Stronger You… Improving physical and mental health amongst students

Contributed by Sarah Thomas & Kelsey Brennan (Teacher Candidates)

stronger you

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Stronger You, a martial arts company located in Barrhaven Ottawa, is a great program to welcome into your school. Stronger You encourages healthy living, both physical and mental amongst children and youth of all ages. A Sensei will come in to your school and lead a program of the teacher’s choice, i.e., karate, taekwondo, etc. Simultaneously with the martial arts, the Sensei’s teach the correct martial arts terminology as well as some basic Japanese.

By now, you’re probably thinking “I know a few students who could benefit from this program” or “wow, this couldn’t get any better”. But it does. Not only does this program have an emphasis on physical health, but it is also focuses on mental health as well. This program focuses around bullying and what to do if you witness bullying, if you are being bullied, or if you feel that you are a bully. It also focuses on building positive relationships amongst peers.

I (Sarah) recently had Stronger You come in to the childcare I work at for a one hour program. I chose to have the program focus on karate. The Sensei’s taught them simple kicks and punches as well as a karate sequence using the correct terminology. They were also taught how to count to 10 in Japanese and basic self defence techniques including how to protect yourself against a bully. The Sensei’s briefly discussed what to do if you are being bullied, i.e., who to talk to. This was a great experience for the children. Not only did it get them moving and active, but it also taught them important concepts about bullying. The Sensei’s were amazing and it is a great program because the teacher get to decide what the program focuses on, based on the student’s needs.

This program is a fantastic option to get your students engaged and excited about physical activity! It allowed the students the ability to actively contribute to the program class and contribute to their own learning and their well-being, through being part of this physical activity for healthy living through physical, social and emotional avenues. It allowed them to participate physically with the self defence techniques and moves and also through social/emotional avenues. It helped instil self confidence in the students, and addressed how to handle a bullying situation in a self-controlled way and very important concepts about bullying. They addressed how to physically defend yourself against a bully (i.e., protecting your face) as well as what to do if you are witnessing someone getting bullied.

This wonderful program brought community engagement and partnerships into the school. This wonderful resource was available in our local community and they were more then happy to come into the school and teach the students. Stronger You helped integrate a healthy program into the school to address healthy living, as well as building a positive relationship between the school and the community. It also gave the class a chance to learn about themselves and about others while promoting a healthy lifestyle (physical and mental). It is a wonderful one hour program to bring into the school! Give it a whirl…your students will love it!!

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