Create A Healthy Lifestyles Program At Your School Part 2Tue 09 Oct 2012
Story by Tryna Fitzpatrick
Read part 1 here and find out some more about finding volunteers and focus when it comes to creating a healthy lifestyles program and improving the health and wellness of students at you school.
Ideas For Your Healthy Lifestyles Program continued…
• Create An Awards System
Our Healthy Lifestyles Committee was looking for a way to encourage healthy behavior without regulating choices. We wanted to honor those at our school who were doing great things with the hopes that others would take notice and do the same. From this, the Matoaka GOLDEN APPLE AWARD was born. Throughout the year, Michelle and I seek out nominations of those who are "caught being healthy." Then, three times a year we surprise the winners with certificate and visit from our school mascot. Awards have been given to teachers who have healthy snack ideas or classroom activities, parents who make healthy treats for class birthday parties (instead of cupcakes!), and staff members who have helped with everything from Running Clubs to Zumba classes. Learn more about our Golden Apples.
• Introduce a Healthy Snack Initiative
In an effort to decrease sugary treats at school (such as birthday cupcakes and class party cookies), the Matoaka Healthy Snack Initiative was created. Throughout the year, we promote healthy options whenever possible at all school events and celebrations. For instance, we encouraged the Dad's Club to switch their annual "Dad's and Donuts" breakfast to "Dad's and Bagels." Our school movie nights now sell fun fruit creations and homemade smoothies instead of candy and chips. This initiative calls on all of our parents, teachers and PTA members to be conscience of the message they are sending to kids through our many school functions. Even our ice cream socials now offer a fruit topping bar instead of candy and cookies, proving that there are always options for healthier alternatives - even at an ice cream party.
• Began a Healthy Recipe Book
Working together with our school Wellness Council, the PTA and SHIP, our Healthy Lifestyles Committee is collecting recipes from school families that focus on healthy school lunches from home, nutritious and fun snacks, and alternative celebration ideas. Families can send recipes in with their child, via email or submit them on our PTA website.
Matoaka's Recipe Idea Book
• Create A School Garden
A school garden, which can serve as a beautiful outdoor classroom, is a great way to reinforce your school's commitment to healthy lifestyles. Getting teachers and students involved in planting and harvesting will not only help with upkeep but will also provide numerous learning opportunities in the areas of not only nutrition but also geography, science, math - even the seasons! Another great idea is to have school families "adopt" the garden over the summer allowing them to keep the harvest in exchange for their work.
• Host Annual Healthy School Events.
With the help of a dedicated staff and PTA, Matoaka sponsors a variety of events that focus on wellness, fitness and healthy lifestyles including an annual ‘Walk a Thon’, a family fitness night and staff verses parents games.
This year we hope to streamline our programs including our Local Produce Initiative. We are beginning to consider how we might influence school constitutes to adopt a healthy lifestyles policy or improve school lunch. But more importantly we hope to further our reach in the community by sharing our know-how with other schools and PTA committees.
Our experience has shown that, regardless of funds, resources or experience, a small group of dedicated individuals can work together to make a positive impact on the health and wellness of children.
About The Author: Tryna Fitzpatrick is the owner and Chief Instigator of 3-A-Media.com a digital design and marketing company. She Co-Chairs the Healthy Lifestyle program at Matoaka Elementary. Married with three school aged children, she still finds time for leafy greens and long runs in the woods. Follow her on Twitter @TfitzVA or send an Email.
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