Included here are easy-to-implement, low- or no-cost ideas to create a healthy environment in your school or district. These strategies have the potential to impact student and staff health and wellness to help create a culture of health at your school. This checklist is a collection of possible health changes; for a more extensive assessment and planning tool we recommend: School Health Index from the CDC and the Healthy Schools Builder from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
Start a wellness committee or team (or leverage an existing group such as a site council) at your school to talk about the health and wellness of students and staff. Use this time to share ideas of health changes in the classroom or school. This resource can help you create a wellness committee: Wellness Committee
Engage students in your wellness committee efforts, too. Youth engagement helps create a unique group of individuals with different contributions while fostering youth leadership growth
Engage parents in your wellness committee to encourage serving the community and being active in schools
Identify a wellness champion at each school who can share information and identify opportunities to promote healthy behaviors and can bring site-specific needs back to the district
Schedule recess before lunch — this will help ensure students will be hungry and eat their entire lunch, sustaining the students for the remainder of the day
Install and promote bike racks at your school to encourage biking
Open the gym or multipurpose facility and provide equipment during non-school hours for recreational activities for students, staff, and the community. Here is a sample joint use agreement: Joint Use Agreements & Joint Use Policy Brief
Ensure that your school’s physical education program is aligned with your state’s requirements. For example, here is California’s Physical Education requirements for schools: Physical Education Fact Sheet
Start school assemblies with a physical activity
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.
Require appropriate hand washing stations throughout the school
Create a policy around the engagement of a wellness committee including meeting frequency and outcomes
Connect staff and student district wellness committees, Site councils and school improvement plans. Assure ongoing communication and integration to create a healthier school environment.
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