Cape Breton children coping with stress and anxiety

Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board has asked staff to be on the lookout for behavioural changes in the classroom and on the playground.

Regional school board asks staff to look for behavioural changes

The clean-up has begun after the first floor of Brookland Elementary School in Sydney was damaged in a flood in early October. (Brett Ruskin/CBC)

Some children are facing stress and anxiety following last week's flood in Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

Cathy Viva, the acting director of programs and student services with Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, said many have been affected both at school and home.

"There are so many students throughout our district that are dealing with flooded basements, or have had to move out of their homes," she said.

"Maybe they are sharing a room now with another family member because part of their home is off limits. There is also the scare of what happened."

Acting out

Viva said school staff have been asked to be on the lookout for behavioural changes in the classroom and on the playground.

Some children may react by withdrawing or by acting out, and it is important to talk to them and offer help, she said.

"Ask if there is something bothering them," Viva said. "Children are basically very honest and if something is bothering them, sometimes even just being asked the question allows them to express what is going on with them or what they need." 

The school board provides training to help staff recognize students who may need the help of a guidance counsellor or therapy. 

Students from the flooded Brookland Elementary School in Sydney will begin classes Wednesday at new schools. Children in Grades Primary to 3 will go to Harbourside Elementary while students in Grades 4 and 5 will go to Shipyard School.

Viva said it's important for the schools to provide students with an outlet to express themselves through stories, music or art, and to impart the message that their feelings are important.

"No question is too small." 

With files from Mainstreet Cape Breton