Wynford Group is an employee engagement firm that creates business growth through employee reward, recognition and communication. Their values in the corporate social responsibility are further translated to motivating and engaging kids in their Build Character, Build Success program. They have been granted a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) to implement this program in the Elementary Family of Schools ER15 until June 2018. This agreement has helped them broaden their reach to more schools than ever before.
Wynford is passionate about supporting the TDSB in reducing the instances of bullying in elementary schools, and they believe in the transformative power of valuing people and recognizing the good they do. By communicating the importance of the ten character traits highlighted in their program (respect, responsibility, empathy, kindness and caring, teamwork, fairness, honesty, co-operation, integrity, and perseverance) in an engaging and creative way, they help primary aged students fully understand and live by these traits in order to develop healthier relationships with one another. Additionally, Build Character, Build Success gives children many opportunities to be recognized beyond just the areas of academics, athletics, and music to help them build and strengthen self-esteem.
One element of the program is the All-Inclusive recess, which emphasises that no child is left out. Before this activity was implemented at one of the participating schools, there was a student who was often at the Principal’s office and not allowed to participate in the celebratory monthly recesses. However, with the program, he began to fight less, and would confess to his teacher when he did do something wrong. Much to his excitement, he became the Honesty Champion of his class that month, and proudly contributed several great game ideas as a leader at recess. The following month, instead of waiting to see the Principal, he was waiting in line to come out and play at the All-Inclusive recess. Though it may seem like a small success in the grand scheme, Wynford believes this was a big success for that student, or “his a-ha moment”.
Wynford hopes to implement the Build Character, Build Success program in more schools, while keeping in closer contact with all of their registered schools. In addition to continuously updating their resources, they plan to take into account teachers’ feedback regarding monthly email reminders about upcoming character attributes and more ideas for including these attributes in lessons and classroom activities. For the coming year, Wynford will be placing their main focus on grades K – 3.
With Wynford’s solid footing in the corporate world and PREVNet’s in education, the two have greatly benefitted from each other’s knowledge, resources and experience. Wynford believes in Reward and Recognition, and that a great culture translates into a great environment. They have taken these philosophies into the school environment, with the aid of PREVNet’s recognition, endorsement, and research from an educator’s point of view. Build Character, Build Success has been included in PREVNet’s Knowledge Mobilization suite of programs that attempt to eliminate bullying. Together, the organizations collaborate to share best practices, and support each other for more traction with their audiences. Wynford has since met a number of like-minded, positive individuals with the same passion for helping children and mitigating bullying. Going forward in their partnership, Wynford is working with a research student from PREVNet, who will be researching how their program maps to the current Ontario curriculum. She will review elements such as the lesson plans/modules, video content and video discussion questions. Wynford has found their partnership with PREVNet inspirational, due to their ability to make the whole effort greater than just the sum of its parts, regardless of the size of the program. Wynford stated that “this combined effort really does make a difference”.