National Nutrition Month®, celebrated annually to encourage sound eating habits in kids and adults, allows us to reflect on the great progress we’ve made in creating a total culture of health.
For the more than 600 students who attend Broad Avenue Elementary School in Wilmington, Calif., each day provides an opportunity to learn lifelong skills—from math and science to health and wellness. As a harbor town with a predominantly Hispanic population and deep roots dating back generations, they rely on their close-knit community to support and bolster these efforts.
National Nutrition Month allows them to reflect on the great progress they’ve made in creating a total culture of health at their school in hopes of inspiring others to follow suit.
Here are the top three tips to improve wellness at your school:
1. Reward Students for Being Healthy & Kind
One of Broad Avenue’s favorite new practices is that they now issue certificates to students who are “caught being healthy” and/or “caught being good.” When students are observed making healthy snack choices or treating peers with respect, they like to acknowledge and positively reinforce that behavior. Once students have collected a total of 20 certificates, they can trade them in for a special (non-food!) prize.
2. Swap Unhealthy Fundraisers for Healthier Alternatives
Every school could benefit from additional funds to enrich the experience of students and staff. At Broad Avenue, they’ve swapped food fundraisers—like selling chocolate bars—for healthier, non-food alternatives such as t-shirt sales, fun runs or school supplies sales. Check out these healthy fundraising ideas from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation for inspiration!
3. Don’t Give Up on Our Future Generation’s Health
In the short term, making healthy changes can be hard. But over time, as more and more people see the impact on kids’ academic achievement and overall well-being, the easier it will get. Eventually, health becomes ingrained into your everyday school environment. Our students are our future generation; we owe it to them to use the valuable time they spend at school to teach healthy habits that will last throughout their lifetime (and hopefully, be passed down to their own children one day!).
These are just a few of the many ways Broad Avenue is getting healthy and shaping the futures of their students and staff. And their hard work is paying off! This fall, they were named one of “America’s Healthiest Schools” by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation for being a nationwide leader in advancing kids’ health. We can’t wait to see what they accomplish next.
Ready to get started on your school’s journey to health? Sign-up for Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program today!
This article was written by Kristen Alexander, Health Coordinator, Broad Avenue Elementary School, Calif.
Want to stay up to date with information regarding school wellness? Click here to visit our School Wellness toolkit and to sign up for the Voices for Healthy Kids Action Team!