Pine River Institute Learning Series

The Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) and Pine River Institute (PRI) have committed to work together to support student mental health and well-being to SCDSB families, staff and within its school communities. In November 2021 the two organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) setting out a three-year partnership and working agreement.

As part of the partnership, the Centre for Family Initiatives at Pine River Institute ([email protected]) is providing several multi-part learning series focused on student mental health and well-being to SCDSB families, staff and within SCDSB’s broader school communities.

Sessions for parents/guardians

There are five webinars in the learning series for parents, guardians and other caregivers during the 2022-23 school year. Each session will take place from 7 to 8 p.m.

Screen time 2.0

Oct. 20, 2022
Part 2 of Understanding and managing screen time in the home. Are they addicted, or is this the new norm? What do teens wish their parents knew about their use? Learning to recognize when things are getting out of control and how to create limits with families around screen use. Resources for families who do see problematic use, and tips to prevent this for others.

How to manage another's anxiety

Dec. 8, 2022

Learning how to help our children manage their anxiety and stress in healthy ways. Using empathy and attunement to create safety in communication with our kids, so they come to us when they need our guidance.

Guide to attuned limit setting

Feb. 9, 2023

Everyone needs limits and boundaries, yet sometimes we struggle to set and hold limits with our kids. This webinar will give you some practical skills on how to engage with your child around rules and limits, move away from trying to 'control' their behaviour, and recognize what can make this difficult for some families.

Emotional regulation for kids and adults

March 2, 2023

Strategies and practical skills around how to regulate yourself and your child in times of stress. Looking both at in the moment regulation, and preventative exercises you can do to increase your child’s and your own level of tolerance.

The biology of stress

April 27, 2023

We all have a built-in stress response system that serves to protect us from danger, but sometimes this system goes into overdrive. Understanding what is happening on a physiological level can help us with our awareness of how we are responding to certain situations. How to teach our children, even as young as 6 years old, to understand what is happening in their bodies in hopes of gaining greater control of their responses.

Register for the parent/guardian sessions.

Sessions for SCDSB staff and community partners

Learning sessions for SCDSB staff and community partners will also continue during the 2022-23 school year. Each session will take place from 4 to 5 p.m.

Trauma-informed practice

Jan. 19, 2023

What does it mean to be trauma-informed? How can we create trauma-informed spaces that set the conditions for behavioural and cognitive engagement that facilitates learning, safety, and fun? Setting limits with compassion using a trauma-informed framework will also be explored/

Window of tolerance

April 20, 2023

What is the window of tolerance and what can it tell us about how others may respond to stressful events? Learn how to expand your own window, and work with kids to build their resiliency and overall emotional well-being.

Parents and caregivers as allies: How to work with parents/guardians and caregivers to support students’ mental health and well-being

Date to be determined

This webinar will explore ways school staff and community partners can partner with parents/guardians and caregivers to safeguard student mental health and well-being, showing a path to efficacy as allies.


Register for the staff/community partner sessions.

New this year, staff from PRI’s Centre for Family Initiatives will partner with select elementary teachers and their students to facilitate the implementation of strategies to support positive health and mental well-being. 

Pine River Institute is a live-in treatment centre and outdoor leadership experience for youth 13 to 19 struggling with addictive behaviours and often other mental health issues. Combining therapy with a fully-accredited education program, Pine River reinforces the healthy life skills required for a successful future. [email protected] extends Pine River’s knowledge, experience and evidence-informed treatment approach to families and care providers in the community to support youth mental wellness and prevent the need for more intensive interventions.  Learn more about Pine River Institute by visiting their website at

Watch previous sessions

Sessions for parents/guardians

Watch the sessions on YouTube.

Parenting for positive mental health (part 1)

Nov. 23, 2021
Understanding your child's behaviours and development so that you can respond with intention to promote mental wellness and growth. 

Parenting for positive mental health (part 2)

Nov. 30, 2021
Understanding your parenting style and the challenges parents/guardians face when their children push back.

Understanding and managing screen time

Jan. 25, 2022
What parents/guardians need to know about the digital world and how it affects their child's development. Positive strategies to build connection with your kids through technology. 

Connection and empathy in response to behaviour

March 29, 2022
What can your child’s behaviour tell you about their developmental needs? How can you respond in a way that builds your relationship and create safety for them, rather than create conflict? Exploring the needs of children through the lifespan and recognizing why it is sometimes a struggle to connect.. 

Understanding addiction and addictive behaviours

May 19, 2022
Looking at why kids can get stuck and how addictive behaviours may develop. Seeing the 'function' behind the addiction, and how parents/guardians can support recovery without shame and guilt.


Sessions for community members
Watch the sessions on YouTube.

Understanding addiction and risky behaviours through a developmental lens

Dec. 7, 2021
How we understand addiction and addictive behaviours has evolved greatly over the years, moving away from a 'medical or genetic' model to a more developmental model and recognizing its role as a coping mechanism. Shifting our lens and helping families of those who struggle with addictive behaviours is the first step towards recovery. 

Working with family systems through a developmental lens

Feb. 3, 2022
In this webinar you will learn about Pine River's developmental, maturity model and how to help caregivers reframe behaviours as communication, recognize the needs they express and foster resilience and connection within the family system.

The Parallel Process - encouraging parental participation for positive outcomes

April 4, 2022
Interventions and exercises to engage families in therapeutic inquiry with their children. Using tools from Pine River, clinicians will engage in experiential learning to gain awareness and understanding of how families function as a system.

Session for staff

Watch the staff session on YouTube.

Reframing risky behaviours through Pine River's developmental lens

This session has been rescheduled to March 24, 2022 at 4 p.m.
At Pine River, we believe that effective change in our students and their families happens in a therapeutic milieu, or environment, that is accurately attuned and empathetic. This attunement includes giving children a consistent structure, providing recognition and setting boundaries.

PRI's unique approach combines a Maturity Model and educational model based on developmental needs of children which are both grounded in best practices for treatment with addictive behaviours. During the time spent together we will support educators through the understanding of what leads some children to struggle more than others and how as an educator you can hold the child able by promoting resiliency and mental wellness.