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Illustration: Angela Reimer

As kids, parents and teachers adapt to remote learning, a compassionate and playful start up is offering a free toolkit for teachers to combat anxiety and increase human connection

Vancouver, BC – Teachers around the world have been grappling with a daunting task. On top of the regular expectations of delivering education, educators are dealing with restless, bored, isolated and screen-saturated children; kids who are absorbing the anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The stress contagion is not limited to kids. It is being felt by parents coping with working remotely, facing a hit on family income or working on the frontlines. It is being felt by the teachers themselves, who are being asked to rapidly adapt to these unprecedented times. To many teachers, it is the first time they have ever used elearning tools or video conferencing technology, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and so on. 

To support teachers during the sudden shift to remote learning, the calmversation learning foundation – a non-profit focused on innovation in education – is offering a free, online toolkit as an easy way to get started on reducing anxiety and increasing the human connection they have with their students.

“When children today look back on this period in their lives, they will remember how they felt and how the role models in their lives responded to the crisis” said Missy Jena, founder of the calmversation learning foundation, a best selling author and TEDx SFU speaker, “The intention of this [toolkit] is to give teachers a place to start and build that critical emotional connection in the absence of physical classrooms. Through the calmversation tools and activities, teachers can guide students to empower each other in embracing the humanity of it all – life, learning, creative problem solving – during these uncertain times.” 

In the teacher toolkit, available online at no charge at calmversation.org/teacher-toolkit, educators will find:

– Exploring calm together
– How to host a ‘calmversation’ video
– calmversation discussion points and prompts
– Connecting and Learning Through Common Experiences (pandemic related)
– ‘Space for Thought Lounges’ (one minute brain break that the kids experience collectively)
– Virtual backgrounds or screensavers office interiors and classroom vibes (that allows one to cover up a untidy room with a calming, office or classroom style backdrop)
– calmversation framework for learning digital poster

“We’re well aware that teachers are dealing with a bewildering amount of free resources during the pandemic,” said Gregg Sayer, calmversation’s School Success Lead, “We’re hoping to add a spoonful of optimism to the mix. Through a gentle invitation that is calmversation, this toolkit is a structure that allows teachers and students to have some fun and simply be human during a challenging time.”

“At the heart of our offer is a genuine desire to make a difference, reduce anxiety and increase joyful learning opportunities for teachers and students” said calmversation founder, Missy Jena, “We want teachers to know that we’re here to support and inspire as we collectively shift into a new reality for education.”


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