Project 11 supports students and teachers with mental wellness practices by providing weekly lessons, videos and daily activities that can be integrated into everyday curriculum. Project 11's resources are all online, easy to access and easy to incorporate in the classroom. There are 15 mental wellness lessons per grade. All the lessons target Manitoba's English Language Arts and Physical Education/Health Education learning outcomes. Each lesson is divided into three parts: the Warm-Up, Game-On and Post-Game. In each Post-Game the students are asked to reflect in their journals, or Score Keepers. They also have a chance to watch and learn from Winnipeg Jets' defensemen Mark Stuart who is found in every Post-Game video. Stuart shares his connection to the lesson by answering students' questions related to the particular them of the week, such as stress, friendship, body image and empathy.
Last year, Mark Stuart visited classrooms to meet with groups of students and share first-hand some of his experiences with Project 11 topics. This year, he was joined by Nikolaj Ehlers and Eric Comrie as they were excited to visit schools to learn all about the program and interact with students.
Project 11 also provides each grade with intermission videos on subjects such as Fun with Fitness, Fun with Food, Art Energy, Aboriginal Dance, yoga, Music & Rhythm and Mindful Moment breathing exercises. These 70 short intermission videos are additional tools teachers can use throughout the entire school year. The intention is to promote additional coping strategies for students to use when they are feeling overwhelmed or stressed.
Partnering with Healthy Child Manitoba has helped Project 11 teachers provide feedback and see the benefits of the program through data collection. Last year's results confirmed the need for mental health education in schools. Both teachers and students expressed their appreciation for the stage of empathy the program naturally created within their classroom community. One prominent statistic in the findings was that the odds of being bullied by others in the Project 11 classroom decreased by 54 percent.
"Knowing that 1 in 5 Canadians will have experienced mental illness at some point in their lifetime, I think it's so important that students know that they aren't alone and that is exactly what Project 11 is trying to achieve." says Suzi Friesen, Director of Educational Programs. "Having Winnipeg Jets Players help end the stigma around mental illness and promote the importance of reaching out has had such an impact on out Manitoba community, especially on our young adolescents! We want them to grow up knowing that taking care of their mental wellness is just as important as taking care of their physical wellness."
This year, more than 400 teachers from across Manitoba in Grades 5 to 8 are using Project 11 in their classrooms. Currently, Project 11 focuses on the middle years' curricula (Grade 5 to 8). However, plans are already in the works for the program to expand to Kindergarten to Grade 4 classes.