Who is Involved in a Healthy School?
Creating a healthy school is a shared responsibility that involves the whole community, and that includes YOU.
Educators, including teachers, administrators and support staff are the backbone of any school team. As staff of the school, they have a solid understanding of school and board objectives, as well as an appreciation of the diversity of the students and school community.
Educators are typically involved in all stages of the Healthy Schools process, with some educators leading components and others supporting specific activities. The more educators are able to contribute, the more your school team will be able to accomplish, and the more students will want to be involved.
The Healthy Schools Lead is a staff member at the school who agrees to facilitate the school team and act as the main contact for the Ophea Healthy Schools Certification program. The Healthy Schools Lead does not need to be an expert with the Healthy Schools approach. In fact, they may be new to Healthy Schools but with an interest in promoting health and well-being in their school community.
Administrators, including principals and vice-principals, are the “community builder(s) who create(s) a healthy and safe school environment that is welcoming to all, and who ensures that all members of the school community are kept well informed.” (Ministry of Education. (2015). Health and Physical Education Curriculum: Grades 1 – 8. p. 16.) For a school to be successful in the Healthy School approach, it needs the support of the administration.
A. If you are an educator interested in having your school participate in the Ophea Healthy Schools Certification and you are willing to act as the Healthy Schools Lead, click here to register your school.
B. If you are an educator interested in having your school participate in Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification but are not the Healthy Schools Lead, share the guidebook with your school administrator to help determine who might be the most appropriate staff member to act as the Healthy Schools Lead.
Student engagement is a cornerstone of the Healthy School approach. Students as young as those in primary school can contribute to a healthy school by identifying what matters to them and what they like to do, contributing to or leading activities based on their abilities. Students in secondary schools can take even more of a leadership role, planning and running activities, and engaging community partners.
If you are a student who wants to ensure that their school is participating in Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification, talk to your teacher, a parent/guardian or a staff member at your school and tell them about this opportunity. You can share the guidebook with them as it provides more information.
Parents and Families
Parents, guardians, caregivers, and family members, at both the elementary and secondary levels have a lot to offer a healthy school. School parent councils and school board Parent Involvement Committees (PICs) are excellent sources for resources to support a wide range of activities.
Parent and family engagement in the school team can ensure that the activities reflect the community and that the health and well-being promoted in schools is reinforced in the home. At the secondary level, parents may play a less formal role but are still a critical component to the well-being of the school community. Families may also have their own assets to share, such as donations from their workplace or volunteer connections.
If you are a parent or family member who wants their child’s school to participate in Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification, talk to your child’s teacher or a staff member at your school and tell them about this opportunity. You can share the guidebook with them as it provides more information.
Publicly funded schools in Ontario are supported by local public health units that often play a key role in supporting school communities in adopting the Healthy Schools approach. Public Health services and programs address a variety of health topics and promote the health and well-being of children and youth, and the school community.
If you are a public health staff member who wants your local school to participate in Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification, talk to the school’s administration or a staff member and tell them about this opportunity. You can share the guidebook with them as it provides more information.
Community partners play an integral role in supporting Healthy Schools initiatives by providing their services, resources and expertise as schools plan activities. Community partners include public health, local businesses, not-for-profit organizations, feeder and neighboring schools, recreation and sports groups, police and fire services, community health centres, and the municipalities.
If you are a community partner who wants your local school to participate in Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification, talk to the school’s administration or a staff member and tell them about this opportunity. You can share the guidebook with them as it provides more information.