This initiative focuses on making every moment count toward helping all children and youth enjoy their day from the moment they enter school to the time they go home. Small moments can make big differences in how children feel and function in school.1,2 Positive interactions and experiences (e.g. principal saying 'hi' in the hallway and greeting students by name, enjoying lunch in the cafeteria, having fun playing during recess, feeling challenged and successful in class) can go a long way in helping children and youth feel positive about themselves and their school. In contrast, negative interactions and experiences (e.g. being told to eat lunch in silence, being yelled at during recess, being teased by peers) can lead to negative and unhappy feelings.
Participation in meaningful and enjoyable activities throughout the day has been found to promote positive mental health. Researchers have found that enjoyment occurs when activities align with personal strengths and talents, involve challenge, and allow for choice. All of the Every Moment Counts model programs emphasize helping all children/youth engage in enjoyable participation throughout the school day.
Research3 supports the many mental health benefits of positive emotions:
"The task of a sound education, Plato argued twenty-five centuries ago, is to teach young people to find pleasure in the right things. If children enjoyed math, they would learn math. If they enjoyed helping friends, they would grow into helpful adults. If they enjoyed Shakespeare, they would not be content watching television programs. If they enjoyed life, they would take greater pains to protect it." (Csikszentmihalyi, 1993)
1 Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1993). Activity and happiness: Towards a science of occupation. Occupational Science: Australia, 1, 38–42.
2 Seligman, M. E. P. (2002). Authentic happiness. New York: Free Press.
3 Fredrickson, B. L. (2004). The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 359, 1367–1377.