It’s The Most Wonderful Time…Of The Year

By Joanne Baskin, Manager, School Services

If you are humming this familiar Bureau En Gros (Staples) commercial jingle, you have already been inundated with countless marketing messages around back to school specials. Apart from the tuition/school fees, books and uniforms, parents are preached to as to what school supplies, clothing, backpacks, lunch bags and locker organizers their children need to be supplied with. In an age of consumerism, parents can be overwhelmed by the marketing messages which only mask the real emotions both parents and students may feel in the anticipation of the start of a new school year.

From a parent’s perspective, some of the common anxieties are:

•    Will my child like his/her teachers?
•    Will my child make new friends?
•    Will he/she be bullied?
•    Will my child be able to keep up with the academic requirements?
•    Will I be able to find the right resources to support my child if more help is required?
•    Will my child be happy?

From a student’s perspective, some of the common anxieties are:
•    Will I like my teacher?
•    Will my peers like me?
•    Will I look stupid?
•    Will I be bullied?
•    Will I be able to keep up?
•    Will my parents be happy with me?
At first glance, the list appears to be the same. However, depending on the parent, and depending on the student, the order of preoccupation may differ. It is important to recognize that each family has its own set of circumstances which will support or challenge these worries. It is also important to establish communication weeks before school starts to address the above concerns, if any, in ways which provide both reassurance and strategies in how best to meet them if they arise.
Here are some suggestions around easing the transition back to school:
1.    Start Early. Get things out of the way before school starts so as not to interfere with the early weeks of routines becoming established. Meeting medical appointments, shopping for required supplies and doing a run through of the morning wake up routine are some ways of getting a head start. If your child walks to school, practice and time the route.
2.    Reset the body clock. Late bedtimes and late wake-ups are common in the summer. Begin a couple of weeks before to get the times closer to school schedules incrementally and  less adjustment once the alarm rings.
3.    Plan Social Activities. Stephanie Dolgoff of parenting Magazine suggests the following:
“Find out before his first day if his friends are going to be in his class, and if they’re not, prepare him for that by talking over whom he can eat lunch with and making plans for after school. See if you can have a late-summer playdate to reconnect him with some of the kids he likes, or even arrange to have breakfast on the first day of school with his best friend and his best friend’s mom. The more he knows about what’s coming up, the better he’ll feel.”
4.    Try to Project Needs. If you or your child is worried about academic performance, re-establish ties with available resources through your school or past tutors. Contact your child’s teacher and school counsellor for further resources once school begins.
5.    Air Your Concerns Together. Create a safe space where your child can vent or reveal any concerns or fears. Listen, remain positive and encourage your child to come up with strategies or solutions. Remind them you are there for them and who else in the school is available for them as well.
Finally, remind your child about his/her own ability to cope and use past examples to reinforce that message. Learning new things and making new friends are great reasons to sing, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

Promouvoir l’engagement scolaire: Que peuvent faire les parents?

Agence Ometz appuie les journées de la persévérance scolaire

Agence Ometz appuie les journées de la persévérance scolaire

Par Joanne Baskin, Chef de service, Services scolaires

Le saviez-vous ?

  • 1,9 milliard de dollars c’est ce que le problème du décrochage scolaire coûte chaque année à la société québécoise
  • 75% des étudiants diplômés en 2013. Il s’agit d’une augmentation significative de 5% au cours des dernières années
    • Les diplômés du secondaire vivent en moyenne 7 ans de plus
    • Le taux de chômage est deux fois plus élevé chez les décrocheurs
    • L’éducation est classée au 2e rang des principaux problèmes rencontrés par la société québécoise
    • Le revenu annuel moyen des décrocheurs est de 25 000 $ contre 40 000 $ pour les diplômés du secondaire

Les faits ne concernent pas seulement les questions scolaires, mais aussi les tendances sociétales. Les parents doivent être conscients et s’assurer qu’eux-mêmes, leurs écoles et leurs enfants détiennent les cartes favorisant la réussite scolaire.

Le 10 février 2014 marquera l’événement annuel « Journées de la persévérance scolaire »  qui se déroulera dans les écoles du Québec. De nombreuses écoles proposeront des activités dans et hors des salles de classe visant à promouvoir l’engagement de l’école dans les communautés scolaires. Le programme reflétera ce sujet par le biais du dialogue, d’essais, d’activités artistiques, de projets à l’échelle de l’école, de banderoles et d’affiches pour n’en nommer que quelques-uns. Les parents peuvent participer à la poursuite du dialogue en particulier dans les écoles où les facteurs de risque de décrochage sont plus élevés.

Selon le site des « Journées de la persévérance scolaire » www.perseverancescolaire.com/, les efforts devraient comprendre les éléments suivants :

• Donner l’exemple, encourager l’effort, applaudir les réussites.
• Offrir ou trouver de l’aide si l’enfant a de la difficulté à l’école.
• Encourager la lecture dès le plus jeune âge.
• Questionner régulièrement l’enfant sur ses expériences à l’école.
• Exprimer fréquemment l’importance que vous accordez à l’école.
• Dites souvent à l’enfant que vous croyez en ses capacités.

L’importance de la participation des parents, à la fois avec leurs enfants et l’école, ne peut pas être surestimée. Lorsque les familles s’intéressent au vécu scolaire de leurs enfants, les élèves ont plus de chance de mieux réussir les tests standardisés, se dépasser sur le plan scolaire, fréquenter régulièrement l’école, avoir une attitude positive à l’école et sont moins susceptibles de s’engager dans des comportements négatifs, antisociaux (alcoolisme et toxicomanie, conflits avec les pairs).

Ometz Walks For Mental Health!

By Marcie Klein, Manager, Mental Health Support Services

Ometz walking team organizer Marcie Klein

Ometz walking team organizer Marcie Klein

1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime, and the remaining four will know someone who will.

On Sunday, October 20th Ometz staff and clients will join the more than 1000 others who will be walking to create awareness and reduce stigma around mental illness and its’ enormous impact, both on those who live with it and those who support them.

Ometz is a founding member of the organizing committee for Montreal Walks for Mental Health, a committee that was started in 2009 and has now become a fully developed foundation whose mission is to increase public awareness about mental health, stigma, and discrimination towards people who struggle with mental illness every day.  The mission of the Montreal Walks for Mental Health Foundation is to organize and grow this annual walk more each year and to support organizations, like Ometz, who provide much needed mental health support services and promote recovery in the community.

Over the last several years Canada and more specifically the Mental Health Commission of Canada has supported the goal of recovery for those living with mental illness.  Recovery does not necessarily mean cure, but rather focuses on people recovering a meaningful life while making the most of their strengths and capacities.

At Ometz, adults living with mental illness are offered a number of services designed to help them achieve their individual goals for recovery in the areas of supported independent living, day to day coping strategies, returning to employment and strategies to help them feel less isolated and more connected to community.  Ometz currently assists over 130 adults with mental illness.

Championing school perseverance and protective factors with “Kids Can!”

Kids-Can-logoBy Rosa Caporicci, Program Coordinator, Kids Can!

It’s a very striking number: 24.8%. That number represents the percentage of high school students on the Island of Montreal who drop out.The good news is that that number can change with the right strategies in place.In the spirit of Hooked on School Days taking place between February 11-15, Ometz would like to acknowledge the efforts of community partners who are endeavouring to bring that number down to zero.        
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United against bullying and violence in schools

Jasmin Roy Agence Ometz CSQ

Gail Small, Co-Executive Director, Ometz
Howard Berger, Co-Executive Director, Ometz,
Louise Chabot, President, CSQ
Jasmin Roy, President, Fondation Jasmin Roy
Barbara Victor, Clinical Director, Ometz
Luc Allaire, Advisor, CSQ

By: Barbara Victor, Director, Clinical Services

The very worst part of the bullying story is : how consistently unsupported and unprotected by adults children have felt.  When asked who they would turn to for help, 40% of our students indicated that they would go to a friend, 17% would speak to a parent and only 4% would speak to an adult at school.
On September 23, Ometz joined the Fondation Jasmin Roy, the CSQ, and the Consulate General on the United States in Montreal to announce an historic partnership : to unite our efforts around the creation of a tool-kit that will enable schools across Quebec deal with bullying and violence, and meet the requirements of Bill 56.
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Ten things parents can do to help their kids with bullying.

By Barbara Victor, Director, Clinical Services

Every day in our schools and communities, children are teased, threatened, or tormented by bullies.The messages exchanged between children and their caregivers in just 15 minutes or more a day can be instrumental in building a healthier and safer environment for children. If you suspect your child is being bullied, here are ten things a parent can do to help.

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How do I know if my kid is being bullied?

By Barbara Victor, Director, Clinical Services

Bullying involves repeated acts of physical, emotional or social behaviour that are intentional, controlling, and hurtful. Bullying is a learned behaviour, evident as early as two years of age. Bullying can be either direct or indirect. Direct bullying usually is seen and felt readily. Indirect bullying (deliberate exclusion, name calling, etc.) is much more difficult to remedy, and should be clearly seen as different from direct bullying. Continue reading

The Importance of Family

By Barbara Victor, Director, Clinical Services

Families, no matter their makeup or description, are of vital importance to our children.  Families serve as a gateway to the larger world, and teach children how to interact, behave and relate to others.

It used to be thought that our children could be protected from the dangers in our communities by working to eliminate those risks. If only that were possible! We have learned that it is becoming an increasingly difficult and long-term effort to eliminate the psychological and physical risks of hunger, poverty and violence, a lack of connectedness, limited community resources and the repercussions of stress, depression and other mental health risks.
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