Cultivating a Culture of Health
Pack lunch. Drop kids at school. Big presentation at work. Pick up kids. Make dinner. Change culture of health at kids’ school.
All in a day’s work, right?
Cultivating a culture of health in your child’s school can seem daunting. What does this even mean, anyway?
It means finding every avenue where health can and should be incorporated into the school day. It means that school staff, students, families and community members understand the connection between health and learning and make sure student health is as much a priority as academic scores. It means that keeping our families and children as healthy as possible is a guiding principle behind everything that happens in school.
Some examples of a culture of health include:
- School policies and practices consistently make the healthy choice the easy and desirable one for staff and students, including outside the school day and during special events. For example, healthy items in the cafeteria are strategically placed and priced so students purchase them over not-so-healthy items.
- School staff and adult volunteers role model healthy eating and physical activity habits. Parents can participate in recess too!
- Students and families receive consistent messages about healthy eating and physical activity across all aspects of the school, whether it’s in the classroom, the front office, the cafeteria, during snack time, for a reward or fundraiser, or at a celebration, sporting or family event. So, as students learn about healthy eating and physical activity in the classroom, these messages continue as they participate in daily recess, regular PE, classroom parties, etc.
Consider this: Does an ice cream party for the class with the best attendance really reflect a healthy culture? Couldn’t the class be rewarded with an extra recess just as easily, and get the message that one doesn’t always have to celebrate with food?
Not everyone is going to embrace your culture of health philosophy right away. There will be naysayers and obstacles to overcome. But by taking time to prepare, engaging like-minded parents and school staff, and learning how to engage with decision makers, the road can be a smoother one.
Categories: Making Change Happen