The Revolution In Edmonton, Alberta Continues!Tue 20 Sep 2011
Story by Adrienne Swelander & the Grade 5 class from Westglen School
When the a grade four class from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada started a campaign in their school to educate students about the amount of sugar in their chocolate milk, they never imagined that it would attract national and international media attention.
The project began as a health lesson and quickly turned into an all-consuming campaign including a blog, movies and presentations to school children and adults about how children can change the world.
Though the students have now moved onto grade five, they continue to be enthusiastic and motivated to encourage others to make healthy choices. Their job just got much easier now that their school district, Edmonton Public Schools, has recently implemented a "junk-food" ban as part of the district’s priority to ensure the health and wellness of all students and staff.
While the school board has been working on this plan for several years, the timing couldn't be better for The Milk Revolution. Not only is the food served at lunch under scrutiny, the ban includes classroom parties, fundraising activities and even reward systems. 100% of the food served at our school must meet special requirements for health and nutrition. Since 100% of the students who eat lunch at our school bring their lunch from home, it has encouraged parents to look at what they are feeding their children.
Since The Milk Revolution has now met its initial goals, the focus has shifted slightly. Students are now looking at other aspects of health and wellness, including taking part in the Global Children's Challenge where they will "race" around the world with classes from all over the world to encourage physical activity.
Students have also been brainstorming healthy food ideas to help parents adjust to the new food rules. The direction of the blog and movies is still unclear as the new school year has just begun, but students want to help other schools run campaigns to change the milk or food choices in their schools. They have been invited to speak at a future school board meeting to share their learning journey with the school trustees.
The most important lesson these students have learned is that children really can make a difference in the world. They want children everywhere to know they can be heard and they can make the world a healthier place.
About the authors: Adrienne Swelander has been teaching with Edmonton Public Schools for 5 years, her career previous to this was raising her two daughters, now 19 and 12, neither of whom drink chocolate milk! Adrienne and last years’ grade 4 class set about creating a Milk Revolution in their school – you can track their progress, blog and MooTV videos here.
Read more about the Milk Revolution here.
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