Parallel Session 9

Beyond Images: Delving into NEDIC's Grade 4-8 Curriculum



Poor body image and self-esteem in youth can significantly impact their ability to interact with their world and pursue academic, social and economic opportunities. Building resilience and developing critical media literacy skills are two key components of teachers’ toolkits for supporting today’s youth. Beyond Images is a grade 4-8 curriculum that invites youth to engage in the world of media on their terms! Students learn how media messages are constructed both mechanically and symbolically – then learn to make their own media messages about beauty beyond the obvious. Revised in 2016 to include recent developments like the growth of social media, Beyond Images explores current concepts of male and female beauty and what it means to “fit in”, helping students understand and develop resilience against negative messaging. Join two of the educators who created the Junior-Intermediate curricula as they share with you some of the ideas, strategies and resources that educators need in their classrooms today! 


Knowledge Level: All 


Presenter Biographies

Heather Thompson is an Elementary teacher who works in the Peel District School Board, and is currently serving as a Vice President with the Peel Elementary Teachers’ Local. Heather has previously worked as an Early Literacy Teacher, Teacher-Librarian, and primary grade teacher in the Peel Board, and has integrated her love for literacy with her passion for promoting positive body image and self-esteem in the students she teaches. She has co-written several resource documents, including the Beyond Images curriculum for NEDIC, and the Reflections of Me curricula for the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario.

Helen Vlachoyannacos is presently a Grade 7/8 teacher at Knob Hill PS with the Toronto District School Board. As a writer and facilitator for the ETFO Reflections of Me body-image project, Helen has facilitated the implementation of ETFO’s Reflections of Me on a school-wide level, supporting the work with students and staff. She is also one of the writers of Beyond Images, a Grade 4-8 curriculum created by NEDIC with the support of the Dove Self-Esteem Project. Her present focus is to work with intermediate students to build resiliency and positive self-esteem. In addition, Helen is looking at how to build community involvement and be inclusive of the voices of parents, families and community members with the issue of body image.