By Rose Sanchez
Southern Alberta Newspapers
More students are choosing to become health champions in their schools in Prairie Rose School Division, resulting in healthier environments.
That was one of the key messages shared by Sonya Brown, health promotion co-ordinator, with Alberta Health Services in southeast Alberta, at the June 14 regular board meeting.
She was sharing some of the highlights and successes from the past school year and the Moving and Choosing initiative.
“We are seeing way more engagement with health champions,” she said. “All of the schools are working towards these action plans.”
The focus for Brown, through the Moving and Choosing initiative, is healthy eating, increased physical activity and positive well-being.
Goals for the 2015-16 school year included:
• developing key conversations with stakeholders to build support for a wellness guideline in PRSD;
• strengthen CSH practices around the district by engaging health champions and school communities to participate in healthy practices;
• continue to work with student wellness teams to create healthy school communities;
• build capacity within the school community.
One of the highlights for Brown this past year was the Healthy Active School Symposium held in Medicine Hat in October.
“It’s a really good stepping stone for students who attend,” she said. “They can learn about positive mental health, healthy eating and how to be leaders in their schools.”
Students from Margaret Wooding School in Redcliff led the student breakout session at the symposium sharing the Five Dimensions of Wellness.
“We also had the implementation of student wellness teams. There are lots more students getting involved,” added Brown.
Some PRSD schools received wellness fund grants. Irvine received funding for some mental health initiatives. The Redcliff Mennonite Alternative Program (RMAP) received its first grant of $5,000 to help improve the canteen to support healthy eating in the school.
Moving and Choosing had a presence at the teachers convention in southeast Alberta with the Brain Break Hideaway. It was an area for those in attendance to sit for a break, enjoy some snacks and receive a gift.
There were also wellness workshops held and other professional development opportunities for staff. The Healthy Schools Happy Future, fifth annual regional school Health Champion Workshop was also a popular draw.