The Big Ideas
Hope and Confidence
Hope and confidence can be thought of as a capacity to think about goal setting, develop strategies to reach those goals, and maintain the motivation needed to see the goals set through to completion. Individuals who are reported to have higher levels of hope often prefer goals that are slightly more difficult than previously attained goals so as to challenge themselves a little more. Further, they are more likely to develop alternative pathways when obstacles present themselves. Often the ability to overcome obstacles and attain goals is related to positive self talk (ex. “I can do this” or “I will not give up”). If a child can develop that positive self talk they are more likely able to overcome and achieve their goals. Moreover, children with high hope typically are more optimistic about the future as they focus on success rather than failure and perceive themselves as being capable of solving problems that may arise along the path to the many goals they have set for themselves. Recent research suggests that higher hope is linked closely to having a greater perceived purpose in life. Research suggests that hope may play a role in student health. Higher hope has been positively related to superior athletic and academic performances among student athletes. Along with athletic and academic benefits the overall impact of hope on health affects the general wellbeing of an individual as they are more motivated to take care of themselves; setting healthy goals for themselves too. In regards to academic benefits, students with low hope experience high anxiety, especially in competitive test-taking situations. The belief is that the anxiety comes from students with low hope not using feedback from failure experiences to adapt future performances. Higher levels of hope are linked to higher scholastic and social competence, greater creativity and greater problem-solving abilities and actual academic achievements. Therefore, it isn’t a surprise that high-hope students have reported significantly greater academic and interpersonal satisfaction than low-hope students.
The CanU Difference
Hope is an important factor for students. CanU builds positive relationships with students and through mentors at all 3 components children are instilled with a sense of confidence to set goals and the hope to see those goals through. This is done by providing students with the opportunity to see their own ability to achieve significant academic and athletic things, set goals, create, explore, and succeed.
Chang, E. C. (1998). Hope, problem-solving ability, and coping in a college student population: Some implications for theory and practice. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 54, 953–962.
Curry, L. A., Maniar, S. D., Sondag, K. A., & Sandstedt, S. (1999). An optimal performance academic course for university students and student-athletes. Unpublished manuscript. University of Montana, Missoula
Feldman, D. B., & Snyder, C. R. (2005). Hope and the meaningful life: h eoretical and empirical associations between goal-directed thinking and life meaning. Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology, 24, 401–421.
Onwuegbuzie, A. J. (1999). Relation of hope to self-perception. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 88, 535–540.
Snyder, C. R., Hoza, B., Pelham, W. E., Rapof , M., Ware, L., Danovsky, M., Highberger, L., Ribinstein, H., & Stahl, K. J. (1997). h e development and validation of the Children’s Hope Scale. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 22, 399–421.
Snyder, C. R. (1989). Reality negotiation: From excuses to hope and beyond. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 8, 130–157. And Snyder, C. R. (Ed.). (2000a). Handbook of hope: theory, measures, and applications. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Nutrition is a major factor in a child's success. Eating well not only contributes to overall well being, but also reduces the risk of health problems such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer, and osteoporosis. Children aged 9 to 13 should have six Canada''s Food Guide (CFG) Servings of Vegetables and Fruit and six CFG Servings of Grain Products every day. Unfortunately, 67% of Manitobans consume less than 5 fruits or vegetables a day. Recent research has shown that poor health and nutrition among children reduces their time in school and their learning during that time. This implies that programs or policies that increase children’s health status could also improve their education outcomes. Many researchers have attempted to estimate the impact of child health on education outcomes, but there are formidable obstacles to obtaining credible estimates. Data are often scarce, although much less scarce than in previous decades. Even more importantly, there are many possible sources of bias when attempting to estimate relationships between child health and education. It has been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, many still miss this meal. Glucose is the form of sugar that our body uses as a source of fuel. The brain cells need this fuel to function properly and efficiently. After wake up from sleeping overnight, you are depleted of this fuel. Additionally, our bodies need a variety of vitamins for optimal functioning, including Vitamins A, C, E, most Bs, folic acid, zinc, and more. Many individuals are deficient in these vitamins, which can affect everything including alertness, memory, attention, and ability to organize information. Overall, nutrition is very important to a person''s cognitive functions.
The CanU Difference
CanU provides a comprehensive nutrition program that teaches participants about making healthy choices, how to prepare healthy foods, and how to find the best options in the grocery store or supermarket. Using tactile experiences, CanU participants leave the program excited to share the recipes they have learned with their family and possibly friends, spreading the positive and healthy impact left by CanU''s nutrition component.
Academics & Professionals Working with CanU on Nutrition
Although it may seem to go without saying, literacy is an essential skill that is fundamental for success within the Canadian society. Today''s knowledge-driven, skill-based workforce demands work-ready and literate individuals. Those without basic literacy skills cannot fully participate or succeed in our society. Literacy is critical to opening or closing doors for Canadians. In Canada, economic success is mainly tied to literacy levels. Studies by Dr. Doug Williams at the University of New Brunswick and T. Scott Murray of Statistics Canada confirm that the lack of education, or facility with language, limits a person’s access to well-paid jobs and obtaining long-term economic security. In 2005, the CD Howe Institute reported that if literacy skills were increased by 1%, the result would be a 2.5% rise in productivity and a permanent rise in the GDP of about $18 billion per year. Manitoba’s share of that improvement would be over $600 million – an annual dividend of $500 per Manitoban. Improving literacy levels makes sense, economically and socially. When defining literacy levels, we can compare make comparisons with the grade school system.
Level 1 - literacy is comparable to a 4th grade level,
Level 2 - to an 8th grade level, and
Level 3 - to someone who has obtained 12 years of formal education.
This makes life especially difficult for individuals who do not graduate high school, as valuable sources of information such as the Internet, newspapers, and recipe cards are often written for people who have level 3 literacy. The effects of low literacy levels are exponential. People with low literacy skills have difficulty understanding vital information, such as prescriptions, food safety tips, and baby formula directions, which can prove to be seriously dangerous to their or a loved one''s health. Furthermore, people with low literacy are more likely to smoke more, have poorer nutrition, exercise less and be less successful in helping their children become literate.
The CanU Difference
One of the new initiatives of CanU is an inquiry-based literacy program called The Literacy Club, designed to involve the students in learning about “living well for a better world” through research quests related to visual and language arts, science, social studies, and health. The students will use digital technologies to create artifacts for an exhibit we plan to bring to each partnering school.
Related Literacy Post
The available evidence shows that children who are physically active and fit tend to perform better in the classroom, and that daily physical education does not adversely affect academic performance. With the benefits of physical activity in mind, it’s disturbing to think that 31% of Manitoban children (aged 2-17) are overweight or obese. Moreover, analysis of data from the Canadian Community Health Survey, the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute’s Physical Activity Monitor, and the Health Behavior in School-Aged Children survey indicates that less than half of Canadian children and youth are physically active on a daily basis to a degree of energy expenditure that meets the guidelines for healthy growth and development. Physical activity is important for success. Kids who are more physically active tend to perform better academically. During a study, students whose time in PE or school-based physical activity was increased either maintained or improved their grades and scores on standardized achievement tests even though they received less classroom instructional time than students in control groups. It has been demonstrated that short activity breaks during the school day can improve students’ concentration skills and classroom behavior, however, students with less classroom instruction achieving higher scores is a testament to the importance of physical activity in the lives of every child. Further, other studies have demonstrated the positive effects daily physical activity on student performance and academic achievement in terms of memory, observation, problem-solving and decision-making, as well as significant improvements in attitudes, discipline, behaviors and creativity. The benefits are limitless. There is significant support to suggest from cross-sectional data that academic performance is maintained or even enhanced by an increase in a student’s level of habitual physical activity.
The CanU Difference
CanU connects CanU participants with mentors from the University of Manitoba’s track team and women’s soccer team. These mentors encourage participants to set goals and instil in them a passion for the sport. CanU participants use the amazing facilities on campus and train with these outstanding athletes.
Active Healthy Kids Canada, Dropping the Ball: Canada’s Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, 2005 (Toronto, 2005), p. 7
J. Keays and K. R. Allison,“The Effects of Regular Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity on Student Outcomes: A Review”, Canadian Journal of Public Health 86, no. 1, (January/February 1995), p. 64
Roy J. Shephard,“Curricular Physical Activity and Academic Performance”, Pediatric Exercise Science 9 (1997), p.119
3.3 million children between the ages of 6 and 12 regularly spend time without adult supervision. Lack of adult supervision has been linked to a number of detrimental affects including: increased likelihood of accidents/injuries, lower social competence, lower GPAs, lower achievement test scores and greater likelihood of participation in delinquent or other high risk activities such as experimentation with alcohol, tobacco, drugs and sex. For example, teens who are unsupervised during after school hours are 37% more likely to become teen parents.
Students will seek out mentors when there is little adult influence immediately around them, often they will rely on the media to fulfill this role. One third of 8th graders watch four or more hours of television on weekdays; which is disturbing because researchers have associated watching TV to an increased likelihood that children and teens will display physically aggressive behaviors, exhibit relational aggression behaviors (behaviors that harm others through damage or threat of damage to relationships feels friendship or group inclusion) and assume the worst in their interaction with others.
Media is no substitute for a caring adult in a child’s life.
A major need that after school programs fulfill, either intentionally or not, is this lack of role models and mentors in a child’s life. After school programs are proven to lower juvenile crime rates and generally improve neighborhoods and not just by keeping youth occupied for a few hours every day.
After school programs help young people succeed by providing academic support and the chance to form meaningful relationships with adults, and encourage them to get involved in their neighborhood through service projects. This support, these relationships and the benefits to the community create a mutually beneficial relationship of immeasurable value. Recently, the results of a survey showed that when a middle and high school students were asked to name their “Biggest Hero” (Role Model) a shocking 24% of those students said “No one”!