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Alive and Well at Ponoka Elementary

Page history last edited by Corinne Hansen 5 years, 1 month ago

Healthy Schools Wolf Creek—Alive and Well at Ponoka Elementary School

By Robyn McBride


          Submitted by Alberta Healthy School Community Wellness Fund


For the last seven years, Wolf Creek School Division, in conjunction with Alberta Health Services (AHS), has been working hard to spread the word among students, parents and staff about healthy living. To support this initiative, Ponoka Elementary School developed the HELP (Healthy Eating Living and Positive Environment) team, a student leadership program that focuses on three key areas: creating and maintaining a positive social environment in the school, healthy food choices, and daily physical activity.

The team includes 42 student leaders from grades 1-5. The HELP committee is made up of teachers, Mrs. Rawlinson, Miss Swett and Mrs. Zimmerman and parent representative, Mrs. Deb Wilson. In October 2011, the committee, along with the support of AHS school health facilitator Robyn McBride, offered a HELP Leader Orientation and Training workshop for an entire afternoon. Participating students were trained on what it means to be a leader and brainstormed goals for the school for the coming year. Leadership responsibilities vary and may include everything from planning and running school-wide physical activities such as the Terry Fox Run and the Santa Shuffle at Christmas to participating in peer mediation and anti-bullying campaigns.

The HELP student leadership group is formed from students from all classrooms. Students serve as representatives and liaisons for their classroom. Under the direction of the committee, students meet as a large group once per month. They are responsible for making morning announcements to the entire school and may participate in running assemblies, bringing in people for special presentations and helping out in any other school activities as needed.

One of the programs that HELP students run is the Weekly Snack Attack. Each week they highlight one particular food group which is then announced to the entire school. Student leaders in each classroom then keep track of how many healthy snacks and lunch items fit into that food group. At the end of the week, the classroom that had the most items that week earns the Healthy Snack Award.

The Monthly Fitness Break is usually done during a special theme day. For 10 minutes, the entire school drops everything and participates in some type of physical activity. This is sometimes done in the classrooms, but may be done in the hallways as well. It is a lot of fun and the students enjoy knowing that the entire school is participating all at once!

Another school-wide physical activity that took place earlier in the year  was the Winter Carnival. Students worked well together as they learned about group work and showing respect to each other as they rotated through a series of stations with different winter-themed physical challenges. One of the challenges even incorporated a healthy snack! On February 8, 2012 all students and staff at Ponoka Elementary School also participated in the Alberta-wide 15 Minute Winter Walk.

In the works is a new Milk program at the elementary school. This will be run on a trial basis with School Council. There is excitement to see the program implemented.


For more information on the HELP program or if you are interested in developing something for your school and division communities, please contact:  Robyn.McBride@albertahealthservices.ca  


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