Pacific Immigrant Resources Society (PIRS), offers a multi-level English program that allows participants to practice and improve their English language skills. However, PIRS staff do more than teach English. Our classes follow a trauma informed approach and curriculum that emphasizes well-being, connectedness and personal growth while equipping participants with the language they need to function in Canadian society.
PIRS classes follow the trauma informed approach and curriculum by teaching participants how to practice mindfulness, as this will advance their well being and personal growth. In the previous term, our community English class practiced mindfulness through various activities. One activity that the participants enjoyed the most was the Rainbow Walk. During this activity, participants went on a walk and their goal was to find each color of the rainbow outside. The purpose of this activity was to allow participants to feel connected to their environment, while also helping them cope with difficulties in their lives, as activities like this can decrease stress and anxiety.
Participating in mindfulness activities such as the Rainbow Walk, had decreased the participants anxiety, stress, and depression according to Leanna, the English teacher. It had also taught the participants how to self-regulate.
Leanna says, “This was an important skill to teach our students in order to self-regulate, especially during a pandemic and global crisis. Each student who shared the results of their walk, mentioned how this mindful activity helped them to focus on the present, be more observant, feel calm, relaxed, and grateful for the things they saw.”
A participant from the class discussed how mindfulness activities help deal with trauma that has happened in their life, “This class helps me with adjusting to life in Canada and helps me avoid thoughts about the war in my country.”
Participants also showcased their writing skills to express how the Rainbow Walk made them feel happy. Participant Pauline captured her emotions beautifully in this poem she wrote:
“Under the blue sky I was walking in the park and looked at the green trees and the grass with yellow dandelions,
The garden was full of red camellias violet and orange Hyacinths,
when I saw an indigo car on the way home I was so happy”
PIRS strives to offer accessible and inclusive programs like our English classes which are tailored to participant needs. It is important to PIRS that participants not only improve their English skills, but also gain personal growth, while feeling connected to their new environment as they settle down in Canada.