Guest Post: Local Teacher's Tips For Cultivating Healthy Classrooms

One of this weblog’s very long time readers is an area trainer, Heather Crysdale. On Facebook she often provides considerate feedback to my posts round children and faculty – a lot in order that I requested her if she’d be thinking about writing a visitor put up with a few of her concepts on how one can make a classroom a wholesome place. Happily she agreed! Here are her ideas – proving that sure, you’ll be able to domesticate wholesome school rooms, it simply takes some thought and creativity:

Modelling Healthy Living in a Primary Classroom:

It generally is a problem to create a classroom the place wholesome exercise ranges and meals selections are promoted. Here are among the methods I attempt to promote wholesome life in my classroom.

Modelling Health Activity Levels:

Being an lively Role Model:

The college students know that I’m an older trainer (e.g., 55 plus) and that I make a acutely aware effort to remain lively. They see me stroll to highschool every day with my husband and little canine, rain or shine, in all seasons. I share with them after I plan to go skate snowboarding, kayaking, biking or to go to the yoga studio. I believe it’s important for them to see individuals of all ages, and genders, being lively.

On May seventh (2017) the households in my class raised $500, to help my CN Cycle for CHEO (Ericsson 70 km) trip.

Physical Fitness Embedded in Daily Physical Activities (DPA), Gym and Special Event Days:

During the autumn and the spring, college students do a morning run 3 times every week, and a gaggle dance (Dancemania) twice every week earlier than heading as much as class. In the winter, college students do physique break dances on Go Noodle (https://www.gonoodle.com) or stair climbing at school for his or her DPA. We even have particular health primarily based days (e.g., a Winter Walk to School Day, a Bike Day, 5 days of Skating at Dulude Arena, and so on.) With employees and college students participating in these actions, health and enjoyable is the aim for everybody!

Modelling Healthy Eating Habits:

Setting an Example with Nutritious Lunches:

When the scholars see me consuming a wholesome lunch (e.g., a sandwich, soup, salad and/or leftovers from residence), I’m modelling good selections for them. When I see college students having fun with a wholesome meals merchandise throughout a Nutrition Break, I would touch upon how tasty the meals appears. If a toddler has a much less wholesome meals merchandise of their lunch bag, it’s not as much as me to critique the meals selection. Food shaming is disrespectful, unhealthy and poor behaviour modelling for a trainer. Packed lunches from residence mirror a household’s meals tradition, meals prep expertise and/or finances.

Mindful Eating:

At our college, we make an actual effort to encourage the scholars to eat mindfully. At the start of the yr, I herald a basket of apples from the Parkdale Market. Each baby will get to carry an apple, whereas listening to the story No Ordinary Apple. A Story About Eating Mindfully. Students are reminded to eat their meals slowly and quietly, utilizing all 5 senses to really get pleasure from their meals. Students present extra gratitude for his or her meals, once they study the way it received to their plate (from seed to platter)!

Food-Free Birthdays Celebrations:

If each birthday in school was celebrated with Pinterest worthy treats, the scholars would have cupcakes and candies no less than 20 instances within the college yr. In my classroom, I encourage mother and father to supply food- free birthday treats to rejoice scholar birthdays. I heard about this concept at an OPHEA (Ontario Physical Health and Education Association) convention. Parents have adopted via by sending in greenback retailer bouncy balls that every baby used within the gymnasium, by sending in Perler beads for the scholars to make Melty bead creations and by donating video games and puzzles for the scholars to get pleasure from on the birthday, and afterwards too. The college students get pleasure from these birthday video games, crafts and puzzles!

Activity Based Holiday Treats:

Special holidays, like Halloween and Valentine’s Day, can imply overindulging in sweet corn, caramels, cinnamon hearts and chocolate kisses. Instead, the scholars may need roasted Pumpkin seeds or fruit skewers as a deal with. On these particular days, the scholars in my class often get a little bit present bag from me. Instead of giving them meals objects, I all the time make them a hand-crafted, handwritten card. Gift concepts may embrace themed pencils, erasers, notebooks, books and passes to skate or swim at City of Ottawa swimming pools and arenas. The college students benefit from the writing, studying and sporting actions!

Sugar and Salt Free Math Activities:

Instead of utilizing meals objects for graphing and sorting, the scholars in my class use Legos, plastic counters and different reusable manipulatives. Or, they use seasonal supplies present in nature (e.g., leaves, pine cones and oak keys). They nonetheless get pleasure from sorting and graphing, with out having to eat unhealthy meals within the course of.

A Focus on Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Rewards:

One of the tenets of our Alternative college is that we don’t give out rewards for good behaviour, effort or work. The aim is to have college students behave properly, make an effort and work arduous, after which expertise the intrinsic satisfaction of a job properly finished. That means no stickers or different extrinsic rewards…and due to this fact no candies or different sugary treats!

Tower Gardening:

One of my educating colleagues, Tiiu Tsao, is rising greens in her classroom (e.g., Leaf lettuce, Yau Choy and Basil). She has borrowed the Tower Garden from the Parkdale Food market. The college students had a possibility to style the produce that they grew. Pure Kitchen is buying the produce for its restaurant. Profits from the sale of those greens to Pure Kitchen are then returned to the Parkdale Food Market. What a good way to study contemporary meals rising, harvesting and consuming!

On these particular days, the scholars in my class often get a little bit present bag from me. Instead of giving them meals objects, I all the time make them a hand-crafted, handwritten card. Gift concepts may embrace themed pencils, erasers, notebooks, books and passes to skate or swim at City of Ottawa swimming pools and arenas. The college students benefit from the writing, studying and sporting actions!

Growing Up Organic:

Several different colleagues are working towards creating an on-site college backyard. Growing Up Organic (a backyard and farm primarily based academic program for kids) is offering startup workshops for college students. The workshops embrace the next matters: soil exploration, seed saving, planning a backyard, planting a salad backyard, seed beginning and transplanting. The aim is to show college students higher meals literacy and meals expertise. Ideally, they hope to create a sustainable backyard that produces produce that may be shared amongst group members, together with the Parkdale Food Centre.


It takes a group to create an setting the place kids can study, by instance and thru observe, to develop life-long health and dietary habits. Together, we are able to make a distinction!

Heather Crysdale is a trainer at Churchill Alternative Public School. She has been educating within the Public School system for over 30 years. In 2014, Heather was awarded the Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) Staff Health and Safety Award, for making an impressive and vital contribution, over an prolonged time period, to Health and Safety. Heather has been married to Douglas Abraham for 25 years. She is the mom of two twenty-something younger males. Heather enjoys paddling her dash kayak on the Rideau River. She likes to swim, cycle and skate ski within the Gatineau Park, and observe yoga at Pure Yoga. She is continually searching for methods to maneuver and eat properly in addition to to advertise wholesome life. In her spare time she likes to make playing cards and to knit!

The opinions expressed on this put up are the creator’s personal and don’t essentially mirror the concepts of the Ottawa Carleton District School Board.

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