January 30, 2017
With both Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month in February, hearts take a center stage. Heart disease is the nation’s No. 1 killer of both men and women, but recently Americans are showing improvement. Recognized theme months like this provide a great opportunity to create awareness and educate kids and families about important health issues.
Give artwork a “healthy twist” with messages that help inspire healthy balanced choices.
To enhance a nutrition curriculum, or start the practice of incorporating nutrition education into the classroom, plan opportunities for “mini lessons.” This week and next, HKC’s WOWS Newsletter has ideas to get you started. As another option, the HKC Balance My Day Curriculum is flexible for use as a comprehensive curriculum or as a series of mini lessons. The curriculum can also now be purchased as digital access only or in print + digital form.
January 23, 2017
The CDC Healthy Schools Guideline 8 states “Provide a school employee wellness program that includes healthy eating and physical activity services for all school staff members.”
The benefits of employee wellness programs are fairly well known. They can improve staff productivity, decrease employee absenteeism, and decrease employee health care costs.
While most schools are getting out the message about healthful eating and physical activity connected to healthy bodies and minds, the size and scope of full-fledged wellness programs vary widely. A sustainable comprehensive program requires the support of a wellness coordinator and/or strong wellness committee. In addition, success depends on staff motivation and participation. These things happen with good planning over time, making the case for schools without programs to start small and build momentum for a strong foundation.
HKC’s January 25th WOWS Newsletter has great suggestions for getting started and implementing new ideas in an existing program. If you are in the building momentum phase, be sure take time to reach out to the community, local health professionals and businesses for support.
January 16, 2017
Build awareness of the benefits of healthy lifestyles by “showing off wellness.” The Healthy Kids Challenge Healthy6 is a set of healthy habits from which to build messages. Educators and students have found these easy to use and remember. Creating bulletin boards and displays enhance the “see, hear and do” of the Healthy Kids Challenge Balance My Day Curriculum or stand alone to create awareness.
Consider all the ways the Healthy6 can be used:
- Fruits & Veggies – Every Day the Tasty Way
- Active Play, Balance My Day
- Breakfast GO Power
- Smart Servings
- Drink Think
- Snack Attack
See HKC’s January 18th WOWS Newsletter for great ideas for showing of wellness.
January 9, 2017
Studies show that children eat approximately one-third of their daily food intake while at school.
When students have the option, they are more likely to purchase foods and beverages that are high in calories, fats, and/or sugar. On the school campus these foods are called competitive foods because they compete with school meals. These options are frequently found in places such as vending machines, school stores, à la carte lines, class parties, and as fundraisers.
Setting the stage requires wellness policies with guides to meet standards for healthier choices. For the policies to be successful they also need widespread acceptance. From the people who implement the policy to those who are impacted by it, success has the greatest potential when the following actions are taken:
- Involve everyone in the process, including the creation and implementation of the policies. If you don’t have a Student Advisory Group (SAG), it can be very helpful to create one. SAG can conduct surveys with peers to obtain constructive feedback.
- Instead of “reinventing the wheel,” learn from the lessons learned by others. See the January 11th issue of the WOWS Newsletter for helpful resources.
- Through marketing and nutrition education, create an interest in wellness. The Healthy Kids Challenge Explore MyPlate With School Nutrition Guidebook is an easy-to-use guide with tips and tools for school nutrition services managers and wellness teams! Action ideas are designed to increase participation through marketing and promotion and help meet the HealthierUS School Challenge. Content includes MyPlate, trivia, bulletin boards, food science experiments to link with curriculum standards, menu planning tips, and fun ideas for youth advisory councils. The guidebook is designed for programs serving students in grades K-8.
January 3, 2017
In our WOWS Newsletter, we start the New Year with ideas for school and youth organizations to attain and sustain wellness resolutions. Starting with the January 4th issue and throughout the month of January, check out and share all these ideas with your colleagues.
In addition, as described below, the Centers for Disease Control has recently released a handy wellness assessment and planning tool for healthy schools. Try it out!
CDC’s New Virtual Healthy School!
This interactive tool shows you how components of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model can be integrated into your school. Virtual classrooms are available to “visit” in grades K-2, 3-5 and 6-8. You can even visit the cafeteria, school nurse and principal to see how they are promoting a healthy school environment.
The first approach for developing successful, sustainable wellness policies is to involve people in the process…the general public and school community (parents, students, teachers, school nutrition services, physical educators, school board, school administration and school health professionals.
December 12, 2016
In spite of all the possible benefits of physical activity, including the potential for improving students’ concentration and attentiveness in the classroom leading to greater academic performance, students are falling short of recommendations. A 2013 CDC survey shows that only 29 percent of high school students had participated in at least the recommended 60 minutes per day of physical activity on each of the seven days before the survey.
This time of the year it can be a great win/win to calm the fidget by incorporating movement in class lessons for “brain breaks,” or as rewards!
In the classroom, try out the following, or other ideas of your choosing, to help kids move and learn.
Incorporate movement in class lessons.
- Move and Spell:
- Practice spelling out loud.
- Tell kids to stand on consonants and sit on vowels.
- Practice with holiday words in addition to the usual spelling list.
- Move and Practice Math:
Use the following example for multiplication or a variation for other math functions:
- Hop the number of times for the multiplier.
- Reach for the sky the number of times for the multiplicand.
- Call out the product.
December 5, 2016
Whether at home or at school, as winter vacation approaches and excitement builds, it is hard to keep kids focused. Fitting in fun “brain break” activities during this time not only helps reduce the “fidgets,” they add healthier balance to this season of ooey, gooey desserts and sweet treats!
In the classroom, or at home, this is a great time to use “brain breaks” and Active Play as a reward! This month’s WOWS Newsletters suggest “brain break” ideas that can be used anywhere.
- Have kids develop a list of 8-10 ideas for getting more Active Play and less TV and screen time. Examples: bicycling – dancing – hitting baseballs – jumping rope – juggling/kicking a soccer ball – running/walking – serving a tennis balls – shooting hoops – skating – swimming – disc golf – hopscotch.
- Act out each of the ideas on the list.
- Record the list for future discussion about potential barriers to physical activity and achieving goals for at least an hour of Active Play most or all days.