Blog Posts Tagged: daily physical activity

Unique Relationship Between DPA and Teacher Collaboration

by Kathy Cassels

One would think there was little to no relationship between daily physical activity and teacher collaboration time; however, you might want to think again.  Several schools in the Coast Mountain School District have found a unique way to bring the two together.  Last week, I met Principal Mark Newberry from John Field Elementary School in Hazelton, BC.  He told me the story of how his whole student population starts each day, led by student leaders in the gym dancing and moving for 30 minutes of daily physical activity.  While students get active, teachers take time to collaborate on their three school goals, literacy, culture and social responsibility.  He said “It’s a win win all around for the whole school.”

Some benefits of the approach include allowing late arrivals join in with welcome nods and hellos from friends rather than queries from teachers, and where last year there was little opportunity for staff collaboration, the consistency of 30 minutes each morning  for working together has improved relationships among school staff and improved school culture overall.

The approach was not without some resistance expressed initially.  At first teachers were concerned about loss of teaching time and worried about overstimulated students returning to class.  However, intentional support and mindfulness strategies integrated into the beginning of class time, supported all learners to be ready to learn and any resistance quickly vanished.

Meeting Mark was part of a planned discussion between educators and North West health authority representatives to explore “What could physical and mental well-being look like for learners in our K-7 schools?” and “How can the Northern Health Authority representatives contribute to our efforts?”  These two questions reference the work at DASH in Healthy Schools BC where we aim for BC students to learn, play and thrive in healthy school communities.

I’m looking forward to staying in touch with John Field Elementary School to learn more about their efforts to address literacy, culture and social responsibility through a unique approach of daily physical activity and teacher collaboration. Stay tuned!

Pencils, rulers, backpacks… oh my! It’s back-to-school time!

by Alex Inman

It’s hard to believe, but it’s that time of year again – back to school! ‘Tis the season of rushing to the store for school supplies, trying (and, usually, failing) to get back into a normal sleep routine, sorting out schedules (between school, teams, activities, etc.), and figuring out what in the world to pack for lunch to make sure your kids are eating healthy… and are actually eating what you pack!

Personally, I’m also gearing up to head back to UBC for a degree in Dietetics. Having worked at DASH for the summer, my sleeping and packing lunches routine is already in place – but making a balanced schedule has always been a challenge. Research has shown that maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating right, exercising regularly and maintaining positive mental health, is associated with better learning and higher grades! So here are some tips that I’ve found on how to practice BALANCE in your life between work, school, and personal commitments.

  • Write out a ‘typical’ weekly schedule. While this may change over time, starting out by putting in things you NEED to do can help you schedule in time for things you WANT to do (and some “me” time too!)
  • Ensure that children are getting at least 60 minutes of rigorous physical activity a day. This infographic shows the link between being physically active and academic achievement. An easy way to ensure your children are active enough is to sign them up for teams and lessons as this will keep you accountable to getting to practice/lessons every day. Or consider getting active as a family – what about after-dinner walks that the whole family gets into? Or how about taking the whole family to the local pool for a dip? You can also check out ParticipACTION’s funmobile that is touring the province.
  • It may be a little late now, but it helps to start getting into the habit of going to sleep earlier a few weeks before the start of school. Now that we’re already in school, think about getting into a bedtime routine. Turn off all screens at least half an hour before you want to sleep (the light from TVs, phones, etc. keeps our bodies awake) and choose quiet, calming activities to do before bed such as reading a book or having a bath. Set yourself a bedtime by starting with what time you want to be up and aiming for 6-8 hours of sleep!
  • Make sure you’re packing healthy, balanced lunches for the school or work day. A balanced meal includes at least 3 of the 4 food groups, with a focus on including fruits and vegetables. Extra tip: make extra for your dinner tonight, so you can pack it for lunch tomorrow! Here’s a great video from UBC Dietitian Tanya Leung about packing healthy lunches!

I hope you found some of these tips helpful for easing back into the school routine. I’m curious though, what do YOU do to get ready for back-to-school? What’s some of your best advice for leading a healthy, balanced lifestyle even as we start to get busier in September?