Westmont High School Cultural Immersion in the Northwest Territories

Westmont High School Cultural Immersion in the Northwest Territories

Westmont High School Cultural Immersion in the Northwest Territories

Stories from High School

Students Perspective of Trip to Tsiighetchic.

Picture this:

It is minus 30 outside. You are surrounded by a thick, dense, boreal forest with black spruce trees around you and there’s ice and snow below. You are on the back of a tiny sled being pulled by four white, Siberian huskies dragging you through the woods at 20 kph, and you have to navigate through.

This was what dogsledding up in the Arctic was like. A completely surreal and utterly beautiful experience. It does not stop there though. Between the day we left Victoria and departed from Whitehorse to head back, we learned so much about nature, including the animals, plants, medicine, and the land. We learned about the ways people lived up in the North, traditional practices, and how the community in Tsiigehtchic is so different to those that most people are familiar with.

We were immersed in the land and the culture, continuously learning about the traditional practices and how the people lived.

High School

We were truly fortunate to be able to watch a lynx skinning step by step, and one of the residents of the town (which only has a population of around 150 people) named Luis, showed us exactly where to make the incisions and what the different parts of the body could be used for. Our team learned that the bladder of the lynx can be used to treat arthritis and achy joints, and something that really stuck with everyone from that lynx skinning was that Luis taught us that if you don’t respect the animal during the skinning process, the animal’s spirit would give you bad luck, and if you don’t respect humans, nothing will happen for you. We had an opportunity to bead seal skin, and we brought some back as well. All the students did snowmobiling and saw snowmobile races. We also took part in some traditional games, which consisted of leg wrestling, a guessing game, and arm wrestling too!

Our team had a blast at the Inuvik Jamboree where we got to see and learn about traditional dances and eat traditional donuts. Some students from our school participated in a game of Limbo.

Unfortunately, we could not go to Tuktoyaktuk, which is on the coast of the Arctic Ocean, but we had the amazing opportunity to drive on one of the ice roads in Inuvik; the ice was up to 6 feet thick

The food there was also a very prominent highlight of our trip up to Tsiigehtchic. We tried caribou stew, homemade bannock bread, and traditional donuts, all of which were very tasty. One of us was shown and learned that many of the families in Tsiigehtchic store their raw caribou meat in their freezer. We also learned that some of the local vegetables there are grown using vegetable plant towers, which are used for indoor farming.

Our team learned a lot of things throughout the week, and some key takeaways include learning to respect the land, learning to respect the animals and the resources. We also noticed that they have a very tightly knit community. They are all close to each other, which is something you do not find in many places. The Westmont students made strong connections with the students from Tsiigehtchic, and some students were invited to their houses to see what their lifestyles look like.

All Westmont High School students are currently working on fundraising for when the Tsiigehtchic students visit our community. Thank you all for your support.


Thank you for reading!


By Agneya Pradhan and Sierra Holt.
Edited by Cameron Lang

 Westmont Montessori High School students

Want to learn more about our High School program?

Rising Sun and Pouring Rain.

Rising Sun and Pouring Rain.

Rising Sun and Pouring Rain.

A Travelogue of a Westmont Middle and High School journey to Japan

We interviewed Alana Scott, one of our middle school students, about her experience during the recent trip to Japan organized by Westmont Montessori School.


That’s what I thought when I was told about the possibility of going to Japan with my school.


That’s what I said every day in Japan when I woke up to something amazing.


That’s what I felt when I was honored with the chance to write about it for my school and the Metchosin Muse.

So here I am, writing to you reader and beyond, about all those wows.

Let’s start with the beginning. Our vice principal, Jason Bowers got an email around this time last year from a parent at Westmont, oddly enough named Jason as well. Jason Holt. Believe me, there were countless cracks about it later.

What was one small email asking if the Middle and High schoolers would like to go on a trip to Japan for spring break took root and blossomed into an entire vacation and educational school journey, like how the cherry blossoms flowered while we were there. It took months of planning, but in September of 2022 both Jasons presented the idea to the parents of Westmont.

From there, 15 families between the Highschool and Middle School signed up their children to participate in Westmont’s first international trip.


The time before the trip quickly shrunk even with the many meetings and preparations. Going with us would be Jason Holt, Jason Bowers, and another Westmont teacher, Lauryn Lewis. And then it was the day; tears, luggage, and sun were all there the morning we departed from our families into the unknown.

As someone who’s used to international travel- family in the USA doesn’t wait for anybody – it wasn’t anything unfamiliar. However, it was a new experience for many of my classmates, but we all battled through the 40-hour day and made it out on the other side, jet lagged, but relieved.

This other side was Tokyo, the big mikan, the capital, the city of 808 villagers. We got our first taste of Japanese food, culture, and washlets. We started off our first day with a walking tour, the walk to kick off miles of hiking. We strolled and shopped around Asakusa after a very authentic Japanese breakfast at a Denny’s. We visited a Buddhist Shrine, Sensō-ji, built in 1649 during Japan’s Edo period. Made to honour the bodhisattva of compassion, Kannon, and is one of the most famous shrines in the city. There, we absorbed wisps of blessed smoke and saw the worshipers donating their yen.

Throughout the four days that we spent in Tokyo we saw many sights, heard thousands of sounds, and enjoyed new tastes. We wandered the imperial palace with its quiet plants and gentle weather. Compared to the storm and bustle of the fish market, with huge crabs, shouting vendors, and steam spreading scents. We would’ve gotten lost on our first day out without Jason Holt. He led us around and toured us through but still gave us free roam to explore and learn ourselves. Throughout the trip we often split into smaller groups and discovered on our own. And there was always something to discover.

Every time, everywhere.

In the early bright morning at a Zenkoji Monastery or in the depths of dark night at 643 meters high. Eating vegetarian or trying Takoyaki for the first time. Stepping through the back streets of Osaka or swimming and skiing in Nozawa Onsen.

We entered a place that everyone agreed was the most beautiful thing they’d ever seen. The TeamLabs Planets exhibition in Tokyo. It’s impossible to describe seeing it for the first time, which is spectacular for a school trip, but inconvenient for writing. A place not from this world in seven rooms. The most I can say about it is to go and see it for yourself, then come back and try to describe it.

Educating ourselves on creators not from the same backgrounds as us is important to grow as people and expand our ideas. We got the chance to do just that when we visited the online video creators exhibit at the Mirakian Museum of emerging science and innovation. We enjoyed learning about the Japanese creators and their lives as video makers. Something that we didn’t have to know any Japanese for was the lively beanbag toss game they set up. As much as I would like to say I won the entire time, I’ve got to hand it to my classmate Alex who had a much better aim than me. He also was the one navigating us most of the time, as we were left to our own devices (literally; google maps is a savior) to get ourselves from point A to point B. Or in some cases from Shibuya station to Yasukuni-jinja Shrine. From a place where an average of over 2.4 million people cross Shibuya daily to the same peaceful place where the emperor visits. Meiji Shrine, our first Shinto shrine. It was a calming and lovely experience, maybe not so much for the other prayers who had to listen to our banter.

Is it a good habit to get lost in science? Because we certainly got turned around once or twice (okay maybe three times) in the National Nature Museum. With showcases on unique Japanese sea life, lustrous rocks and gems, and the evolution of mankind. One of our favourite parts of the human exhibition was specifically the models showing what human life looked like at certain stages. In this last model you yourself got to go inside the glass case and be the example of modern human life.

We ended our city stay with a night trip to the Tokyo sky tree, 643 meters above the darkened streets we trekked along to reach it. At a dizzying height we could see miles away on the dim but illuminated horizon. It was enchanting to see so much of the city, quiet, but alive. With the golden lights spilling like tangled necklaces as far out as we could see.

Listening to the elderly

The next day we traveled to a cold, cozy, quiet town called Nozawa Onsen. Where Jason Holt and his family live. The place to offer us our first soba.

Up the hill that the town is settled on was the Base Camp; our lodgings. If you had the right room, then you could see the far mountains and stacked houses trailing all the way down to the bottom.

We spent our first morning in Nozawa Onsen 101. Listening to the elders and leaders of the community speak with pride about their town and the inner workings and traditions of it. One special tradition of theirs is the fire festival which takes place every winter on January 15. Where the villagers, especially the men aged 42 and 25, participate in bringing together everyone to burn a temporary shrine for good luck. They dry out the wooden shrine all year round, and you can eat next to it at a little restaurant down the hill where we had our first dinner.



One way to have an internal GPS of the town is to play the stamp scavenger hunt game. Without knowing that this is what we were doing, the teachers led us to the tourist information center and bought paper booklets for all of us. Each of these booklets had a blank sheet of paper with a number and a green page next to it. They then told us the purpose of this. We had to find the wooden posts with metal stamps on top, use the wood pestle to rub in the design (the green paper left the mark on the white page), and return with at least ten of these out of the 20 in the entire town within an hour to get a prize. While we were running around like chickens without their heads, we got to see the town in its full golden afternoon glory. Even if it was rushed and during a competition. With nature and steep roads, daily life and small businesses, we got to witness the differences in life between two places. Whereas in Tokyo you could find a vending machine every five steps, here there were only a few. Most of the shops didn’t belong to chains, and there weren’t any big billboards or flashing lights. This was because the town is trying to preserve its history and has laws about keeping things a certain way. Which I appreciate, since we got to witness the unique architecture in the buildings which had been updated in other cities.

Over the next four days we were allowed to roam the shops and restaurants, almost always having some sort of noodles for meals.  On the second day, half of us rode up to the mountain in a gondola lift. The other half spent a slow-paced day out in town at the bottom. While up at the top of the mountain we saw all below. Skiing and snowboarding up high. The snow seemed like thousands of small diamonds somebody smuggled up and scattered. It was chilled enough to keep the snow but warm enough to not have to wear gloves. It was quiet except for the scraping sound of skis on the cold hard hills. Sliding and turning like a water skier on a pond surface. Sleek and cool landscapes. Silky and playful breezes.

On our way out of the town to Zenkoji temple we visited one of the cutest animals to grace the earth.

The snow monkeys.

Adorable little creatures in the Jigokudani Monkey Park in Nagano. A morning and a lot of photo storage was spent adoring the monkeys as they bathed in the hot springs and picked bugs from their babies and partners. We were even privy to a mother carrying her baby on her hips while walking by us.

Snow monkeys

From there we took the train and hurried to our one-night accommodation at the Zenkoji temple with a kind monk who welcomed us in the dampening rain. We had a vegetarian dinner, which was a blessing for the vegan traveler among us, but also a bit of a curse since nobody –except Jason Holt, of course –knew what anything on the plate was. Beforehand we participated in a Zen meditation. Where we aligned our bodies, breath, and heart. It was a new practice for all of us, and unsurprisingly there were grumblings and complaints about numb limbs and foot pain. As to whether the monk heard this or not, we still do not know.

The sliding of the wooden door. The teachers soft voices. “good morning”. Lights flickering on. The sun wasn’t even up yet. But we were. At 5:00 am to partake in the morning service at the temple. Before the service we stomped through the wet cobblestone streets on a tour of the temple in the light rain. In a huddled group of umbrellas, we clustered around the grounds while the monk pointed out the statues and their history. There were four tall statues at the front. The two outwards facing ones were for protection and to scare off anyone with bad intent. We also were introduced to the Rokujizō, the statues of the six Bodhisattvas
 from the six different worlds in Buddhist beliefs.

Although we were yawning and rubbing our eyes we still kneeled and took the blessing as the morning ceremony conductor came by the tap our heads. Then we were ushered into the temple and waited until we could go down the steep steps into a long dark tunnel made of polished wood. There, is where the monk told us we would find a metal key that would bring us enlightenment. While we nearly lost Jason Holt, we all made it out “reincarnated” as the monk said. Then it was onto the next place in another city for one night.

I won’t bore you with a place we spent less than a day in, but Mikawa had a wonderful beach and fishing area. Only me and my classmate Merric went though. Everyone else missed out. It was a beautiful day with the sun and a spring breeze tugging us forwards. The sea air whipped the scent of dead fish and sand into our faces. But when we came back it was to the chaos of a moving day. We spent the day travelling by train and bus to get to our place for the next three nights in Kyoto.

We were back in a large city again and it felt great. Which shocked me since I’m not an urban person by any measure. But the metropolis felt like home in a foreign place.

We set off the next day, fueled by a breakfast of grocery goods to catch a wooden boat taking us down the Hozugawa river. Led by a crew of four captains with three in the front, and one steering in the back. We had a calm and lovely boat trip bobbing down the waters, unless we were in a rapid it was mostly a peaceful ride. When in a rapid, the waters churned a little more and the waves rolled into each other and our boat would rock and arms of water would splash us. Both the Jasons got hit by a particularly large wave.

Afterwards we shopped in the market area near the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. Which we then wandered through and enjoyed. It wasn’t too hot outside, but the shade was a relief. The calming nature of the forest was refreshing from all the walking, moving, and experiencing from the past 12 days. It didn’t last long, but I think it really helped all of us.

We then went on to the Ryoan-ji temple with its well cultivated gardens and large statue of the Buddha behind a long pool of water. Jason Holt informed us that it originally belonged to an aristocrat couple who were both very smart. But when the husband died his wife dedicated the plot of land to him and designed the entire garden and tomb, which was nothing to sneeze at, despite the pollen. It turns out the gardens are famous for their rock placement. Even though it was designed as a tomb, it still gave off a happy and peaceful atmosphere with the tidiness of the rocks and plants. Even the birds weren’t in a hurry.


I woke up the next day with a sore throat and was instantly eaten alive by terror. Had I gotten sick?


Last night smacked into me.

We had all crowded into a soundproof room with seats and a table. Two screens were situated on opposite walls. Everyone cheering and shouting along to the lyrics. Microphones and merriment. We sang our voices dry karaoking

Snow monkeys
Listening to the elderly
Listening to the elderly

But alas it was another travel day, so we were on the move to Himeji. But first a trip to the Hiroshima Peace Park. The park was beautiful and bright, very happy for a place with such a sad history. It weighed on all of us, the deaths. I won’t go into detail about what we saw, as that may be disturbing for some. Going through the museum with the photos and the art we saw war, evil, and suffering. With effects that lasted long after the bombing. We learned about the hurt and torture the citizens of Hiroshima were burdened with.

On a lighter note, we spent the afternoon exploring Himeji castle. With its old wooden walls and steep staircases. There was plenty of room, but there were also plenty of people, so things became a bit squished on the high stairs. Built in the 14th century with 83 rooms and reconstructed in 1577 and 1964, also known as “White Heron Castle” Himeji castle is Japan’s oldest castle.

Once again it was a travel day and we awoke to chaos, but more controlled this time since we had gotten used to the road life. We hopped on a train to Osaka and unpacked at the Dotonbori hotel with its four funny statues guarding the entrance. We toured the shopping area with its colourful hippy side, and the more sophisticated expensive side.

Before we caught the train that would carry us to Nagoya, we speed shopped along Shinsaibashi-Suji Shopping Street under the ticking hand of the 20-minute timer. There, we saw street performers, large animatronic crabs, and stickers plastered on every streetlamp. It was a burst of life and movement with smaller streets branching off and the back shops like smaller flowers on this tree of expression. Unfortunately, our time there wasn’t very long, and we were at it again, bags packed, prepared to catch the train to Nagoya.

Once there, we took our time and gave ourselves room to breathe. In a nearby shopping center, we roamed for three hours in our groups. Cleaning up on shopping and experiencing. Our final dinner was at a nearby Italian Pizza restaurant where I lead a toast for Jason Holt. There were many thanks and acknowledgments for Jason Holt, the person who started it all.

We said our final goodbyes to the amazing country we had just spent two weeks in and departed the next morning. We were happy and fulfilled but ready to go home.

And now, exactly one week later I’m recapping all those crazy wows to you. I hope you enjoyed reading about our travel as much as we enjoyed going.



Alana Scott,
Westmont Montessori Middle School Student



Want to learn more about Westmont Middle and High School program?

A Westmontian’s High School Experience.

A Westmontian’s High School Experience.

A Westmontian’s High School Experience.

Stories from High School

We interviewed one of our high school students about her experience at Westmont Montessori.

Tell us about your Montessori journey.

My name is Hannah Smith and I am a grade twelve student who has been at Westmont since pre-school. Engaging in experiential learning from a young age offered to me a deep understanding of both academics and life skills from a young age. I am passionately interested in music, writing, and psychology, all three of which my Montessori education has fostered.

What is your biggest interest? How did it develop?

I have always loved writing stories. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t working on one, and my language arts skills were always above my grade-level. Westmont always allowed me to work ahead when I needed to, and I don’t think I would have developed my same passion or skill-level if I had not been able to learn at my own pace.

What are some other unique things about your school?

Westmont is unique in many ways. Notably, my class is quite small and the community is close-knit. I am supported by the people around me, and reciprocate support for them — it is rare to find that consistency in adolescent relationships. We also do a lot of project-based learning, which not only makes the things I learn interesting, but applicable and relevant.

What do you do on the weekend? 

You can usually find me planning a story, writing a story, or editing one; there’s definitely a reason I called writing my biggest interest! I also have worked a part-time job at a flower shop through most of high school. I enjoy art, most often practicing floristry, drawing, and make-up.

What is next for you? 

After graduation, I will work towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology at UVic. I have wanted to be a psychologist ever since I was young. I am also excited for my transition into young adulthood and everything that comes with it.

Would you like to share anything else? 

I don’t have much more to say, only that I am excited for the future of Westmont’s high school program and the opportunities it will offer to its students.


Thank you for reading!



A Westmont Montessori High School student

Want to learn more about our High School program?

High School: A Project-Based Multi-Disciplinary Academy

High School: A Project-Based Multi-Disciplinary Academy

High School: A Project-Based Multi-Disciplinary Academy

The world changed. Education did not.

Teacher. Desk. Study. Test. Forget. Repeat.


Why is school still like this?

Conventional public and private schools were designed in the 1800s to prepare youth for industrial factory jobs. The world has changed. Fundamentally, schools have not.

Considering all these fundamental changes and challenges in the world around us, let’s talk about some of the major problems faced by students and their families in high school today.

1. Low interest in learning.

More and more often, students do not want to attend school and lose interest in learning. Learning difficulties, behavioral or emotional issues of students, boredom or not feeling challenged by the schoolwork, improper school or academic support – these are just some of the reasons that lots of families face these days.

What does Westmont Montessori high school academy do differently? Providing room for creativity within the structure is one of the answers. Working together in small groups on a variety of projects that spark imagination and engage children’s intellect while teaching them how to become responsible adults.

2. Improper teacher-to-students ratio.

Another problem in education today is that schools have too many students per teacher and overcrowded classrooms. The improper teacher-to-student ratio results in poor performance amongst students. Students simply do not get the attention they need.

What does Westmont Montessori high school academy do differently? Working in a smaller classroom develops a sense of community during the year. Teenagers who believe in community care about those who are in it. These students are then on a path towards being good members of the community as adults.

3. Outdated Curriculum.

Another great problem of modern education is an outdated curriculum. Although many schools have transformed the educational system, many features of the curriculum remained unchanged.

What does Westmont Montessori high school academy do differently?  The main focus is to provide a different real-world experience, allowing students to engage in numerous multi-disciplinary projects through which they will uncover curricular content and address core competencies. This way the school creates a safe environment for the children to learn how to succeed and how to fail. Like in real life, it is important to learn how to recover from your own mistakes. By creating a safe environment for your child, school can prepare them to overcome possible difficulties in their future, both in terms of their personal and professional life.

4. What’s next?

Finally, one of the biggest problems of modern high schools is the fact that graduates are often not ready for what follows. Be it post-secondary education or a career right out of high school. More and more universities, colleges and employers around the globe are not satisfied with the performance of recent graduates. That means the system is not preparing these students well for the challenges that will follow.

What does Westmont Montessori high school academy do differently? Practical education is one of the answers! Here at Westmont, the team of professional educators and innovators have been designing and fine tuning its ground-breaking high school program. This program has been created to better prepare students for a rapidly changing professional environment for both the present and the future. It is intended to disrupt the more common educational model that creates a disconnect between the real world and the classroom.

The Westmont Approach

Westmont Montessori high school academy intends to provide real world experiences with exceptional academics and personal growth opportunities. This approach follows the fundamental Montessori principle of developing the whole individual. The program is demanding on students, challenging them in all realms, but at the same time is immensely rewarding.

It provides an experience to address all aforementioned problems. Westmont Montessori high school academy sets students up to adapt to a world that is rapidly changing, with new professions and vocations, some of which are unimaginable to us at the present time.

Westmont provides a safe and dynamic space for students. This environment fosters the individual’s motivation to learn and to grow, with an emphasis on self-development. The school’s cutting-edge program creates an experience that makes learning relevant, reflective of the world we live in, and the future we see ahead.

If you are ready to see how we can lead your child to success

The Greater Victoria Teenhood Summit – A Virtual Event for Parents

The Greater Victoria Teenhood Summit – A Virtual Event for Parents

The Greater Victoria Teenhood Summit – A Virtual Event for Parents

An interactive event designed to help us re-examine our role as parents

Parenting is never easy, but a particularly challenging time in the life of a family is when kids reach adolescence. Not only do our kids begin to go through significant growth and changes in their development, but our relationship with them, our place in their lives and the level of influence we have significantly changes as well. It can be a rocky and turbulent time, as teens and parents learn to navigate their relationship together like never before.

Topics this event will cover:

  • effectively parenting teens and creating harmonies relationships;
  • understanding the power of parenting from a steady, present place;
  • ways we can be less triggered by our teens;
  • social media use and its impact;
  • online safety;
  • teen mental health and adolescent development; 
  • mental health red flags and how to get help;
  • tools and support systems for good mental health. 

Why attend:

  • you’re interested in understanding your role as parent of a teen;
  • you’re concerned about technology and social media use and safety;
  • you wonder what you can do to help your teen feel more resilient;
  • you’d like to create more peace and less conflict in your day-to-day family life. 

How it works:

  • As a participant, you simply purchase a ticket and then tune in during on our session date using the Zoom link provided to you. 
  • You’ll sit back and learn from insightful experts.
  • You’ll receive a recording a few days after the event so you can review each session again. 

You’ll leave this event feeling excited and inspired to embark on a new chapter in your family’s journey. 

Date and time

Sat, February 26, 2022
9:00 AM – 12:30 PM PST

All participant will receive a recording after the event

Discussion topics

  • A new model for parenting teens
  • Social media and technology
  • Adolescent mental health


  • 9:00 Dr. Carrie Contey / A new model for paretning teens
  • 10:30 Marc Ladouceur / Social media and teens
  • 11:30 Megan Ames / Adolesent mental health


Online event
Recording will be provided after the event

Ticket price


Refund policy

Contact the organizer to request a refund.
Eventbrite’s fee is nonrefundable.

More Details

The Greater Victoria Teenhood Summit – A Virtual Event for Parents is an interactive event designed to help us re-examine our role as parents as well as explore some important topics (technology and mental health) in the lives of our teens. We’ve invited extraordinary parenting experts who will give you insights, tools and tactics to parent your teen with peace and confidence.

If you’re feeling lost, hopeless or a little out of your depth, you’re not alone. Parents of teens almost universally share the same worries and concerns: will I be able to help my child to transition safely and happily into adulthood? Can we create and adapt to a new healthy and loving relationship? Can we get through the next few years together without our home feeling like a constant battleground?

The answer is YES!

Join us for this half-day virtual event designed to inspire a new perspective on parenting and reinvigorate our commitment to raising resilient teens and building peaceful families.

About Westmont High School

Westmont was founded 67 years ago by an independent community of parents and teachers passionate about creating an environment that inspired students to learn through experiences and respected the individual and their own interests, developmental needs and speeds, following the principles of Maria Montessori.

Westmont High School is intended to disrupt the current educational model that has students segregated from the real world in a classroom environment that treats content areas as siloed from each other and what happens out in communities around the world. For many students, they see little connection between what happens in their classrooms and daily life. Many programs that seek to provide that real world experience are seen as vocational schools or non-academic streams. Westmont High School intends to provide real world experiences with exceptional academics and personal growth opportunities, adhering to that most fundamental Montessori principle of developing the whole individual. The program will be demanding of students, challenging them in all realms, but at the same time immensely rewarding to be a part of. It will provide an experience like no other school. Westmont High School sets students up for a world that is rapidly changing, with new professions and vocations that we cannot even imagine.

Guest Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Carrie Contey

Dr. Carrie County

A New Model for Parenting Teens

Carrie Contey, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized coach, author, speaker and educator. Her work offers a new perspective on human development, parenting and family life. She guides, supports and inspires her clients to live with wide-open and courageous hearts so they can approach family life with skill and spaciousness. Carrie received her doctorate in clinical psychology with an emphasis on prenatal and perinatal psychology and is masterful at synthesizing and articulating the science, psychology and spirituality of humanhood. She is the creator of several “personal growth through parenting” programs. She is also the co-founder of the Slow Family Living movement and the co-author of CALMS: A Guide To Soothing Your Baby. Carrie has appeared on NBC’s The Today Show, NPR, CBS radio and in many publications including Time, Parenting and The Boston Globe.

Social Media and Teens: Navigating An Ever-Changing Terrain

Understanding the connected world of teens can be challenging for parents because adults don’t communicate online in the same way and are not necessarily using the same social media. Even more challenging is the reality that there’s always something new coming around the corner. This session will help parents better understand how their kids are using social networking and will provide them with tips and tools they can use to help them minimize negative experiences and maximize the positive opportunities that social media has to offer.

As a Media Education Specialist at MediaSmarts, Canada’s centre for digital and media literacy, Marc Alexandre Ladouceur creates resources for educators, parents and community groups and conducts outreach activities with schools, school boards, education ministries, faculties of education and community organizations across Canada. He holds a Masters Degree in Theology, as well as Bachelors in Education and Theology. Marc Alexandre has previously worked as a teacher in the Ontario and Alberta school systems, as a facilitator in Ontario schools and as an editor and translator. He believes in the well-being of all persons experiencing the rapid growth of technology through comprehensive digital literacy and intersubjective education.

Marc Alexandre Ladouceur

Megan Ames

Ph.D., R.Psych.

Dr. Carrie County

Adolescent Mental Health: Raising Resilient Teens

The inner and outer worlds of an adolescent can feel extraordinarily turbulent. For those of us who love and care for teens, we know we can feel powerless when it comes to helping them navigate the ups and downs of adolescent life. This session is designed to tackle such issues as anxiety, depression and loneliness, and provide parents with thoughtful guidance for helping their teen traverse emotional, social and psychological weather in healthy and connective ways.

Dr. Megan Ames is a registered psychologist and an Assistant Professor at the University of Victoria. Her research focuses on how health behaviours (e.g., physical activity) are related to mental health outcomes during adolescence and young adulthood. She also holds research interests in supporting autistic postsecondary students. She provides client-centred psychological services to children, adolescents, and their families in private practice.

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