As a member of the PTA’s Wellness Committee at my son’s school, I help plan programming and events that encourage kids to eat healthier and move more. This is the last in a series of posts highlighting the wellness activities at our school (read “Programs That Rock” Part 1 and Part 2). I hope you’ll get ideas and inspiration from these programs. I’m also hoping you’ll share info about your school’s programs in the comments section, so we can all be inspired!
Wellness Field Trip
Last Spring, the Wellness Committee organized a field trip for the second graders. We chose a nearby public market within walking distance. Going by foot instead of bus was great exercise (and saved us a lot of money). We toured the market and talked about the kinds of foods we saw. Then an educator from the non-profit organization Local Matters took the students through one of the fresh food stalls, talking about different kinds of fruits, vegetables, dried beans, whole grains, and nuts–and why they’re good for the body. Then we went upstairs to the market’s kitchen space, where the kids helped prepare a lunch of hummus and veggie sandwiches.
Field Day Snacks
Like many schools, our school has an annual field day for the students, when a large part of the day is devoted to sports and games. The kids love it. Though popsicles and snow-cones are typically served at field day, last year the PTA asked if the Wellness Committee could provide something nutritious.
So we showed up with 20 watermelons, and parent volunteers cut them and passed out slices to the kids. Nearly every student took a piece and enjoyed it (and there was no uproar over the lack of popsicles).
It was a simple idea, cost less than $100, and required just a handful of volunteers. But it sent an great message to the kids: Playing and moving your body is important–and so is fueling it in a healthy way.
What You Can You
If your school has some kind of health and wellness-related committee or group, join it. Find out what they’re doing and bring ideas of your own.
If they don’t have one, talk to your school’s principal about starting one. Our committee is a part of the school’s PTA, which gives us great support, access to volunteers, and a budget.
For more ideas, read Starting a School Health & Wellness Committee: 6 Easy Steps from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution website.
For more resources, check out:
Action for Healthy Kids: This non-profit helps schools nationwide by providing tools, resources, and programs to get kids eating healthier foods and being active.
Rudd ‘Roots Parents: A website created by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, it supports parent advocates in improving school food and developing a wellness policy.
To get educated about school food, the The Lunch Tray is a must-read blog. I also really like the new-ish blog School Bites, written by a mom working to bring healthier food to her son’s elementary school. You’ll also find a ton of resources, like healthy classroom snack lists and ideas for non-food fundraisers, over at Spoonfed.
Does your school have a wellness committee? Thinking about starting one? Please share!