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Student Challenges



Humans have a built-in survival kit, which is meant to respond to perceived threats and keep us safe. Generally speaking, this response serves us quite well, especially when the threat is obvious and occasional. When our alarm system is working as it should it can be incredibly helpful to keep us safe, but what happens when the threat does not go away? Our children are often entering our classrooms in survival mode and bringing with them the behaviours that make it challenging for us to take the lead and build relationships with them. This session will explore the roots of anxiety and offer practical suggestions for how we can support children to find emotional rest.

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The child who is Anxious Webinar

CLICK HERE to play recording

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The Child Who is Anxious

 Presentation Handout

CLICK HERE to download this document in pdf format

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WEBINAR: Alarm and anxiety, how to help your children

Eva de Gosztonyi

When the world is full of alarm and our children show signs of anxiety, what are we to do? After briefly looking at how the alarm system is meant to work, we will then explore what happens when it gets overworked. Finally, we will look at interventions and practices that can help our children who come to us and need help managing in a restless world.


To view the recording:

To download the handout


EDITORIAL: The Emotional Roots of Anxiety: Healing Through Connection

Deborah MacNamara

From waves of panic to uneasy feelings that rise up from the gut, anxiety is a universal human experience. It comes as no surprise then, that anxiety continues to be one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health issues in children and adults today, with the World Health Organization naming it as one of the leading concerns among children ages 4 to 17 worldwide.


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How Anxiety Leads to Disruptive Behavior

Caroline Miller

A 10-year-old boy named James has an outburst in school. Upset by something a classmate says to him, he pushes the other boy, and a shoving-match ensues. When the teacher steps in to break it up, James goes ballistic, throwing papers and books around the classroom and bolting out of the room and down the hall. He is finally contained in the vice principal’s office, where staff members try to calm him down. Instead, he kicks the vice principal in a frenzied effort to escape. The staff calls 911, and James ends up in the Emergency Room.


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Anxiety or Aggression? When Anxiety in Children Looks Like Anger, Tantrums, or Meltdowns

Karen Young

Anxiety can be a masterful imposter. In children, it can sway away from the more typical avoidant, clingy behaviour and show itself as tantrums, meltdowns and aggression. As if anxiety wasn’t hard enough to deal with! When children are under the influence of an anxious brain, their behaviour has nothing to do with wanting to push against the limits. They are often great kids who don’t want to do the wrong thing, but they are being driven by a brain in high alert.


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What Kids Worry and Fear at Different Ages

Deborah MacNamara

Kids have worries – from monsters to natural disasters. They can appear at random or may be triggered by everyday events. Their increasing awareness of the world, who is in it, and being able to anticipate bad things happening, can all increase their alarm. Many of children’s fears can be existential, meaning they are indicative of a child’s growth and development as a separate being. Separation is the most impactful of all experiences and stirs up the emotional center of the brain and can create feelings of fear. 


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Helping the Anxious Child or Teen Find Rest

Deborah MacNamara

As a parent it is challenging when you feel helpless to effect change for a child who is suffering or anxious. Parents often ask their kids “Just tell me what’s wrong,” or “what can I do to help you,” only to stare into blank faces or be given reasons that defy understanding. 


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Kids Need a Safe Space to Feel

Hannah Beach

Our kids are experiencing an emotional crisis. Children are more anxious, aggressive, and shut down than ever. We are seeing clear evidence of this in our schools, our homes, our neighbourhoods and our community spaces. 


To read more:

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