Active Healthy Living

 

In the Tri-County Regional School Board (TCRSB), Active Healthy Living refers to practices that are consistent with supporting, improving, maintaining and enhancing health, or basically, living in healthy ways.  The TCRSB focuses on each school community’s capacity to make healthy choices through:

  • Breakfast Programs
  • Cafeterias
  • Health Education
  • Health Promoting Schools initiative
  • Physical Education
  • Social and Emotional Learning

“The sole purpose of Active Healthy Living is to give students the tools and strategies that they need in order to lead healthy, active lives.” (Temertzoglou, 2009, p.15)

Temertzoglou, Ted. (2009). Active Healthy Living: Teacher’s Manual. Canada: Thompson Educational Publishing, Inc.

Breakfast Programs

Breakfast programs in all of our TCRSB schools support, and are supported by, the Food and Nutrition Policy for Nova Scotia Public Schools (2006) and the Nova Scotia Health Promoting Schools initiative. “Together these initiatives help create an environment where students can become engaged learners and healthier Nova Scotians for life.

Breakfast is important for numerous reasons. To learn well, children need to eat well. Studies show that eating breakfast improves school performance, cognitive function, behaviour and classroom mood and atmosphere.

Children and youth spend a large part of their day in school, making schools an important environment to reinforce the connection among nutrition, health and education outcomes. The availability of school breakfast programs increases the probability that students will eat breakfast and, in turn, improve their learning. School breakfast programs are not intended to replace nourishment at home, but rather to support parents/guardians who are the primary providers.”

Retrieved February 15, 2017, from http://novascotia.ca/dhw/healthy-development/children-breakfast-program.asp

Cafeterias

“Research confirms what teachers have known for a long time – health, nutrition, and learning are linked. Healthy, nourished students who feel safe are better able to learn, perform in class, and attend school more regularly. Those who achieve higher levels of education tend to experience better health as adults.

For these and many other reasons, food and beverages served and sold in schools should be primarily for the purposes of nourishment. Students need healthy food during the school day to sustain the energy and concentration required for learning. To help ensure access to healthy food and beverages, it’s important that they are affordably priced.

The promotion and sale of healthy food and beverages in school reinforces the nutrition messages taught in the classroom and at home. When food and beverages of limited nutritional value (i.e. those that are high in sugars, sweeteners, fat, salt, and caffeine) are available or promoted to students at school, it becomes increasingly difficult to limit intakes.

Together with the home and other settings, schools can positively influence students’ food choices and eating habits. Parents and other caregivers are the primary role models for health behaviours in children and youth. School food policies and programs can complement the efforts of parents and other caregivers to ensure proper nutrition for children and youth in the school setting.

Eating well and being active take more than willpower. A policy that supports healthy food and beverage choices can help ensure that the healthy choice is the easy choice in schools.”

Retrieved February 15, 2017, from http://novascotia.ca/dhw/healthy-communities/healthy-eating-schools.asp

Health Education

The purpose of health education in schools is to provide students with opportunities to practice and reinforce life skills in culturally and developmentally appropriate ways. The concept of health including physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual dimensions, is a central component of the curriculum outcomes. Health education contributes to the promotion of personal and social development, the prevention of health and social problems, and the protection of human rights.

The World Health Organization’s Life Skills framework (2010) shows that skills-based health education makes significant contributions to the healthy development of children and youth and has a positive impact on reducing health risk behaviours.  Skills-based health education fosters informed citizens who are able to seek services and advocate for policies and environments that affect their personal health, the health of their relationships, and the health of their community.

Health Promoting Schools

“Health promotion in schools is not just about encouraging children and young people to eat well and to exercise; it encompasses a much broader approach, which includes promoting the physical, social, spiritual, mental and emotional well-being of all students and staff.

A strong focus on health contributes to higher academic achievement and increases educational equity for all students. The many interventions that are a part of this approach can help children and youth live healthier lives, learn and develop to their fullest potential, and to establish productive and satisfying relationships. Ultimately, this comprehensive school health approach can reduce or defer health care and other human services costs.

Nova Scotia Health Promoting Schools is a partnership led by the Department of Education and the Department of Health Promotion and Protection, and comprising Nova Scotia’s eight school boards, the Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey, the province’s district health authorities, and community members.”

Retrieved February 15, 2017, from https://nshps.ca/about

Physical Education

“There is no course in school that affects the lives of our students more than Physical Education – without their health and personal well-being, other areas of their lives will suffer and adversely affect their learning.” (Temertzoglou, 2009, p.15)

Quality physical education programs help students participate in and develop a physically active lifestyle that will enable them to experience an enjoyable quality of life physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially. Physical Educators in the Tri-County Regional School Board empower students to lead healthy, active lives by giving them the tools they need to succeed; educating the whole child.

In order for students to become physically literate, they must participate in a quality physical education program. To develop physical literacy, students require diverse experiences in different types of physical activities. Such experiences will provide students with opportunities to understand the connectedness between: health-related physical fitness, movement skills, decision-making, relationships, environment, social justice, and expression of self.

Research shows that taking part in daily physical activity:

  • Increases student academic achievement
  • Increases overall fitness and self-esteem
  • Increases positive attitudes toward life
  • Increases good decision-making skills
  • Decreases discipline problems (Temertzoglou, 2009, p.35)

Temertzoglou, Ted. (2009). Active Healthy Living: Teacher’s Manual. Canada: Thompson Educational Publishing, Inc.

Social and Emotional Learning

“Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.” ~ CASEL (www.casel.org)

Many research studies have shown that learning occurs best when children are surrounded by positive, supportive relationships. To establish these relationships, children require certain key skills which will allow them to make friends, overcome academic and social challenges, manage emotions, identify their own feelings, and recognize feelings that others are experiencing. These studies also support the concept  that children who gain these important abilities of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making will have fewer problems related to risky behaviors such as drug abuse, bullying, violence, and dropping out of school.

The Tri-County Regional School Board identifies as one of its priorities the importance of safe school climates and inclusive learning environments. As such, the Board recognizes and supports student development of social and emotional learning skills as a strategy for creating healthy school communities. Although there are a number of SEL programs that have been developed, the TCRSB has chosen the PATHS® program to guide and reinforce students’ SEL skills. It is important to be aware that the process of acquiring these skills takes time, therefore it is recommended that children begin SEL lessons and activities in school at the beginning of their school careers, and continue on through High School.

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Grant Dunn

Active Healthy Living Consultant

902-749-2809
grant.dunn@tcrce.ca

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