December Feature Healthy School: Highgate Public School |

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December Feature Healthy School: Highgate Public School

Thursday, December 1, 2016 - 09:52
Highgate Public School Healthy Schools active calendar board

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

Every month, from now 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?

Our school has chosen to focus on mental health and wellbeing from a proactive and preventative stance. This is our third year focusing on this topic. One school board improvement plan for student achievement and wellbeing focuses highly on mental health. We believe that this is one of the pillars that directly impacts how our students’ value themselves, their role in our school community, and their sense of love and belonging.

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

Our healthy schools and workplace team ensure that staff and students have many opportunities to make healthy choices:

  • Daily universal snack and breakfast program 
  • Recess revival PLAY program
  • Common language amongst all staff and students with the ‘Zones of Regulation’ to support students in being mindful of their feelings and finding appropriate ways to control their feelings  Winter well being electives program
  • Workplace Wellness salad club
  • Pedometer challenge and socials

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

Our healthy schools and workplace team motivate our school community to be healthy, safe and inclusive by:

  • Ensuring that there are representatives from every grade/division and areas of the school on our team (e.g. administration, performance plus teacher, child youth worker, primary/junior/intermediate teachers, parents, students). 
  • When planning any event/program/activity we ensure that we follow the Foundations of a Healthy School so that we plan comprehensively and there is connectedness to the big ideas. 
    • Curriculum, Teaching and Learning
    • School and Classroom Leadership
    • Student Engagement
    • Social and Physical Environments
    • Home, School and Community Partnerships

4. Having participated last year, what is one thing you have learned about the value of following the Healthy Schools approach?

We learned that by following the healthy schools approach, staff and students are able to make meaningful connections into their own lives outside of school. The programs/events/activities are not ‘one-offs’, rather they teach our students the knowledge they need and an understanding to make healthy choices all the time.

5. Do you have any upcoming Healthy Schools events or links you would like to share?

Our school is very proud of our whole school Daily Physical Activity (DPA) program. For over 10 years, our school has been able to keep our DPA program sustainable. Everyday for 20 minutes all the staff and students gather in an indoor or outdoor facility to enjoy movement!

Andrea Häefele
Health & Physical Education Teacher
Highgate Public School
York Region 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 January Feature Healthy School!