Habits with Grover PSA Video

Enhanced Safety Measures for K-12

On February 4, 2021, the Ministry of Education announced changes to the health and safety requirements in place for schools. The updates include:

For your information, the following documents have been updated: 

Interactive Wellness Tool

Ask Kelty Mental Health

We know how tricky it can be for families to navigate the mental health system. Hopefully the information in the new Ask Kelty Mental Health toocan be helpful when looking for supports and services in BC for children and youth.

With the help of FamilySmart parent peer support workers at the Kelty Centre, this tool offers suggestions about where to go and what to expect when looking for support options.

You can type your question into the tool, and find answers to commonly asked questions families have such as:

  • My child needs help now, what can I do?
  • How do I find counselling?
  • What can I do while my child is on a waitlist?
  • I am struggling to cope with my child’s illness. Where can I get support?

 

8 Tips to Support Grade 1 Readers at Home

8 Tips to Support Grade 1 Readers at Home
Ministry of Education Resources for Parents 

Emergency Management BC:

Educational Videos with Questions from Kids:

Classroom Learning Activities:


Learn more about the WE Well-being program: https://www.we.org/en-CA/get-doing/activities-and-resources/wellbeing/

Learn more about the WE Schools @home program: https://www.we.org/en-CA/our-work/we-schools/at-home/

EASE at Home offers helpful tips for parents, like how to teach children calming breathing techniques or use structured games like scavenger hunts to build routine in a way that’s fun: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/managing-your-health/mental-health-substance-use/child-teen-mental-health/ease

The Ministry of Education’s Erase strategy was expanded to include mental health: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/erase

For more information about available child and mental-health supports and contact information, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/managing-your-health/mental-health-substance-use/child-teen-mental-health/mental-health-intake-clinics

The Ministry of Education has posted Keep Learning - a resource for families with ideas for everyday educational activities, links to free learning resources. There is information about how to help children learn and ensure their wellbeing while they’re at home. Even so, the ministry reminds us that teachers and schools still have primary responsibility for continuous learning.

Here is the news release: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020EDUC0026-000580

Here is a letter to parents and caregivers from Education Minister Fleming and the BCCPAC https://www.gov.bc.ca/safeschools

SD73 Suggested Wellness Links for Parents  

Emergency Assistance

  • If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call  9-1-1  

  • BC Suicide Line: If you are considering suicide or are concerned about someone who may be, please call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or visit the Crisis Centre FAQ page.

  • Kids Help Phone - Immediate support and information and if necessary referrals to community services agencies

  • KUU-US Crisis Line Society (24Hour Crisis Line for Aboriginal Adults/Elders & Youth) Toll free 1.800.588.8717

  • Native Youth Crisis Hotline (24 hour crisis line available throughout Canada) 1.877.209.1266

  • ERASE- Expect Respect and a Safe Education Reporting Tool

  • Ministry of Children and Family Development

    • If you think a child or youth under 19 years of age is being abused or neglected, you have the legal duty to report your concern to a child welfare worker. Phone 1-800- 663-9122 at any time of the day or night

Health and Wellness

Financial Resources

Ministry of Education

Parenting Support Resources

Recommended Apps 

SD73 Resources for Parents   

Easing Your Children’s Anxiety

Anxiety, worry and concern are all normal human emotions and it is natural for them to increase during times of uncertainty. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Children and Family Development created a new teacher education program to provide age appropriate tools for children and anxiety management called EASE - Everyday Anxiety Strategies for Teachers. It has been very well received throughout the province and in this district.

In response to the current situation and with parents and guardians so involved as active daily supporters of kids in our more socially isolated COVID 19 world, the EASE materials have been adapted for your use.
These fun, easy activities and resource links are designed to be helpful in providing some ideas to support the emotional well-being of all children. You can try one idea or engage in the full set and they are beneficial to every child.
Go here to access either the Kindergarten to Grade 3 ideas or Grade 4 to Grade 7 resources.

SD73 has created this companion resource of some of our teachers reading stories that help kids understand their worries, feelings, and thoughts to go along with the EASE resources. 

Our staff are working hard to collect, vet and curate resources for parents. Here is an Elementary Parents Support Resource site that you can subscribe to, and receive updates as they are posted.

And here is a Secondary Parents Support Resource site, that you can subscribe to, and receive updates as they are posted. 

We are including this link in two places -- you will see it under support for children and teens and we are including it here too, because it is prepared by SD73 staff - We know everyone is affected, and the way adults respond will affect the way children feel about what is happening. Here is some helpful info. 

Support for Children and Teens 

Virtual Town Hall Meeting - Livestreamed Session Link

Feb. 12, 2021 -We have posted links to the Keeping Schools Safe - FAQs. You will find the virtual Town Hall session with Interior Health, and the media Zoom Q&A following the session. This is also where the FAQ containing all the questions from email and the Facebook and YouTube chats will soon be posted. 
ELL English Language Learners Resources
   Safety Tips Street Smart Safety Tips
   Math Moments Math Moments - Strategies for Parents

Community Supports for Parents, Children and Youth - Fall 2021 Calendar

Rekindled Trauma - Former Kamloops Residential School

Every Child MattersJune 2, 2021 - Here are some useful tips for parents and educators about how to talk to students and children about the recent confirmation of the remains of 215 children found buried at the former Kamloops residential school. Some of what follows is information from the North American Centre for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response (NACTATR), which among other things, is dedicated to preventing and reducing violence and trauma in North America through training, tools and technology. 

We would like parents and guardians to know, too, that along with Sherri Mohoruk, from Safer Schools Together, NACTATR Executive Director J. Kevin Cameron will be a guest at the June 3, 2021 District School Leaders' meeting. 

We will continue to post resources here, as they become available.

The Unfolding Events at the Former Kamloops Residential School (NACTATR)
This information has been provided by the North American Centre for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response (NACTATR), which among other things, is dedicated to preventing and reducing violence and trauma in North America using training, tools and technology.

“During this time of profound traumatic reliving for Indigenous People in every Nation in Canada surely the rest of us can be still and listen to the cries from the dust and lift up the arms that hang down and steady the gaze of one with a broken heart with the sound of our voices that simply say “I believe you”, “I care” and “I am beginning to see these things more clearly now”.

J. Kevin Cameron, Executive Director, NACTATR

The greatest fear for any victim of abuse is that, if they tell, they will not be believed. The other is that, even if they are believed, no one will care. How immense is it when that feeling has been the lot of an entire people?

It is clear that trauma is stored in the body and very much at the cellular level, including the burdens of intergenerational trauma. The bodies of over two hundred children found in the grounds of the former Kamloops Residential School in Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation has magnified that burden as the past and much of the unresolved present now converge.

Too many Non-Indigenous Canadians have not applied themselves to understanding the true history of Indigenous People and First Nations upon these lands. Many assume that residential schools were schools. In fact, they did not uphold safe and caring learning environments. Residential schools began the dissolution of the family unit and the confounding of natural law where parents and communities of parents raise a child.  

In a way, every Indigenous person, whether they were in a residential school or not, is a residential school survivor. Why these schools were constructed and what happened within them is symbolic of the intense racism of “that day” and the ongoing systemic racism of “our time”. The true character of a so-called modern nation should be measured in the treatment of their Indigenous people. We cannot all move from this land, but we should be moved by the bright and penetrating light shone upon this crumbling cornerstone of Canadian society.

One of the basest comments made by some is to say to an immigrant to Canada: “go back to where you came from”. This comment often comes from a white citizen who is making the comment with little insight into where they themselves “came from”. Some will say, “well other cultures are racist to us”. It is true that the scourge of racism throughout the world is not limited to whites as the protagonist, but in North America “white is the colour of the canvas that racism is painted upon”.

It is admirable for Canadians to keep the peace in other countries but not while failing to keep the peace and promises in this one. During this time of profound traumatic reliving for Indigenous People in every Nation in Canada surely the rest of us can be still and listen to the cries from the dust and lift up the arms that hang down and steady the gaze of one with a broken heart with the sound of our voices that simply say “I believe you”, “I care” and “I am beginning to see these things more clearly now”.

We must understand that trauma does not necessarily create new dynamics in human systems, it just intensifies already existing symptoms. Therefore, this is not a time for us to seek out the positives in the hope of lessening anyone’s pain, it is a time to be present and to listen. Even for those who have not experienced it, every parent or caregiver should be able to imagine the bitterness of what it may be like to lose a child. But how bitter? Only those who have experienced it can tell.

Our foundation for providing support from a crisis and trauma response perspective should begin by ensuring physically safe environments for emotionally safe connections. Like any grieving family there needs to be a time of coming together. For many Non-Indigenous people, we must sometimes wait to be invited in if we have not yet proven to be an ally. Indigenous individuals and families who do reach out should be willingly wrapped around by all support services (Indigenous and Non-Indigenous) with the goal, as appropriate, to connect them with members of their families and communities.

During traumatic aftermath some people need to talk and others do not. Secure and caring attachments will lower anxiety more than any words. Be ok with intensified emotions that will build over the days to follow. The fields of Violence Threat Risk Assessment (VTRA) and Crisis/Trauma Response are inseparably connected.

From time to time there may be those who lack compassion or insight who may attempt to cause further emotional harm to those who are grieving. As such, local crisis response teams should prepare, as necessary, for “Whole Community” interventions to support Indigenous and Non-Indigenous children, youth and families in processing the many implications and effects of the untold stories of these lost members of the human family.

However, do not expect human weakness among Indigenous Communities at this time. Expect pain, sorrow and a profound sadness but in all my life I have never seen a more powerful and resilient people than members of the First Nations of this land. I stand amazed at the unconquerable spirit of those I have grown to love. Today, be on the right side of history.

J. Kevin Cameron, Executive Director, NACTATR

How to Talk to Your Children About the Unfolding Events at the Former Kamloops Residential School (from NACTATR)
 Dr. Marleen Wong

 Preface

In the 1800s and through the 1900s Indigenous children in North America were taken from their homes and forced to attend boarding schools.  They were punished for speaking their native languages and deliberately stripped of engaging in or even thinking about their spiritual and cultural values and practices.  Even in the face of child labor laws, they were made to work long hours in unpaid manual labor.  Many of the children were badly neglected.  All were emotionally abused if not physically or sexually abused.

Alive today are those who survived the experience of the residential boarding schools.  From first-hand experience, they knew children who did not survive.  The wounds are deep with words such as historical trauma and genocide used to describe what has occurred.

Dr. Maria Brave Heart defines historical trauma as the “cumulative… psychological wounding over the life span and across generations, emanating from massive group trauma experience.” She emphasized that we must be especially aware not only of the effects of multigenerational historical trauma but the ways in which each family and tribal community frames the story and meaning of their losses.

For adults, she identifies four components designed to foster healing from trauma and grief:

1) confronting the history;

2) understanding the trauma and its effects;

3) releasing the pain; and

4) transcending the trauma. 

This is a difficult and heart wrenching journey for adults. How can we talk with children about this tragedy?

*Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, PhD (Hunkpapa/Oglala Lakota), Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Native American and Disparities Research at the Center for Rural and Community Behavioral Health, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

 For Our Children Today

In this segment, we draw from the work of multiple expert sources:  The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, the American Psychological Association, and organizations that educate children about the Holocaust in which six million Jews were exterminated because of hate, bigotry and unrelenting political scapegoating and condemnation.  You may recognize common elements. However, we are organizing them to align with what we know about prevention, intervention and resilience research in child trauma, brain science and the healing power of meaningful connections and conversations between caring adults and children.

- Take a moment. Take a deep breath.Take stock of your own emotions before talking about the Kamloops tragedy with your child.The purpose of your conversation is to understand and to address your child’s concerns. Your child needs you to be calm and to reassure them that their safety is of greatest important to you. 

- Listen to your child’s fears, questions, worries to understand what they are thinking or feeling without criticism or judgment.

- You can say something to Protect them If they ask, “How did the children die or Why did this happen?” for example, they may be wondering “Might this happen to us?” A short, honest, and reassuring answer for a young child would be something like, “This happened when children were separated from their parents for no reason except they were First Nations children. They were forced to live in residential schools where they were treated badly.  We don’t allow this to happen anymore. We have laws against it, and leaders who have told us how wrong it was.”

- Connect with them in age appropriate ways. A child in kindergarten or early elementary grades want to know that they and their loved ones are safe. Let them know they can come to you anytime they feel worried or afraid.  

- Think together about ways you and your child can reach out and make a difference.You might decide to do a good deed.There may be children in your community who can benefit from kindness and inclusion.

- Model kind and sensitive behavior. Start slowly. In the beginning, keep it brief. Your child will let you know what they are worried about which will change over time as more is known.  We know that hundreds of residential schools will now be subject to the same scrutiny as the former Kamloops Residential School. Even though some of the survivors of Kamloops have said that they were not surprised by the discovery of the child graves, there is more trauma ahead if new discoveries are made about other abuses and losses.

- Model tolerance, respect, and civic engagement. The best way to make sure your child grows up to understand the lessons of the history of Indigenous people. Sponsor a family, help out at a food bank, find a way to give back and help make the world a better place for us all. 

- In your actions, show that you believe in your child’s resilience. Yes, it is a dangerous world, and there are reasons for fear. But they are not alone and together you can use the lessons of the past to help your child feel empowered by helping to create a world that is safer, kinder, and more loving.

- Be creative. Help your child find healing avenues of creative expression, whether musical, visual, linguistic, dance or some other culturally or spiritually relevant way. 

- Teach your children how to face a crisis.  Be honest and provide reliable information.  If you don’t know, it’s o.k. to acknowledge that. You can say, ‘That’s a really good question, let’s think about how we can find the answers. Don’t overwhelm your child with more than they need to know at the time. Your child will be reassured by your honesty. Children can feel secure in a dangerous world if they feel they have a caring adult they can depend upon and trust. 

- Share your belief that love is stronger than hate. Help your child move toward constructive actions that fight every kind of bigotry, and prejudice.  Share stories of the courage of First Nations heroes in everyday life who have stood up to racism and discrimination.  Point out ways in which you have observed your child speaking out, reaching out or helping others at home, at school, in clubs, places of worship or in other activities.

 

Guidelines for Parents/Guardians to support children through times of grief during and after a traumatic event (Safer Schools Together)

Be yourself – Demonstrate your natural concern calmly and in your own words.

Be available – Spend time with your child. Attempt to distract your child by reading, walking, going to a movie, etc.

Listen – Let your child express his/her thoughts, concerns, feelings, and perceptions in a nonjudgmental, emotionally safe environment.

Explain – Talk about what you know in short, truthful statements. Don’t be afraid to admit that you do not have all the answers. Do not speculate.

Develop resiliency – Your child will look to you for reassurance. Do not convey your own feelings of hopelessness, but rather let your child know that they will get through this difficult period.

Provide comfort – Physical and verbal comforts are great healers.

Attend to physical manifestations of trauma - Children will often complain of headaches, stomach aches, backaches, etc. Monitor physical symptoms such as loss of appetite, anxiety, sleep disturbance, etc. and determine whether medical intervention is required.

Maintain regular routines – As much as possible, attempt to provide normalcy to your child. Humans are creatures of habit and derive comfort from regular routines.

Monitor media exposure – Do not overexpose your child to media reports (especially preschool and elementary age children).

Seek additional support – When appropriate, your child should be directed to community support agencies.

Reference Links (NACTATR)
Canadian Resources (NACTATR)

Cybertip.ca Alerts - Sign up to get notifications

Cybertip.ca Alerts are notifications sent out to inform the public of concerning technology trends and new resources designed to increase children’s personal safety. As Canada’s national tipline for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children, the information reported to Cybertip.ca enables us to identify the online risks children and youth are facing. Recognizing that it can be difficult to keep up with technology, signing up for these alerts provides you with important information to help keep your family safe while using the various popular platforms on the Internet.

Sign-up here to receive Cybertip.ca Alerts notifications.

Download the Foundry App to Access Support and Services  

Foundry App Helps Youth Facing Unprecedented Stress 

Mental health and substance use services and supports are faster and easier to access for youth and their caregivers across BC with the new FoundryBC app.

It was co-created by youth for youth for 12-24 year-olds. Services offered include drop-in and scheduled counselling, primary care, peer support and group sessions.

For more info, read the Provincial Government news release, New Foundry BC app transforms access to vital services for youth, caregivers.

To learn more about the Foundry app, visit the Foundry web portal.  

POPARD - Transition to Kindergarten

POPARD information and support for children on the spectrum as they transition to kindergarten.

Jackie’s Story Part 2 – Preparing for Kindergarten

Jackie’s Story Part 3 – Strategies for Successful Kindergarten Year

SOGI

Kamloops SOGI Services

Safe Spaces – Interior Community Services Program Information

Safe Spaces is available in both Kamloops & Merritt and provides:

  • Drop-in and individual appointments
  • Weekly peer group meetings; workshops for community and school groups on homophobia and heterosexism
  • E-mail outreach and support
  • Resource and lending library
  • Referrals to other services

Who Is Eligible?

Safe Spaces is open to people 12-26 years of age.

How to Refer: No referral is required, we are an open door to the community.

Contact Information

Staff Cell: 250-371-3086 (both locations)
Kamloops Office: 250-554-3134
Merritt Office: 250-378-9676

Please call to get program locations

PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People)

Kamloops Chapter
Contacts: Jim and Grace Williams
Phone: 1-888-530-6777 ext. 579 (toll free)
Email: PFLAG

Kamloops Pride

Facebook: @KamloopsPride

Orchard Walk Medical Clinic

Supporting Team Excellence with Patients Society (STEPS) at the Orchard Walk Medical Clinic provides general family practice, primary care access and services for LGBTQ2S. As well, Dr. Harvey provides gender-affirming care and general primary care for the LGBTQ2S community.

Phone: (250) 828-8080

 Understanding ADHD - Video Presentation

In this presentation (view here), Dan shifts mindsets from the symptom focused Outside-In Perspective; to the Inside-Out Perspective which provides a simple and useable understanding of ADHD brain function. The ADHD Inside Out Framework that he has developed allows participants to understand and respond to ADHD properly; what’s more, it explains ADHD in simple terms, which makes the Framework useable by anyone who encounters ADHD.

Dan offers strategies to help your student succeed in an educational setting.

Dan Duncan is an ADHD Coach/Consultant who coaches privately through his business ADHD Inside Out. He works in association with the BC Interior ADHD Clinic, and UBCO as an academic strategist.

Dan was diagnosed with ADHD in his 30’s. Together with his wife, he raised two sons - one has ADHD, the other does not. The son with ADHD is in his first year of full-time teaching as a grade 9 teacher, while his other son is completing a Masters degree.

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