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AHA improves the health and well-being of Wake County residents by facilitating and supporting community initiatives.

Wellness at School: Get a Jump on the Year with a Plan

Thanks to guest blogger Evie Houtz, Youth Program Manager, Be Active North Carolina, for sharing this article.

Year-round schools are already back in action for the new school year, and the first day of school is right around the corner for traditional-calendar schools. It’s the perfect time to get involved and help your child’s school create more opportunities for physical activity and good nutrition.  Here are some best practices for creating a healthy and active school environment. 

Students from the Northwoods Elementary School KForce Running Club warm up for fun!

1. Parents can start this movement by working with the administration and/or PTA to create a school wellness team. Schools wellness teams are comprised of parents, staff, community members, and possibly students who have an interest in physical activity and overall wellness. This team may write school policies (examples include a requirement that each student is given 30 minutes of classroom physical activity or that school fundraisers must be active in nature and not involve low nutrient foods), change the physical environment (example, creation of a walking trail or fitness stations), and develop programs (example,“Fit Clubs” for students or staff physical activity challenges) that promote opportunities for students, staff, and the school community to be physically active.  

2. Once the wellness team has been created, the team can work together to access the school’s strengths and areas that need to improve. Assessments also can determine what types of physical activity opportunities students, staff and the community would most likely take part in. 
3. Information gained through the school assessment is then used by the wellness team to create an action plan. This document list goals, how the school will reach its goals, the resources needed, who will be responsible and how the goals will be assessed for effectiveness. The action plan is a “living” document so changes can be made periodically to improve what the team has in place or to add additional policies, physical changes, or programs to the action plan. 
4. Once the action plan has been put in place, it is then time to implement the team’s goals.   Goals should promote physical activity in the before and after school programs, with staff, in the classroom, in physical education program, and with all other parts of the school community.   
5. Periodically, the wellness team should reassess the effectiveness of their efforts and make changes as needed. Though the work of a school wellness team is never ending, the benefits to the students, staff, and community make it all worth it! 
Learn more about Be Active’s efforts in schools and how to make your classroom, school or after-school program more active, more often at the Get Active tab on Be Active’s web site. Find resources that wellness teams, PTAs and school administrators can use in your school at AHA’s Fuel Your School tab.
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