LOOKING FOR A NEW APPROACH TO ENHANCE THE
SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL WELLBEING OF YOUR STUDENTS?
The CEO of JUGAR|LIFE, Dale Sidebottom, introduces the JAG Bag.
With approximately half of all mental disorders commencing before the age of 141, school settings play a crucial role in ensuring mental health and well-being are constant focus points during a student’s formative years. Research2 over the past 20 years has suggested that comprehensive initiatives embracing a ‘whole of school’ approach (involving school leaders, teachers, staff, and parents) have been able to foster a climate where better transitions from childhood to adulthood occur.3 Despite this, overall student mental health appears to be on the decline, with an estimated one in every five adolescents suffering from a major mental health disorder4. Of additional concern is that, sadly, most instances go undetected and untreated.5
Early research outputs since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic estimate incidences of adolescent anxiety, depression, and stress have risen significantly. Students around the world struggle to deal with the loneliness, social isolation, and negativity brought on by continued uncertainty.6 7 At JUGAR|LIFE, we want to do our part to remedy that. JAG, as an acronym, stands for joy, affection, and gratitude. These elements exist as core components of student social and emotional wellbeing. As the precursors to happiness and satisfaction, they are necessary if we want students to flourish. We challenged ourselves to design an initiative that prioritised these components irrespective of school setting. An initiative that was comprehensive in nature, flexible in delivery, and aligned with specific learning objectives drawn from global social and emotional wellness curricula. We made it our mission to make it available free of charge to all.
The JAG Bag is the result!
The JAG Bag activities have been developed from a multidisciplinary research base, but remain fundamentally framed in the tenets of POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY. We want students to be able to access activities that move them from ‘Floundering to Flourishing’.
The JAG Bag activities have been designed to closely align with learning objectives taken from the Personal- Social domain of the International School Counselor Association (ISCA) standards.
Additionally, on a wider global scale, the activities help facilitate learning experiences that reinforce standards drawn from:
AUSTRALIA – National Curriculum -Health & Physical Education (Grades 5-8)
CANADA- Ontario Curriculum- Health & Physical Education (Grades 6 & 8)
ENGLAND- National Curriculum- Personal, Social & Health Education (KS 2 & 3)
NEW ZEALAND-National Curriculum- Health & Physical Education (Levels 3 & 4)
USA- CDC Health Schools- National Health Education Standards (Grades 5 & 8)
UPPER ELEMENTARY/PRIMARY PACK
(STUDENTS AGED 10-11 YEARS)
MIDDLE SCHOOL/LOWER SECONDARY PACK
(STUDENTS AGED 12-13 YEARS)
Activity task cards designed as fillable PDFs
Pack of 10 JAG Bag posters to use as visual learning provocations
Family information letter
Each JAG Bag activity is designed to be visually appealing, focused, engaging, and self-fulfilling. In order to have students fully engaged. Each activity is presented to students as a learning challenge, where initial provocation of student thinking manifests as positive action towards themselves and others. Where necessary, resource sheets have been included to assist in task clarity. Reflective questions requiring the use of higher-order thinking have also been included for each of the activities. Activity covers contain an instructional video that can be accessed by scanning or clicking the embedded QR code.
The posters are designed to serve as a provocation to ongoing wellness thinking and action. As such, they are suited to display in class learning spaces, hallways, entrance areas, and common areas such as the cafeteria or library.
TAKE THE NEXT STEP
- Adolescent Mental Health (Sept 2020). World Health Organization. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/adolescent-mental-health on February 25, 2021)/
- Weissberg RP.(2019). Promoting the Social and Emotional Learning of Millions of School Children. Perspectives on Psychological Science. 2019;14(1):65-69. doi:10.1177/1745691618817756/
- Mental Health (August 2019). Ensuring mental health and well-being in an adolescent’s formative years can foster a better transition from childhood to adulthood.UNICEF. Retrieved from https://data.unicef.org/topic/child-health/mental-health/#more–6569 on February 25, 2021./
- Mojtabai R, Olfson M. National Trends in Mental Health Care for US Adolescents. JAMA Psychiatry. 2020;77(7):703–714. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.0279/
- Underdiagnosis and undertreatment of children with mental health disorders remain major health issues around the world[[Polanczyk G, Salum G & Sugaya L, Caye, A & Rohde, L. (2015). Annual Research Review: A meta-analysis of the worldwide prevalence of mental disorders in children and adolescents. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines. 56. 10.1111/jcpp.12381./
- Loades ME, Chatburn E, Higson-Sweeney N, et al. (2020). Rapid Systematic Review: The Impact of Social Isolation and Loneliness on the Mental Health of Children and Adolescents in the Context of COVID-19. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2020;59(11):1218-1239.e3. doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2020.05.009/
- Tang S, Mi Xiang M., Cheung T, Xiang Y-T. (2021). Mental health and its correlates among children and adolescents during COVID-19 school closure: The importance of parent-child discussion, Journal of Affective Disorders, Volume 279, 2021, Pages 353-360, ISSN 0165-0327, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2020.10.016./