Carseland Teacher Claire Wade is 1 of The 150 Leading Canadians For Mental Health

Sitting on the frontlines of youth mental health, elementary school teacher Claire Wade is promoting wellness in her classroom and beyond.

Claire uses her job as a Grade 5/6 teacher in a small, rural, Albertan community to embark on a wellness mission. Her teaching is grounded in the concepts of self-regulation and resilience, and considers the diverse needs of the student population. With a focus on empowering students to make healthy choices in mind, body and spirit, she involves students in the projects she leads through SWIM (Students With Important Messages), a team that meets regularly to co-create wellness projects for the school. Successes include a vertical garden, three outdoor self-watering raised garden boxes that provide produce for community members and the creation of three peace poles covered in the students’ inspirational messages that greet them each day as they enter the school. Claire’s “10 Steps to Creating a Culture of Staff Wellness” came about after learning about high rates of teacher burnout and wanting to encourage colleagues to not just “hold it together,” but to create an environment supportive of ongoing dialogue and resilience-building. Claire is inspiring her school community to appreciate that the words #wematter – which appear on her classroom wall – are a way of life, not just an expression.

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