Designed specifically for Canadian school counsellors, a new bilingual resource that will bring awareness to the lifestyle of military families was launched by the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) in partnership with the Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle.
“We know that the whole family is affected, including children, when a parent serves or has served in the military. Resources such as the Working with Military and Veteran Families series support military literacy and contribute to an understanding of the unique lifestyles of military and Veteran families. The collaborative efforts behind this resource highlight the commitment of caring community providers such as CCPA and the Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle,” said Nora Spinks, CEO of the Vanier Institute of the Family and Co-Founder of the Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle.
The publication, School Counsellors Working with Military and Veteran Families, is aimed at increasing the military literacy of school personnel with the hope of enabling them to better support and include military children and youth in the social, academic and athletic lives of schools.
The resource was developed by a panel of experts from the CCPA and others including family members, researchers and academics, Military Family Services, National Defence Health Services Group, Veterans Affairs Canada, Canadian Institute for Military and Veterans Health Research, and the Vanier Institute of the Family.
“Military Family Services is honoured to be working with CCPA in the development of this publication and in building awareness amongst school counsellors. School counsellors have an incredible ability to have a real impact on facilitating transitions for military children. The more we can educate and provide information about the uniqueness of military life to civilian professionals and service providers, the more we support military families,” stated Colonel Dan Harris, Director of Military Family Services.
The resource has four main components. First and foremost it aims to raise the awareness of school counsellors on military life and the stressors that effect military families such as postings, and deployments.
“It’s really beneficial for the guidance counsellors across Canada to know what these unique experiences that military children are experiencing are: moving from province to province or out of country and back into the country. So, they know the specific requirement of adapting into the school environment. Not to mention, the school cirrocumuli across all of the provinces of Canada differs in some way, especially at the high school level.
“It’s an incredible resource that we’re hoping will get into the hands of all school counsellors across Canada,” said Harris.
The publication also seeks to give school counsellors practical tips on how to welcome military children into the community and makes counsellors aware of key resources.
“We thought it was really important that school counsellors and school personnel be aware of those different resources so they can access them to support and promote the health and wellbeing of the students they're serving,” said Kim Hollihan, Deputy CEO, CCPA.
Above all, the resource was aimed at highlighting how military families are resilient, strong and diverse Canadian families.
“Even though they do have some of these very unique circumstances that they're dealing with, they certainly have the competency and support to deal with that. So, really it was more about school counsellors, looking at the strengths, and building upon those to help families and military and veteran child and youth, in particular, really be the most they could be in terms of contributing to that school community,” noted Hollihan.
The resource was officially launched on May 18 at the CCPA national conference in St. John’s Newfoundland. The document will be disseminated to the 400 members of the school counsellor chapter of the CCPA.
The next step will be to work with provinces across the country to disseminate the resource to all Canadian school counsellors.