Lesson series

Lesson Packet - Women Belonging (K-8)

Course Description

5 Lessons plans with accessible activities that can be used right away created by educators for educators.
Curriculum connections for a wide range of grades.
Connected to EDID and the Ontario Equity Action Plan
Lessons for sometimes challenging topics that can be trusted.

Course Lessons

Jennifer Zajacz Smolenaars

(she/her)

Hi there! My name is Jen and I’ve been teaching in elementary schools across Halton for over twenty years. 

I began my career teaching Kindergarten and almost ten years ago I made the transition back to teaching intermediate students. I noticed that all students need to know what to expect, how to manage big emotions, how to interact with others (face to face and online), and how to cope with stress. In addition to this, they need our guidance with navigating current events, oppression, sexual identity, harmful language, and more.

A few years ago I was selected to work with School Mental Health Ontario and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario to help develop an online tool called the Everyday Mental Health Classroom Resource. 
Patrick Jones - Course author
I’ve also acted as an Equity and Inclusive Education representative for my school for the past five years and integrated community voices into school programs. Through exposure to diverse representation and storytelling, I try to guide both students and staff to disrupt dominant narratives and stereotypes, develop critical thinking skills, and challenge them to reflect on equity and social justice in the world around them.

Lately I’ve been working with unlearn to create equity-focused lesson packets for elementary and secondary teachers to use in their classrooms as well as an e-course on Mental Health. I’m also currently working with the Public Library to incorporate social justice programming for young people in the community.