The College of the North Atlantic’s (CNA) mission is to provide accessible, responsive, quality learning opportunities which prepares people to become self-sufficient contributors to social and economic development within the community.

Its mandate is to deliver programs and services that make a substantial contribution to the development of the province’s workforce and economy. This is a mandate that the College has fulfilled for several decades and one it continues to pursue through its substantial presence in 17 regional distributed campuses. A founding principle of the College is that programs of training should equip our provinces people and organizations with the knowledge and skills necessary provincially, nationally and internationally.

CNA has made the wellness of students a top priority and is very focused on ensuring that they have the best experience possible while pursuing a post-secondary education. Staff and faculty work hard to identify and explore initiatives that will enhance the learning experience both inside and outside the classroom. Their intention is to engage all aspects of health: mind, body, and spirit, while believing that improved student wellness can be reflected through increased student success and retention.

For this IGA funded initiative, CNA created a garden and greenhouse project and workshops for wellness Project.

The garden and greenhouse project provides students and the children who attend the campus daycare with an innovative way to learn through use of hands-on activities. The garden provides a unique environment for learners to observe, discover, experiment, nurture and grow. For decades educators have promoted the use of gardening to achieve learning objectives as well as support mental, emotional, and social development of young people. Learners will enjoy the gardening activities and a positive impact will be reflected in the following ways:

-Provides opportunities for a hands-on learning experience for any subject area

-Addresses multiple learning styles

-Promotes good nutrition

-Provides opportunity to work as a team

– Forms connections with nature and the environment

-Teaches patience and responsibility

-Fosters positive relationships within the school community

-Creates a greater sense of pride and ownership

-Strengthened school spirit

The workshops for wellness includes activities such as:

  • Slipper Making – this will happen once a week for 8 weeks. A local artisan will teach students the techniques required to make their own moose hide slippers. Participants will learn several different skills, which include beading, hand-sewing, working with hides, furs, and other textiles. Participants will also learn the concepts of design and organization needed for working on this project.
  • Fly-tying – An instructor will facilitate this 8-week workshop. Students will learn the basics of fly-tying using a variety of tools and materials which will include hair, feathers, dubbing, bead heads, thread materials and hooks.

“I am so thankful for our time together, learning new skills, catching up with friends and making new ones.  To top it all off, at the end we each had a beautiful pair of mittens. Thank you to everyone who made this workshop possible,” says one participant in a recent mitten making workshop.

Workshops provide students with the opportunity to learn new skills as well as improve overall well-being. Studies show that crafting has a positive impact on wellness in the following ways:

  • Improves problem solving and mindfulness
  • helps with the development of hand eye coordination
  • teaches patience and perseverance
  • gives a sense of pride and achievement
  • encourages creativity
  • and strengthens social connections

“Life was so hectic with schoolwork and family responsibilities that our workshop nights quickly became the highlight of my week. It was just what I needed,” says a participant in the wellness activities.

Participants who often live in other communities can share these new skills with family and friends increasing the number of individuals who will benefit from these workshops.

These workshops will not only provide students with new or enhanced skills they will also provide a safe stigma free environment to meet new people, build friendships and strengthen support networks.

The IGA is very pleased to have contributed towards student wellness at the CNA campus in Happy Valley-Goose Bay!