Creating a Healthy School: 3 School Wellness Ideas that Work!
|March 6, 2014||Posted by Stacy under Classroom parties, Junk food in school, Making change, School wellness programs|
As much as as I wish my school district was more on board with school wellness–or that someone would step in and require it (see Michelle Obama, Can You Hear Us? We Need Help Getting Junk Food Out of Our Schools!)–for now, my best option is to continue working on the ground to make change.
In my two years of advocating for healthier schools, I’ve learned that there’s no cookie cutter approach to school wellness. What works in one school district may not work in another. Much can depend on whether top administrators understand and value good nutrition and physical activity.
In some places, health-promoting initiatives go over better than attempts to create restrictions that could result in push back from teachers and parents. Such is the case in my district, which refuses to place limitations on classroom parties or put a stop to the practice of rewarding kids with junk food. That said, district officials, school principals and teachers have been open to ideas designed to encourage or inspire student and staff wellness.
Here are three that have taken hold at my kids’ school:
1) Create a Healthy PTA Pinterest Page Earlier this year, I created a Pinterest page for our school PTA filled with healthy ideas–from fruit– and veggie-based class party snacks to fundraisers that don’t involve selling junk food. Thoughout the year, I have shared the link in our school newsletter, at PTA meetings and on our PTA’s Facebook page, especially when a holiday or school celebration is approaching. I think the reason this idea has worked so well is that it puts the ideas into parents’ and teachers’ hands without pushing. (For a great example: Check out Matoaka Elementary PTA’s Pinterest page.)
2) Hold an Eat a Rainbow Day In less than two weeks, our school will be having its second annual Eat a Rainbow Day. Organized by the PTA, this school-wide celebration is designed to teach kids the importance (and fun!) of eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables every day. In addition to blending up rainbow smoothies (made with spinach, carrots, cherries, blueberries and banana) for all 450 students, we will be having special classroom lessons, challenging kids to pack a rainbow lunch, and having a rainbow salad bar in the cafeteria. And each grade will be dressing in a different rainbow color. Last year’s event was a hit–and we hope it will be just as fun and educational this time.
3) Share a Fruit Basket Promoting school wellness can be as simple as placing a basket of fresh fruit in the lobby and inviting hungry students and staff to help themselves. This is one of my very favorite things that my kids’ school does. Because the fruit is leftover from the cafeteria, it doesn’t cost a penny.
What successes have you had inspiring kids to be healthy at your school? I’d love to know! Please share in the comments section below.