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February Feature Healthy School: Venerable Michael J. McGivney Catholic Elementary School

Thursday, February 16, 2017 - 11:12

We are excited to have 278 registered Healthy Schools, representing 51 school boards across the province for Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification 2016/17 school year! You can find out if schools from your board have registered by viewing the Registered Schools List

Every month, until June, we’ll be sharing the experiences of select registered Healthy Schools, bringing you their success stories, challenges and ideas to support you in making your school a healthier school. 

1. What has your school team identified as your priority health topic for this school year? What inspired you to choose this topic?

Do you remember when you were a child and you couldn’t wait to get outdoors to play with your friends, or ride your bike to the corner store? Today, when you look around the streets, driveways, or even community parks you’re lucky to see children outdoors engaging in some sort of physical activity.  As much as technology has been helpful, I’ve noticed that children today would rather be inside playing video games or on the computer than playing outdoors. Recent research shows that children today will not outlive their parents because of sedentary lifestyles.  Diabetes rates in children have also increased, and this is why this school year at Venerable Michael J. McGivney Catholic Elementary School we decided to choose physical activity as our primary health topic.

2. How does your school team encourage students and staff to make healthy choices?

At McGivney we’ve introduced a variety of activities to encourage staff and students to make healthy choices. Our Healthy Schools Team launches monthly challenges where one grade can win the Golden Apple trophy. Every student, whether they take the bus or walk, receives a walking card at the beginning of the year to fill out –entering them into a draw at the end of each month. Students get their card stamped if they walk to school and/or walk home. For our bus students, we created a “Get Fit” Walking Club where all staff and students are invited to join. For each lap the student completes, they get a stamp on their walking card. Last year we held our walking club once a week, and the students loved it so much that this year we hold it twice a week. Our staff have even become more health conscience and many staff members have step counters and participate in weekly step challenges, while encouraging and motivating each other every day!

3. How has your school team motivated your school community to be healthy, safe, and inclusive?

Our Healthy Schools Team encourages each other - staff, students, and parents - to make healthy choices through announcements, monthly newsletter blurbs, our school website and Twitter account. We also motivate each other to be safe and inclusive through our monthly Virtue Assemblies, and through various messages from our Faith Ambassadors. We encourage our community to never give up and to always try their best. On our Twitter pages (@mrs_pupo & @McGIVNEYSCHOOL) we post and re-tweet articles that parents can read to motivate them and their children to make healthy choices. We hold annual Teacher vs. Student Volleyball and Basketball challenges, led by our Healthy Schools Team and Faith Ambassadors, and encourage ALL staff to participate regardless of their skills. We teach students that being active isn’t difficult – it’s about getting your heart rate up, having fun, and believing in yourself.

4.   Do you have any upcoming Healthy School events or links you would like to share?

In January we launched our Healthy Schools Kick-Off Assembly.  During this assembly the Healthy Schools team shared goals and initiatives set for the year. We also informed staff and students about our new 5-2-1-0 initiative. Since physical activity is our schools priority health topic, mid-way through the assembly we also had the whole school participate in DPA using GoNoodle, and ended off our assembly with a Winter Walk Fashion Show to promote walking to school during the winter months. Additionally, we hold a BOKS program before school twice a week which engages students to learn new skills through vigorous physical activities.

Upcoming Venerable Michael J. McGivney Healthy Schools Events:

In March, we will be participating in the Great Big Crunch and the Great Gulp, as well as having the City of Brampton host a Fitness Presentation for our grade 1-5 students. In April we will be participating in our annual Jump Rope for Heart event. In June we will be having our Extra-Curricular Assembly where students and parents can join in celebrating all the sports teams and clubs at our school while showcasing their journey.

All upcoming events can be found on our school website and in our monthly newsletter. www.dpcdsb.org/GIVNY/

Christina Pupo
Venerable Michael J. McGivney Catholic Elementary School
Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board

Looking to make your school a healthier place? Check out the HS Certification guidebook and health-topic specific resources.

To see what healthy schools are up to follow #HSCertES on Twitter, and don’t forget to check back next month for our March Feature Healthy School!