Students develop healthy habits at an early age

July 22, 2013

Starting with the 2012-2013 school year, over 50,000 elementary-aged students in Northside began benefitting in a collaborative effort between the Health and Physical Education Department, Child Nutrition Department, and the Learning Tree After-School program thanks to a three-year $2.6 million Federal Carol M. White Physical Education Program grant.

The Healthy Start: Food, Fitness, Fun grant is designed to improve physical education and nutrition education programs at all NISD elementary schools.

The program is composed of the following elements:

·         Physical Education: includes increasing physical activity levels for K-5 using the research-based SPARK (Sports, Play, Active Recreation for Kids) curriculum concepts and activities that reinforce cardiovascular fitness. PE teachers will be attending training and will acquire equipment for their classrooms that will enhance their lessons, ie: rock climbing, fencing, golf, Lacrosse, etc.

·         Nutrition: includes increasing nutrition awareness through fully developed nutrition education campaigns led by mascot Northside NIC and the Child Nutrition Department. Campus presentations will include SPARK nutrition concepts, MyPlate videos, workbooks, banners, and handouts at all elementary schools.

·         After-School Program: includes the implementation of the CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) curriculum which aligns with the other elements of the program, allowing opportunities for the student to stay active and healthy with a purpose. All sites will be acquiring appropriate equipment to enhance and sustain their lessons.

·         Family Involvement: The Learning Tree After-School Program will host free Fit Family Fun Nights, which encourage family and community members to participate in six week sessions, one night per week of physical activity such as Kick Boxing, Zumba dance, and Zumbatron for kids, all led by certified personal trainers.

“Healthy living is what we strive for all our children,” said Superintendent Dr. Brian Woods. “And if we can start our students developing healthy habits at an early age, then the chances of them continuing those good habits in the future is improved.”

“This grant is a great first step in bringing the physical education, nutrition, and family components all together and giving our students a healthy start,” he added.