January Feature Healthy School: John McCrae Public School
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, 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?
This year we identified mental health as our priority health topic and we are also continuing our focus from last year, which was physical activity. We chose both because we feel they go hand in hand – physical activity contributes to positive overall well-being.
We are focusing on Mental Health this year because it is also a priority that has been identified by our school board (YRDSB), and we have some great activities and events planned for this year for our staff and students to participate in.
2. How does your school team encourage students and staff to make healthy choices?
We have signed up our whole school for the “My Healthy Lunch Challenge” which encourages students to bring lunches with foods from all 4 food groups, and we encourage students to make the choice to walk to school every day. While this activity is focused on healthy eating it contributes to our overall goal of mental health—healthier food sets you up for a happier day!
3. How has your school team motivated your school community to be healthy, safe, and inclusive?
We have given every classroom a bag full of recess equipment to help keep students active at recess. We also challenge all students to walk to school every day, especially on Wednesdays when we track walkers on a map of Ontario and reward the class with the most walkers each month with lunch time in the gym and our Golden Running Shoe award. Additionally, we have partnered with our Public Health Nurse to have stress lessons delivered to classes in each division, we have a healthy snack available every day to anyone who needs it, and hold school-wide walks once a month around the community and one night each month where students can bring their family members into the gym to play different activities together.
4. Do you have any upcoming Healthy Schools events or links you would like to share?
Our school will be participating in Winter Walk Day on February 1st where we encourage everyone to walk to school and then go out into the community to do a school-wide walk together. We also have a Family Healthy Living Conference in the spring where we partner with various health professionals and community leaders in the health field who come in to share their expertise with families about ways to keep healthy.
Health and Physical Education Teacher
Healthy School Champion
John McCrae Public School
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 February Feature Healthy School!