Human services instructors in the lead< More Stories
“We’ve been meeting with people in industry – both ELCC and CYC – and we ask them to tell us about their worst day at work and how they solved this problem, as well as their best day,” says Rothwell, noting names, locations and other details are changed for confidentiality purposes. “In the textbook, students will read a story that actually happened in the field and have a number of solutions to choose from. At the end, the textbook will tell them what the worker did and what actually happened.”
"In our field we have case studies but then it's left up to discussion on what the students would do and there are no answers. With this textbook, we actually continue the story," adds Mazerolle.
Recognizing a need for more human services Canadian content and resources, the textbook will be available in French and English in 2018. It will feature 12 different stories from industry professionals across Canada, including Lakeland alumni.
"People were on board when we approached them about sharing their stories," says Mazerolle. “It's going to be a great resource for students and people in our field.”
An artist from Elk Point, Alta., is working on illustrations for the textbook, which will be printed by Canadian Scholars’ Press. The textbook will also include an online component featuring different readers telling each story.
“It’s going to be good for our students. While they hear our stories from the field, this will provide new content for them to learn from,” says Rothwell, who recently earned her certification as a child and youth counsellor from the Child and Youth Care Association of Alberta.
As they’ve been researching and writing this new textbook, Rothwell and Mazerolle have also been busy working on several other projects. Mazerolle recently published an article in the Interaction magazine produced by the Canadian Child Care Federation, entitled “Child Care Centres on the Military Base – Behind the Force.” Together, the instructors wrote an article on College Prep that will be published in Young Children by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (North America). And both will travel to Auckland, New Zealand, in May to present on infant and toddler mental health at the World Forum on Early Care and Education.
“We’ll talk about the importance of attachment. People don't think that infants and toddlers can be affected in terms of their mental health or be at risk,” says Mazerolle, adding their presentation is one of five chosen to be shared at the conference. “It’s not something that is on the radar – that infants and toddlers have mental health issues – so we’re looking at recognition and prevention because the sooner more people are aware of it, the better.”
“Mental health problems or illnesses happen prenatally based on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and environmental factors, but the attachments infants and toddlers have with their parents are factors too,” continues Rothwell. “If they don’t get the love and nourishment they need then that could create developmental disabilities, and that ends up in Kelly’s (ELCC) world and then in my world (CYC) when they are a teenager.”
Their infant and toddler mental health research complements Rothwell’s dissertation for her PhD on social promotion, which she is working towards through Royal Roads University. “As an instructor, these research opportunities give us the chance to flex our brains and expand our worlds. In turn, it benefits our students and helps us to remain active in the field,” says Rothwell.
“It does keep us connected,” adds Mazerolle. "It's a lot of work but it's rewarding."
Photo: Human services instructors Kelly Mazerolle (left) and Melissa Rothwell (right) are hard at work on a number of projects, including their first textbook: The Mentors Among Us. They'll also travel to New Zealand in the spring to speak on infant and toddler mental health.