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Ensouling Our Schools

A Universally Designed Framework for Mental Health, Well-Being, and Reconciliation

By Jennifer Katz
Contributions by Kevin Lamoureux
Series: Teaching to Diversity
Imprint: Portage & Main Press

Categories: Education, Inclusive Education, Educational Psychology, General, Professional Development
Paperback : 9781553796831, 258 pages, April 2018
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781553797432, 259 pages, June 2018
Ebook (PDF) : 9781553797449, 259 pages, June 2018

Table of contents

  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Introduction 1
  • Are Schools an Archaic Institution? 3
  • Health Promoting Schools 6
  • Weaving the Threads 9


  • Ensouled Learning Communities: Finding Meaning and Purpose in Schools and Schooling 11
  • Chapter 1: Spirit and Soul in Education 13
    • What Do We Mean by Soul/Spirit? 13
    • The History 13
    • Communities of Care 13
    • Social and Emotional Learning 15
    • Teachers as Change Agents 17
    • The Vision of Spiritual Education 18
    • Why Spiritual Education Is Critical in the 21st Century 19
    • Bringing It All Together 20
  • Chapter 2: Neurology, Trauma, Well-Being, and Mental Health in Our Schools 21
    • Indigenous Views of Mental Health and Well-Being 22
    • Mino-Pimatisiwin 22
    • The Four Spirits 24
    • The Circle of Courage 25
    • Mental Health: Contemporary Western Views 26
    • Mental Health and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) 26
    • Positive Mental Health 27
    • The Role of Trauma, and the Promise of Plasticity 30
    • School-Based Mental-Health Services and Programs 34
    • Teacher Impacts 36
    • Impacts on Families and Communities 38
  • Chapter 3: The TRC and Indigenous Worldviews of Education for Well-Being 43
    • Context and Relationship 43
    • The Indian Act 46
    • The Truth and Reconciliation Commission 47
    • The Role of Schools and Teachers in Reconciliation 50
    • Education as a Way Forward 51
  • Chapter 4: Leadership for Inclusion and UDL 53
    • Universal Design for Learning 53
    • The Three-Block Model of Universal Design for Learning 53
    • Leadership in an Inclusive Culture 56
    • Effective Leadership for Inclusive Education 57
    • Building Powerful Forms of Teaching and Learning 60
  • Chapter 5: Weaving the Threads 65
    • From Distress to Success 65
    • The Connections 66
    • It’s All About Relationships 66
    • Neurology 66
    • Designed for Some, Of Benefit to All: Reconciliation as Reflecting the Values of UDL 66
    • The Science and the Art of Ensouling Our Schools 68
    • The Gift of Plasticity and the Hope of Reconciliation: We Can Grow and Change 69
    • Framing Well-Being 69


  • How to Build Flourishing Learning Communities 73
  • Chapter 6: Classroom-Based Programming for Social-Emotional Learning 75
    • Response to Intervention 75
    • Universal Design for Learning 77
    • Tier l of RTI in the Three-Block-Model of Universal Design 79
    • Social and Emotional Learning: Block One of the TBM 81
    • Strategy One: The Respecting Diversity (RD) Program 82
    • Strategy Two: Spirit Buddies 101
    • Strategy Three: Creating Democratic Classrooms 102
  • Chapter 7: Addressing Mental-Health Needs with All Students 107
    • A Framework for Well-Being 107
    • Mental-Health Literacy 111
    • The Brain Unit: Mental-Health Literacy the UDL Way 112
    • Strategies for Well-Being 131
    • Breathing and Its Effects on the Brain 132
    • Managing Our Environment 134
    • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) 135
    • Tier 2/3: How Do I Know When to Be Concerned? 161
  • Chapter 8: Programming for Reconciliation and Education for Reconciliation 165
    • TRC Resources and Lesson Ideas 166
    • The Medicine Wheel and Well-Being 173
    • Calls to Action and Teacher Responsibilities 175
  • Chapter 9: Moving Toward Joy 177
    • Joy, Neurology, and Engagement 177
    • Finding Meaning and Purpose 177
    • Indigenous Perspectives on Connecting with the Whole 179
    • Instructional Practices for Well-Being and Joy 180
    • Connecting Mental-Health Programming with Curriculum Across the School Year 182
    • A Sample Unit Connecting Mathematics and Well-Being 185
    • Scheduling Programming Across the Year 188
    • Elementary School 188
    • High School 189
  • Chapter 10: School Culture and Staff Well-Being 195
    • Building Staff Culture 195
    • Team Building: The RD Program for Staff 195
    • Setting the Vision: School Plans for Well-Being 196
    • Building and Supporting Collaborative Practice and Teacher Leadership 202
    • Supporting Teacher Professional Learning 206
    • Finally, Make It Fun! 207
  • Conclusion: A Story of Hope 209
  • A Story of Hope 209
  • Appendices 213
    • Appendix A: Resource List 215
    • Appendix B: Multiple Intelligences Surveys 219
    • Appendix C: Brain Diagram (for teacher and students) 233
    • Appendix D: The Brain and the Senses 235
    • Appendix E: Brain Unit Rubric 236
    • Appendix F: The Neuron (for teacher and students) 238
    • Appendix G: Emotion and Mental Health Words 240
    • Appendix H: Mental Illnesses 241
    • Appendix I: Warning Signs of a Mental Illness 242
    • Appendix J: Mental-Health Scenarios 243
    • Appendix K: Rubrics for Treaty Education 245
  • References 249
  • Index 255

Learn how to infuse mental, spiritual, and emotional health into classroom learning.


In an educational milieu in which standards and accountability hold sway, schools can become places of stress, marginalization, and isolation instead of learning communities that nurture a sense of meaning and purpose. In Ensouling Our Schools, author Jennifer Katz weaves together methods of creating schools that engender mental, spiritual, and emotional health while developing intellectual thought and critical analysis.

Kevin Lamoureux contributes his expertise regarding Indigenous approaches to mental and spiritual health that benefit all students and address the TRC Calls to Action.


  • Winner, Exceptionality Education International Book Award 2018


Ensouling [Our Schools] provides an enticing view of how our schools could be better designed to address the social, emotional and academic needs of our students. What really sets this text apart is the way it intertwines this issue and the broader issues of reconciliation. Although perhaps lacking some universal adoptability, the work contains enough significant and thought-provoking information to be well worth the read. —EdCan Network

Grant Frost, EdCan Network

At this time in Canadian history, this is an important theoretical and practical book that deepens our understanding of the interconnectedness of SEL, UDL, Trauma-Informed Practice, Mental Health, & Inclusion under the umbrella of responding to the TRC. This is a tall order, but Katz and Lamoureux do it masterfully and leave the reader with incredible hope for education, youth, and the future of this Land and country.

Exceptionality Education International

We wanted the resources to be evidence-based, Canadian and with a focus on supporting well-being for everyone in the classroom. We looked for resources that are identity-affirming and differentiated. We made a commitment to centre historically marginalized voices and perspectives and to keep in mind the needs of both educators and students. The resources needed to be practical, easy to implement, and provide a range of activities and learning opportunities for students and staff. [Ensouling Our Schools] met our criteria.

Sue Ducau, ETFO Voice Magazine