To combat the negative impacts of stress on our lives we need to emphasize a future of mental health prevention and optimization through psychological fitness. HERO Generation will enhance the ongoing efforts to make schools psychologically safe and higher-performing environments for students, staff, caregivers, and communities.
The purpose of the project is to improve elementary school students’ and teachers’ well-being and demonstrate that higher social-emotional skills contribute to improved personal and academic well-being. We believe that this improved overall experience will spill over into staff and student’s homes and beyond.
Plasticity Labs’ research has identified that certain social-emotional traits have a higher propensity to increase happiness and performance. Some of the benefits to these clustered traits include: higher academic performance, mental healthiness, physical literacy, and personal/professional engagement, among many others. Therefore, this project will focus on building these key, high-performance traits. They are: Hope, Efficacy, Resilience, Optimism, Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness (HERO Traits™). The project will encourage and foster the HERO Traits throughout the year with an emphasis on one character trait each month.
By engaging in hands-on learning, monthly assemblies, multi-age group activities, a focus on student voice, and linkage to existing curriculum, the HERO Generation will deliver the best possible opportunity for children, adolescents, and adults, to flourish.
HERO Generation research in conjunction with existing scientific evidence demonstrates that a valuable way to support healthy psychological development, foster strong social relationships, and cultivate a positive school environment, is to support the entire education ecosystem.
Plasticity Labs identified the ecosystem as four quadrants, where students, staff, families, and the surrounding community, all play an essential role in a school’s performance.
Staff and students will be following the HERO Generation framework, that will build understanding and application of the key high-performance traits while encouraging student voice and ownership of HERO learning.
Families can also build their HERO Traits™ “tool-kit” through regular updates which will include key information and resources for families.
Plasticity, an online wellness platform, will offer emotional intelligence training, happiness tracking, and a positive, supportive social community to all staff.
Families have access to a resources that include descriptions of the traits and ways to engage with their kids at home. We also recommend that schools share monthly HERO newsletters and weekly online updates through school-day™ and a variety of other mediums.
Additionally, the community can be invited to engage and learn about what is going on with HERO Generation in the classrooms through social media outlets like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Using evidence-based approach, Plasticity Labs continues to evaluate the project’s effectiveness in supporting positive development among students, staff, families, and community.
Throughout the school year, data is collected via short surveys to assess the character traits and well-being of staff and students. Additionally, families have an opportunity to participate and provide feedback.
“Having a common language and a similar lens with which to view situations has been so helpful with students, parents, and staff.” – Teacher
“They are really fun and I like that it teaches you about different ways to improve at school and everywhere. They make me excited to come to school every day.” – Grade 4 Student
“My grade one son was riding his bike uphill…struggling. He then says, “I am resilient!” and he works at the hill. If the word resilience is in a grade one’s head and heart, that is amazing.” – Parent