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Monday, 26 June 2017 08:00

Redcliff school earns top honour for healthy school challenge

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Sonya Brown, health promotions co-ordinator with AHS South Zone, spoke to the PRSD board of trustees about the health and wellness initiatives undertaken in the 2016-17 school year. Sonya Brown, health promotions co-ordinator with AHS South Zone, spoke to the PRSD board of trustees about the health and wellness initiatives undertaken in the 2016-17 school year. Photo by Rose Sanchez

For the second year in a row, a Prairie Rose School Division (PRSD) school earned top prize in the Healthy School Cup challenge.

Board trustees heard more about the health and well-being initiatives in the school division as well as from Cup winners Margaret Wooding School in Redcliff at the June 13 regular meeting.
Sonya Brown, a health promotions co-ordinator with Alberta Health Services South Zone, shared the work she did in the school division the past school year. There were three main goals through the Moving and Choosing program which included strengthening the practices to support and engage school health champions and school communities; provide mental health literacy training to Prairie Rose staff and get approval of the District Wellness Administrative Procedure.
A big event the past year was the Healthy Active School Symposium held in early October with 21 schools, and more than 200 students.
“We got students to create action plans for wellness to bring into their schools,” said Brown, of the some of the work done during that symposium. “It’s a student leadership conference, but it’s focused on wellness.”
February offered another chance to get wellness in front of school staff at the teachers’ convention held in southeast Alberta with more than eight sessions offered. A regional school health champion workshop held in May was a chance for school health champions to attend various sessions and take back new ideas to incorporate into their schools.
Grant funding received this year allowed for Go To Educator training for staff to further their understanding of wellness and mental health literacy.
The Healthy School Cup challenge was in its second year offered for three weeks with 12 schools taking part in four school divisions (PRSD, Medicine Hat Public and Catholic, and Grasslands Regional School).
One week focused on mental health, one week on healthy eating and one week on being active, explained Brown.
“It was really well received,” she added, with a Prairie Rose school taking home the cup again this time around. The first year Jenner colony school won the award.
Grade 5 students from Margaret Wooding School were on hand to talk about the activities they did for the wellness challenge. They also brought the cup and asked that it be kept at central office, along with a board of photos of the activities, to spur other schools into action to take part.
For each week of the challenge, the school did something different each day. For example, with the one week focused on nutrition, one day was about healthy snacks, another about drinking water, and another about choosing fruit with the disbursement of apples and bananas.
The second week’s focus on mental health saw students taking part in “mindful” activities such as meditation, breathing exercises, power walking and learning new tips for eating healthy. The last week’s focus on physical activity saw students holding a dodgeball competition as well as a walking challenge.
Students agreed they had a lot of fun throughout the three weeks and learned a lot.
Grade 5 teacher Jason Miller said it speaks volumes about the work done daily in Prairie Rose School Division that this is the second year the division has won the cup.
Superintendent Brian Andjelic congratulated the students and school staff for their work and participation. He said for more than a decade Margaret Wooding School has had a rich culture and tradition of involving students in the leadership model around wellness goals. He added involving students in the planning of activities is an example to other schools in the division.

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Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor