Orienting School Personnel

Who should lead implementation of the program?
Ideally, occupational therapy (OT) practitioners can take the lead in implementing the Calm Moments Cards (CMC) program because of expertise in activity-based services, mental health, sensory processing and activity analysis. However, if an occupational therapy practitioner is not available, other skilled school personnel (e.g. school counselors or psychologists) may take the lead in implementing this program in their school.

Major steps for how to implement this program:
1. Obtain principal's permission and support. Prior to beginning the program, it is essential to obtain the principal's permission and support. Schedule a meeting with the principal to review the Calm Moments Cards program and share your plan of action for implementing the program (how you'll invite school personnel, approximate start date, etc.). Discuss how implementing this program ts into your workload. Example: 'This is a school-wide initiative that may bene t students with and without disabilities and/or mental health challenges.' The goal is to empower school personnel in recognizing signs of stress and anxiety (not diagnosing anxiety) and embedding simple strategies to reduce stress and enhance feelings of mental well-being so students can participate fully in the school day.

2. Talk it up! Begin telling school personnel about the program. After obtaining the principal's approval, begin letting school personnel (all teachers, paraprofessionals, related services, counselors, coaches, guidance counselors, cafeteria/ lunch supervisors, librarians, etc.) that you'll be kicking off the program. Encourage them to invite colleagues who might be interested. Click this link to download a marketing flyer — Calm Moments Cards Marketing Flyer. Share this yer with school personnel to invite them to the orientation session.

3. Orientation session to 'Kick off the program' (1 hour): The lead OT (or other relevant school personnel) will provide a 1-hour orientation of the program using a power point presentation to educate school personnel about the signs and symptoms of stress and anxiety, the common school situational stressors that may evoke a stress response, and how to use the 17 Calm Moments Cards. With the principal's assistance, the orientation session should be scheduled in a room that allows for computer access for the participants (e.g. computer lab). If this is not available, participants should be encouraged to bring their own laptops. Another option is to send the Every Moment Counts' website link for the cards prior to the session so that participants can download the cards beforehand. During the orientation, the following is provided:

  • CMC Orientation PPT presentation which provides an overview of the program. Click this link to download the PPT — Orientation PPT Calm Moments Cards
  • Hard copy samples of some of the CMC materials. Have a set of laminated CMC cards to display as well as the Appendices. Prepare samples of some of the activities to share with participants.
  • Demonstration of how to access the 17 Cards and Appendices A through E from the Every Moment Counts' Embedded Programs tab.
  • Examples of how to use the Cards and Appendices (e.g. Activity Templates, Movement Poses & Breathing Instructions, Teaching Moments, etc.).

4. Offer follow-up coaching to support implementation. Provide ongoing, informal coaching to support school personnel in proactively embedding the thinking, calming and sensory-based activities throughout the day during or before situational stressors. When? Embed this coaching during times when you typically collaborate with school personnel throughout the day – in the classroom, cafeteria, or recess. Purpose of follow-up coaching is to encourage use of the Calm Moments Cards and Appendices, problem-solve challenges, and demonstrate activities. An effective coach:

  • Develops a positive relationship with the school personnel based on trust
  • Promotes two-way sharing of information
  • Demonstrates positive unconditional regard for the school personnel – they are experts about themselves and their experiences
  • Facilitates the change process involving problem-solving, exploring options, trying things out, working together and maintaining a positive attitude. You are in this together!