All students deserve to have the opportunity to be physically, mentally, and socially healthy and to learn in an environment that enables them to reach their full potential. The school setting is the ideal place to start and to make that connection. Healthy students are better learners.
Two weeks ago, People for Education, an independent organization working to support public education in Ontario’s schools, released a report that discussed the importance of healthy schools and the province’s plan for building healthy schools. In the days that followed the release of this report, the topic of healthy schools was featured on several newsfeeds.
What is a healthy school though? When most people hear the term “healthy school”, the first things that usually come to mind are healthy eating and physical activity programs. That’s fair, as in the past there has been a big push on getting healthier foods into school cafeterias and vending machines, and ensuring that all students participate in a certain amount of physical activity each day. That’s usually the healthy school news that we hear.
But there is so much more happening! Just as BC’s Minister of Education said in his message addressing the province’s Education Plan, “It’s an exciting time for change, and that change is putting students at the center of their own education. We need to create new learning environments for students to allow them to discover, embrace and to fulfill their passions. Before us, lies a tremendous opportunity. By working together, we can take what is a good education system and make it great!”
Things are changing, and it is becoming apparent that a healthy school is no longer only about healthy eating and physical activity; creating a healthy school is about working together, going beyond the classroom and school walls, and involving the broader school community. A healthy school is organized so that students are supported to be physically, mentally and socially healthy to enable them to acquire the skills and knowledge needed to achieve life-long success.
There is a new movement occurring, the healthy schools movement, and DASH and our partners (including the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, and other key stakeholders in the school community) are leading the way in BC. The healthy schools movement supports the BC Education Plan.
Please follow our new blog for discussion on the importance of healthy schools, and to learn practical ways that you can make a difference – today, tomorrow, and in the futures of students in BC – by starting small and becoming a part of the movement.
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