Junior high school students now have access to new drug and alcohol prevention curriculum resources.
The departments of Education and Early Childhood Development and Health and Wellness introduced seven lesson plans for grades 7 to 9 today, Feb. 19, to get students talking about the pressures and influences that may lead to using substances like alcohol, cannabis and prescription drugs.
“We can take these lessons and create spaces for meaningful conversations with our students about the conditions around their lives and the pressures they face,” said Dan O’Leary, a teacher and guidance counsellor at A.J. Smeltzer Junior High School in Sackville. “I’ve experienced these lessons in the classroom and I’ve seen youth speaking up and talking about their lives in ways I’ve never seen before.”
The lesson plans are available as part of the current health education curriculum. Teachers, mental health clinicians, guidance counsellors and school board administrators from across the province were invited to participate in training sessions to help them implement the lesson plans. So far, more than 300 teachers and counsellors have attended sessions. The province will provide ongoing support and coaching, as needed.
“I am pleased that we are able to provide enhanced resources that will help our students with drug and alcohol prevention and ensure they are provided with the right information to help them make positive life choices,” said Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine. “Prescription drug misuse can devastate families and it’s an issue I have dedicated myself to for a number of years.
“Bringing real-world curriculum to junior high school students to open a dialogue with them is something advocates from Get Prescription Drugs Off the Street have fought for, and something I am very proud of.”
The lessons are:
— Super Powers (Grade 7)
— Super Powers Part 2 (Grade 7)
— My Back and My Brain (Grade 8)
— Drug Land (Grade 9)
— Angels and Demons (Grade 9)
— Getting from Here to There (Grade 9)
— Super Powers (Grade 9)
This resource for the Healthy Living curriculum is the first of its kind in Canada. It has been tested with youth in the province, is voluntary and will help teachers meet mandatory learning outcomes for health education.
Feedback on student engagement and response to the lessons from classrooms around the province has been positive.
The lesson plans can be accessed at novascotia.ca/education .