Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Of Interest to Parents and Teachers

February 28, 2012


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Project Gives Students Tools for Lifelong Success: Premier
Manitoba has launched a first-of-its-kind, provincewide pilot project giving Grade 1 teachers the training and tools to help thousands of young children develop social, emotional and self-discipline skills by playing the PAX Good Behaviour Game, Premier Greg Selinger announced here today.
“Research has shown that when children play the PAX Good Behaviour Game in class for a few minutes a day, every day throughout the year, it strengthens the skills they need throughout their lives,” said Selinger.  “It helps them stay focused, make healthy choices and learn better.”
Originally created by an elementary school teacher, PAX has proven to immediately improve the classroom environment by reducing disruptions and allowing for more effective and focused learning, Selinger said.  Long-term studies have shown that, after playing PAX just in Grade 1, students do better in school and need fewer special education services.
“The great thing about PAX is that it maximizes the potential of our young people right from the start,” said Children and Youth Opportunities Minister Kevin Chief, chair of the Healthy Child Committee of Cabinet.  “When we give kids the tools they need from a young age – tools that teach them self-discipline and team-building – we have seen that they are more likely to stay in school and graduate, they’re more likely to avoid drug and alcohol addictions, and they’re less likely to be involved in crime.  That’s exactly what we want for Manitoba’s children.”
The Seine River School Division did a trial with PAX last year and found an immediate 45 per cent decrease in the number of interruptions in Grade 1 classrooms.  Based on that, and the long-term research, the province, school divisions, and the Central Regional Health Authority are moving quickly to launch a two-year, $1.3-million pilot project in schools across Manitoba, the premier said.
The provincial pilot and evaluation involves 200 schools from nearly every school division in Manitoba including First Nation and independent schools.  Half of the classrooms will start using PAX in this school year and the other half will start in the 2012-13 school year.  The project will involve about 5,000 students and their teachers, with short- and long-term outcomes to be measured over time. 
The premier noted PAX was discussed as a positive approach to mental-health promotion and mental-illness prevention at the Mental Health Summit he recently hosted for mental-health professionals, educators, researchers and policy makers from across the country.
Established in 2000 and legislated in 2007, the Healthy Child Committee of Cabinet includes the ministers of children and youth opportunities; aboriginal and northern affairs; culture, heritage and tourism; education; family services and labour; health; healthy living, seniors and consumer affairs; housing and community development; immigration and multiculturalism; and justice.  The Healthy Child Manitoba strategy continues to focus on evidence-based prevention and early intervention from the prenatal period through the school years, in partnership with communities.
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