Developing Culturally Infused Self-Reg Awareness Across Services, Throughout the Lifetime, and For Generations to Come
‘Namgis is a vibrant First Nation community based on an island off of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. ‘Namgis Education, Health, and Community Services have been using Self-Reg education and application to support their schools, early childcare programs, and health programs.
We wanted to have a program that we could use with children aged 1-19 so that the service providers would have the same language and consistent response to the children in their care throughout the child’s educational years. This would also give the parents and children tools they could use beyond the school system.
We recognized that our children were having extreme difficulties with acting out behaviour both at home and at school resulting from what we thought was residing in trauma-based environments. After conducting some research, we and discovered The MEHRIT Centre and Dr. Stuart Shanker. We liked the way he and his team work in different cultures around the world and that the Self-Reg view is based in a community encompassing process.
Process to this Point
We met with the principals of our two elementary and one secondary schools, the director of ‘Namgis Health Centre, and the staff of ‘Namgis Community Services to discuss the vision, benefits, and goals for the participants, and we would pay all training costs. We knew we had to have buy-in or it would not work. One of our staff went to a symposium to meet with your staff and we also invited Dr. Susan Hopkins to our agency.
Using Self-Reg has brought further self-awareness and has greatly helped us with staff as we use Self-Reg in our Human Resources work.
We are looking at ways to include more ‘Namgis culture in our Self-Reg programs.
The language of Self-Reg is very academic so some staff struggle or take longer with training as they look up the words to further understand. We would really like to develop more opportunities for staff but with a less academic delivery.
Because we have high staff turnover in our schools we decided to keep the Self-Reg learning opportunities open for new teachers to register and begin learning. Developing a common language for staff, and awareness and understanding for parents also has to be ongoing.
Our Alert Bay school really brought Self-Reg into the classrooms through environment and teaching.
Our daycare staff went on for further studies and are working on consistent handling of behaviours.
To describe the support that we receive from Susan and the TMC team, is wonderful. They have never given up on us, even when we went through slumps. The guidance from their on site visitations have changed our environments for the better.
The camaraderie of the “Shanker” groupies, how we stick out our thumbs at each other, Red Brain/Blue Brain, trying to use the big words, we have a lot of fun!
Self-Reg really brought forth a sense of purpose with our practice. It helped professionalize the staff, many of whom are not aware of special educational training and decreased the negative responses. When I look at how our staff with the Head Start program, Day Care, elementary schools, secondary school, mental health, family support and child welfare are all invested in Self-Reg courses I think we have created a good opportunity to work with the child as they grow teaching them to decrease their stress. We have a deeper understanding of the impact of trauma and how it affects multi-generations.