Pulse Check Stroll

We proudly and warmly welcomed prospective families to our second of two Visitors’ Days of the year yesterday, and I know I wasn’t the only person filled with pride in our school. It was a pleasure speaking about our students, our staff and all that Greenwood has to offer to prospective families. Our student ambassadors shared their stories and Greenwood experiences with guests, resulting in a unique and personalized tour for each prospective student. 

Prior to Visitors’ Day, I took a pulse check stroll through the halls of the school. During this type of walk-through, I try to pay close attention to where the students like to be; who they meet with; what they are doing; the types of choices they are making around nutrition; whether there are new friendships forming; and whether anyone is alone. I try to gauge through my observations whether people seem calm or are frantically trying to get things done. 

School years seem to have a rhythm, so sometimes the pulse check is predictable. (I wish there was a way to bottle the energy at Hallowe’en and redistribute it in February.) However, the culture and climate of each school is very different and hard to quantify or describe. Recently, I joined a gathering of Heads of School and Board Chairs from across Canada at a conference that focussed on school culture and climate with a focus on well-being. 

As I look for ways that we can continue to promote a culture of wellness at Greenwood, I was drawn to the work of Jennifer Moss, a speaker at the recent CAIS conference. In particular, I’m interested in Jennifer’s HERO approach to happiness. The HERO approach stresses the importance of Hope, Efficacy, Resilience and Optimism, as well as Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness, as key factors in and facilitators of happiness. 

Jennifer has worked with the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, as well as a number of colleges in the US and elementary and schools in Ontario, to research happiness in schools and the workplace. She uses decades of evidence and scientific data to support the idea that happiness fuels performance. Her most recent book is called Unlocking Happiness at Work: How a Data-driven Happiness Strategy Fuels Purpose, Passion and Performance.

I have been interested in the topic of wellness in schools for some time. The major research paper that I completed as part of my MEd was titled “Healthy Teachers, Healthy Students, Healthy Schools”, with a focus on the impact teachers can have on students as health role models. I am more interested than ever in the topic of student well-being and am keen to ensure that we make this a top priority and promote a culture of wellness here at Greenwood.

Greenwood College School

443 Mount Pleasant Road
Toronto, ON M4S 2L8
Tel: 416 482 9811