The mission of Project HEAL is to cultivate hope -- and foster educational success -- among the students, families, and staff of St. Martin de Porres Roman Catholic Primary School. To achieve its mission, Project HEAL has created the following programs:
- Project HEAL Counselling provides students and their families whose academic success and/or family well-being may be threatened by trauma or other psychological impediments. Our centre serves to address the mental health needs of student enrolled at St. Martin’s De Porres Primary School. Through Play Therapy Project HEAL provide our students with a space to; learn, develop, support him/her in understanding the world around them and offering a safe and confidential environment to express complex emotions they may not be able to process otherwise. Such interventions usually translate to; increased ability to self-regulate, improved social skills and respect for others and ultimately a decrease in unwanted behaviours in class and at home. Recognizing that children do not exists on their own, the centre continues to work with parents.
- Readers for Tomorrow: “Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.” - Koffi Annan Since the start of the 2016 School Year St. Martin De Porres has begun the implementation of a literacy program to assist students with improving their reading and comprehension skills and targets students from Infant 1 to Standard 2. The school utilizes a Literacy coach who has special responsibility for evaluating student achievement in reading and comprehension. As a result, out of a population of 700 students, the school has assessed the reading of 309 students. The teachers from Infant I to Standard 2 have benefitted from literacy training provided by a Literacy Specialist. The teachers are trained to utilize reading materials and teaching strategies which may assist students to read at a minimum of their grade level. The program utilizes a reading room which is partially equipped with a few laptops and tablets which can be used for teaching purposes. The primary assessment tool is a reading kit known as A-Z. The kit allows students to practice reading and comprehension to gauge their own improvement from one reading level to the next. Aided by the school’s literacy coach students are also engaged as individuals and groups depending on their reading level and needs. In this way, the school can conduct pre-tests and post-tests to monitor and encourage students reading achievement.
- Ensuring They Beat the Odds (ETBO) provides a high school assistance service for approximately 25 graduates of St. Martin de Porres and their families. This program encompasses some financial assistance, tutoring, community service, and psychoeducational workshops. The goal is for students to continue their education and seek sustainable employment opportunities, after completing secondary and even possibly a tertiary school. It is the hope for ETBO program to provide a holistic supportive model to assist with alleviating several of these problems and eventually fill the existing gaps in our children’s reality. The ETBO program has the potential to offer a range of services that directly addresses the obstacles these children face in completing high school. The EBTO Program includes services that Project HEAL believes will encourage and empower our students towards a successful high school experience.
- Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is a process through which children and adults (educational community stakeholders) acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. The main goal of the past three years of this SEL program has been to connect and engage the main actors involved in the everyday life of students who may steer the educational community's awareness of the need to integrate education with socio- emotional skills, thus impacting decisions involved in raising and educating the students. Parents, teachers, administrators, government nor students alone are responsible-it is a collective effort from all actors in our students lives as it takes “a village to raise a child.” The program is based upon experiential learning as we apply best by doing the task at hand. Core SEL competencies and other relevant topics are interwoven throughout the three years to best ensure learning, trial and error, habit formation and ultimately, healthy growth both individually and as stakeholders in the holistic development of the students. The original three-year proposal has gone changing as the times have demanded. The Covid-19 Pandemic provided an unwelcomed opportunity to use the emotional and behavioural skills needed to navigate such uncertain times in a healthy and productive manner. The administrators and teachers have continued to connect and engage with the program as it has evolved to an online presence. And it is as always, our privilege to work with the SMP community. Many thanks to all who have made this possible.