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10 Tips to Start the School Year in a Healthy Way

Catherine is a senior communications professional helping social change organizations tell their story in powerful ways. She has expertise in public health, environmental stewardship, philanthropy and education. Follow her on Twitter @CatBrozena

Summer is just about over and families and schools are preparing for another school year. To help kick off the school year in a healthy way, Kaiser Permanente Thriving Schools offers the following advice.

10 Ideas to Promote a Healthy School Environment:

  1. Find out your school district’s wellness policy.  Check out the USDA’s tools and resources to strength your school’s wellness policy here: Local School Wellness Policy.
  2. Find out how you can be involved in your school’s wellness committee and use this resource to help create the most impactful committee: Wellness Committee.
  3. Sign up for Fire Up Your Feet Activity Tracking Challenge to track your physical activity during the day and encourage your school to participate in a friendly competition to see what school can have the post participants tracking their physical activity!
  4. Visit your child’s school during lunch.  Are appealing fresh fruits and vegetables available and are kids eating them? Find out more about you school’s meal programs.
  5. Check out your school’s policy on healthy classroom celebrations.  If your school does not have a policy on healthy celebrations, use these ideas for celebrating in a healthy way, promoting a healthy environment at your school: Healthy Celebrations.
  6. Ensure that your school promotes a healthy environment with fundraising in a healthy way, like hosting a Fun Run!  Check out this useful fundraising tool to create a personal fundraising webpage to fundraise and celebrate getting more physically active: Fire Up Your Feet Healthy Fundraising.
  7. Find out your school’s policy on offering candy and food as a classroom reward.  If your school does not have one, suggest creating a policy that eliminates candy and junk food as a reward in the classroom.  Here are some other reward ideas: Constructive Classroom Rewards.
  8. Advocate for classroom short physical activity breaks in your school’s classrooms to reenergize and engage students.  The Institute of Medicine advises that “physical activity should be a priority for all schools” as an opportunity to improve academic achievement.  Use JAM’min Minutes or GoNoodle for physical activity break ideas.
  9. Start a walking club at your school to engage school staff, teachers, and students together in a fun and active way.  See what Paul Hein, a PE teacher, did in Sacramento: Walking Wednesdays.
  10. Ensure your school offers at least one or more recess breaks of at least 15 minutes in length- a tactic associated with improved classroom behaviors. Review the American Academy of Pediatrics’ The Crucial Role of Recess in School and take note of their recess recommendations to parents, teachers, school administrators, and policy makers.





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