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Kicking Off a Healthy Year

Laura Burgermeister,   Douglas Road Elementary School
Access to Healthy Foods, Community Involvement, Physical Activity Participation,  Student Leadership
Kicking Off a Healthy Year

To Kick Off the year and build excitement for making healthy choices, we engaged in a school wide Apple Crunch Day taste test and an evening family event, Moving with Mom. Our student leadership team encouraged all students to try 3 different types of MI apples and vote for their favorite. In addition, to promote healthy eating, a parent volunteer donates a variety of fruits and vegetables to give to any students needing a healthy snack that day. These efforts, along with nutrition lessons in the classrooms, have brought attention to healthy foods and set a trend to choose healthy foods! It is not unusual to see students proudly munching mini cucumbers, apples, or bananas throughout the day. The goal for our evening event, Moving with Mom, was to enhance opportunities to motivate families to participate in physical activity. The benefits of students connecting with family, increasing wellness, and building awareness of community opportunities were brought to life as families engaged in a night of physical activity and fun! Collaborating with our PTA, we identified local instructors for Cardio Drumming, Zumba, yoga, karate, and personal trainers from the local YMCA. Trainers set up an obstacle course to race through and buddy workouts where families could work together while enhancing both of their fitness levels. Unstructured opportunities to play catch, jump rope, play basketball, and hula hoop were available between the organized class sessions. Instructors shared the benefits of the activities as they engaged adults and children together, highlighting fun and fitness! Feedback from both events was overwhelmingly positive with many requesting to recreate them again this year! Several parents asked for more information to continue the activity with their family. We gathered data to determine which activities the families most enjoyed for future events. Our student leadership team has been brainstorming future taste tests to expose students to more healthy snacks in the spring. Several teachers invited the karate instructors back during school hours to give all of their students this opportunity. Student feedback has also been positive and many students have signed up for our free after school Healthy Kids Club (a weekly opportunity for students and teacher volunteers to log miles, learn a high energy, non competitive game, enjoy a healthy snack and learn a healthy tip of the day) showing their interest and commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Our Student Leadership Team has played an important role in facilitating the Apple Crunch Taste Test, have engaged in looking critically at the current state of our school as well as creative ways to inspire more healthy changes. They have made announcements with healthy tips, created posters and videos, and have led active brain breaks in classrooms. They are currently planning additional nutritional and physical activities for spring and beyond!

What improvements have you seen at your school?

We have seen an increased awareness and excitement building for making better choices for healthy eating and physical activity.