It is really rewarding to hear the positive responses around the wellness strategy that we wrote this spring. One of the major efforts is to increase the amount and frequency of physical activity throughout the day in every classroom – with the idea of supplementing what our one gym teacher (for 13 grades) is able to provide. He and I met with the elementary school teachers during a staff meeting last week to brainstorm. At first I sensed hesitancy – as in, “are you really expecting me to add another item to my to-do list?” though of course none of this was voiced. But as we discussed the research demonstrating increased knowledge retention and improved behavior when one minute of movement is added each hour, I saw light-bulbs going on around the room. “We could have cards with different movements on them that students could take turn leading!” “Movement could be a reward – like dancing at the end of the day!” The next thing you knew we had great buy-in.
I ran into the first grade teacher this week – she said she had the kids moving every hour and her students were loving it. She noticed less fidgeting and more eyes on her while she taught. In the high school the principal, who was on the wellness committee, is finding volunteers to teach health to free up our gym teacher to teach gym all year long to all four grades. Now we have retired dieticians and our social work intern teaching health, which gives great opportunities for broader exposure and new relationships, while our high school students will be out playing sports every week the whole year. This strategy that we worked so hard on is really paying off, raising awareness and bringing intention to healthier lifestyles for everyone at UrbanPromise.
Written by: Rebecca H. Bryan, MSN, APN, Director, UrbanPromise Wellness Center
blog: upwellnesscenter.wordpress.com twitter: @up_wellness