Taking Away Recess Can Backfire
In a national survey of principals, more than three-quarters state that students in their schools are punished by withholding recess, but evidence shows that this is the wrong tactic. Taking physical activity away from children decreases their attention spans and ability to focus in the classroom and increases behavior problems and trips to the principal’s office. Read more about the better alternatives to taking away recess here.
Healthy children perform better in school. To encourage students to eat more nutritious foods and become more active, schools are working to support healthy choices by making some big changes, such as adopting active classroom activities and offering healthier food options at school events. These successes are making a difference. See more.
SHIP funding supports school efforts to improve student nutrition and physical activity
Living Healthy Washington County provides support for school districts that are taking steps to increase physical activity for students enrolled in their schools.
Pine Hill Elementary Tower Garden Project
This project helps teach students about gardening and the importance of healthy eating. Read more about this project
Examples of other recent projects are listed below.
• Students in the South Washington County School District encouraged to walk and bike: Studies show that students who walk or bike to school are more ready to learn when they arrive. The district has been working to promote walking and biking through Safe Routes to School projects in twenty of their elementary and middle schools.
• Mahtomedi works to increase classroom physical activity: A new district wellness committee, and elementary-specific working group have been hard at work developing ways to increase the amount of physical activity that students participate in during the school day. The group is exploring ways to keep students active, including energizer breaks in the classroom, active recess and active indoor recess.
• Forest Lake elementary schools take recess to the next level: Two elementary schools in the Forest Lake School District are piloting a new recess program that will help students choose to stay active during their daily free time. The plan, which will be launched in the fall of 2015, will help make sure all students feel welcome to participate and be active during recess.
• New Heights brings more activity into the classroom: New Heights Charter School in Stillwater is exploring ways to combine learning and physical activity. The school is planning an Active Classrooms training for their entire staff and will be preparing to implement more active learning beginning in the fall of 2015.
In 2015, every school district in Washington County has taken on at least one project to help students and families make healthy food choices within their building. These projects include:
• Forest Lake and Mahtomedi schools help make water the easy choice: Students in Forest Lake and Mahtomedi have easier access to free, good tasting water thanks to new water bottle refill stations that have been installed at Forest Lake High School, Century Junior High, Southwest Junior High and Mahtomedi Middle School. These high-speed bottle fillers are an easy way for students to quickly fill their water bottles, making water more convenient than higher cost, higher calorie sports drinks and sodas.
• East Ridge High School helps students go the distance: Students who stay after school for athletic, arts or academic programs will be able to keep themselves fueled for their long day with a new after-school food program at East Ridge High School. The “Afterburner” program, first piloted at Park High School by South Washington County Schools Nutrition Services department, will be expanded to East Ridge High School in the fall of 2015. The Afterburner program allows students to conveniently purchase healthy snacks, including fresh fruits and vegetables, through their school lunch account.
• New Heights students start their day right with new breakfast options: New Heights charter school in Stillwater has always encouraged students to start their day with a healthy breakfast. In partnership with Living Healthy Washington County, the school recently added toasters to their breakfast area, and began offering whole grain bagels and breakfast waffles. These additional hot options are helping to encourage more students to start their day with nutritious, filling food.
• Stillwater concessions featuring new healthy options: Athletes and fans in Stillwater Area schools now have healthier foods available at sporting events thanks to a long-term effort to offer more nutritious options at school concession stands. The school district’s nutrition services staff have partnered with parent volunteers, PowerUp and Lakeview Hospital to offer fresh fruits, vegetables, cheese sticks, trail mixes and other nutrient-rich foods available for purchase at concession stands operated at select sporting events.
New cross walk signals encourage safer walking and biking
Oneka Elementary School and the City of Hugo are helping to make walking and biking to school an easier choice through funding from Living Healthy in Washington County and the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP).
The city will install new signals this spring on Heritage Avenue by the school, which will allow for safer crossing for walkers and bicyclists at this busy intersection. Oneka Elementary School is moving the project forward by surveying students about how they get to school and will hold a special Walking School Bus event in September. Students are encouraged to walk and bike to school to decrease childhood obesity through more physical activity, and arrive at school energized and ready to learn.
Parents can support this project by teaching their children tips that make biking and walking to school fun and safe. Get tips here:
All residents benefit by having safer places to walk and bike in and around the City of Hugo.
For more information about the project, contact:
Shayla Denaway – Hugo Parks Planner