Jan. 13, 2023Print | PDF
Continuing Education and the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University have partnered to offer a series of fully online micro-credentials for teachers and other educators focused on child and youth mental health.
Through the Skills for Educators: Children and Youth Mental Health Micro-credentials, teachers, administrators, guidance counsellors, coaches and other educators can engage in six self-paced micro-credentials. Micro-credentials are certifications demonstrating mastery of specific skills or competencies. Topics include mood disorders; anxiety; suicide and self-harm; body image and eating disorders; fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and substance abuse; and psychosis and disruptive behaviour disorders.
The program includes one free introductory module, which provides a general overview of mental health issues in children and youth and positions participants to get the most out of the Skills for Educators series. The free module is available at any time of year and typically takes fewer than six hours to complete.
“The pandemic has been especially challenging for young people’s mental well-being,” says Carolyn FitzGerald, assistant professor in the Faculty of Education and Skills for Educators program developer and instructor. “Young people have missed out on learning opportunities and there’s pressure to help students catch up academically, as well as socially and developmentally. The more tools educators have in their toolbox, the better equipped they are to support those needs.”
The micro-credentials are newly re-designed, evolving from the Mental Health Issues in the Classroom certificate program established in 2012, through which educators could receive a certificate for completing a series of online and in-person offerings. With the new micro-credential model, educators can tailor their learning to topics based on their interests or professional needs. Each module takes about 12 to 15 hours to complete and is interactive, with opportunities to discuss and share ideas, practice new skills and test knowledge.
“The Skills for Educators micro-credentials program is flexible, allowing educators to study particular topics of interest to them and get recognition for each module they complete, without having to commit to a full year’s worth of programming,” says Lindsay Tayler, director of Continuing Education at Laurier. “Each module is self-paced and fully online, so educators can participate wherever they are, whenever they want.”
FitzGerald is an expert on mental health in education. Her research focuses on the training current and prospective educators need to effectively support students with mental health needs and promote positive mental health. She also studies and teaches about the mental health of educators and school administrators, as well as equity, diversity and inclusion in the classroom. FitzGerald earned an MA and PhD in clinical psychology.
Visit the Skills for Educators program page for more information and to register.