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Become a Healthy School

A Healthy School promotes the physical, mental, social and spiritual health of the whole school community.

A Healthy Schools approach looks beyond the classroom to the entire school setting. It involves students, staff, parents, volunteers and community partners. Together, they share ideas, plan and take action to help kids lead healthy active lives.

The Ministry of Education recognizes and endorses the Healthy Schools framework in Foundations for a Healthy School.

Benefits of a Healthy School community

This approach is an evidence-based, internationally recognized framework for building healthy school communities. A Healthy School:

  • Empowers students to be more involved in school life and part of the positive change
  • Improves student success and well-being
  • Reduces absenteeism
  • Improves academic achievement
  • Promotes diversity and inclusion
  • Improves student interaction and promotes a sense of belonging within their school

Getting started

Follow these steps to adopt the Healthy Schools framework and make your school an even healthier place to live, learn and work.

  1. Form a Healthy School group
  2. Identify strengths and areas for improvement
  3. Develop an action plan
  4. Implement the action plan
  5. Evaluate and celebrate achievements
  6. Review and adjust the plan

Contact

To learn more about Healthy Schools or to connect with a public health nurse:

Video: What does the Healthy Schools Approach really mean?

Services

Every elementary and secondary school in Niagara has a public health nurse attached to it. Public health plays a major role in supporting Healthy Schools and can help elementary and secondary schools:

  • Promote the Healthy Schools framework as a best practice model. For example, provide presentations at staff meetings and parent council.
  • Help schools create a Healthy Schools team
  • Support the planning and implementation of health promotion campaigns that target school-wide involvement

Healthy Schools Niagara spotlight

The spotlight showcases the Healthy School initiatives at one school each month. While the spotlight highlights one specific school, there are many other schools across Niagara doing amazing work too.

  • June 2020

    Woodland Public School
    511 Seventh St. Louth, St. Catharines

    The Healthy Schools Club may be a new club at Woodland Public School, but they are doing some amazing work! The Woodland Wellness Wolves have been working hard to make their school a healthier place.

    The Wolves began the school year by asking students what health topic they should focus on. Over half of the students wants more programs to encourage physical activity. As a result, the Wolves created a series of Wellness Walks to educate staff and students about the importance of physical activity. Students were encouraged to skip, hop and dance their way through a series of checkpoints and answer questions about health and wellbeing along the way.

    Last month, the Wolves explored why children may not get enough physical activity. One of the biggest factors was the overuse of screens. The team then focused their efforts on educating their peers about the impact too much screen time can have on their health.

    Thanks to the huge support from staff and the Wellness Wolves, Woodland Public School held their very first Screen Smart Week from March 9-13. Students participated in a poster contest and another Wellness Walk to talk about what they will do over March Break instead of using screens.

    The team will continue to meet throughout the year to plan fun activities to make Woodland Public School a healthier place to learn and grow. Great work Wellness Wolves!

  • April 2020

    Woodland Public School
    511 Seventh St. Louth, St. Catharines

    The Healthy Schools Club may be a new club at Woodland Public School, but they are doing some amazing work! The Woodland Wellness Wolves have been working hard to make their school a healthier place.

    The Wolves began the school year by asking students what health topic they should focus on. Over half of the students wants more programs to encourage physical activity. As a result, the Wolves created a series of Wellness Walks to educate staff and students about the importance of physical activity. Students were encouraged to skip, hop and dance their way through a series of checkpoints and answer questions about health and wellbeing along the way.

    Last month, the Wolves explored why children may not get enough physical activity. One of the biggest factors was the overuse of screens. The team then focused their efforts on educating their peers about the impact too much screen time can have on their health.

    Thanks to the huge support from staff and the Wellness Wolves, Woodland Public School held their very first Screen Smart Week from March 9-13. Students participated in a poster contest and another Wellness Walk to talk about what they will do over March Break instead of using screens.

    The team will continue to meet throughout the year to plan fun activities to make Woodland Public School a healthier place to learn and grow. Great work Wellness Wolves!

  • March 2020

    St. Elizabeth Catholic Elementary School

    St. Elizabeth Catholic Elementary School
    31950 Sugarloaf St., Wainfleet

    The Healthy Schools Squad at St. Elizabeth Catholic Elementary School has done some great work. Their exceptional staff and educational supports, principals, parents and students all wanted to make their school a safer and more positive environment. Their team, along with the entire school, decided to focus on mental wellbeing. They understood that mental wellbeing plays a part in our overall health.

    The team recently held their first school-wide activity - a stress balls workshop. The students promoted the workshop by talking to their peers and by putting up posters. To start the workshop, the student leaders demonstrated mindfulness through the Take 5 Breathing exercise. The team then introduced stress balls as a tool to help manage stress and to feel more relaxed and calm. They emphasized how stress can affect someone's focus, concentration and motivation in school. The fun truly began when the student leaders led their peers in making their own stress balls out of balloons and flour. Students were encouraged to get creative and pick colours that made them feel happy.

    For the rest of the school year, the team plans to continue increasing awareness about mental wellbeing and mindfulness. They plan to start student-led movement and stretching lunches in the next few weeks. They will keep the school informed of their work by putting up a mental wellbeing bulletin board.

    St. Elizabeth's Healthy Schools Squad is motivated to make their school even healthier and happier. The team wants everyone to remember to be kind to themselves and to be kind to others. St. Elizabeth's Healthy Schools Squad - you are truly inspiring. Wonderful work!

  • February 2020

    Orchard Park Public School

    Orchard Park Public School
    3691 Dorchester Rd., Niagara Falls

    The Health and Wellness Rangers at Orchard Park Public School are off to another great start. Last school year, the team picked healthy eating as their focus. This year, the team will continue focusing on healthy eating through three separate projects, each with a unique twist.

    Their first project called "How Food Affects Your Mood" looked at how healthy eating impacts our emotions and mental health. In December 2019, the team developed announcements with fun facts, informative posters, and a presentation for the school's weekly assembly. Their message focused on how different foods make us feel after we eat them and that food affects more than just our physical health. For school-wide involvement, the team also made fun trivia questions and held a poster contest. The winning posters were displayed around the school to keep spreading awareness.

    The team will continue to meet regularly throughout the school year to work on their other two projects. The next project will be about healthy eating and the environment, followed by a project on healthy eating and physical activity.

    Keep up the great work Orchard Park!

  • January 2020

    Twenty Valley Public School Community Safety Zone

    St. Kevin Catholic Elementary School
    182 Aqueduct St., Welland

    The School Recess Project Team at St. Kevin Catholic Elementary School has been hard at work! The team consists of school staff, community members, parents and most importantly, students.

    The team has discussed changes to the school playground to allow for inclusion of every student. These changes are thanks to the generosity of a parent's time and donation.

    The student leaders have been busy planning activities that they will lead outside at recess. The student champions have trained the grade 6 students to lead these activities. Students are also busy creating an activity schedule and mapping out where each activity will take place on the playground. Careful consideration is being given to the activities to meet the preferences of all students.

    The team will keep meeting throughout the year to promote family and community in the school. Their goal is to encourage feelings of belonging and inclusion for everyone.

    Great work St. Kevin!

  • December 2019

    Twenty Valley Public School Community Safety Zone

    Thorold Secondary School
    50 Ormond St. N., Thorold

    The Thorold Secondary School Wellness Committee is up and running, and it promises to be another busy year. There's been lots of great discussion and planning by the committee which is made up of students, school staff and community members. With two returning students and a few new faces on both the student and staff side, enthusiasm is high.

    A survey revealed that the majority of students believe mental health is a top priority in the school. Mindfulness and meditation workshops ran in October, led by one of Thorold's own teachers. In November, inspirational speaker Joe Pillitteri reminded students of the importance of humour in our lives.

    Continuing throughout the year are meetings and other activities to promote school and community services. Plans for next year include a therapy dog day and a smoothie lunch which was a hit last year! Students will also take part in workshops to learn how to be effective leaders.

    Go Thorold Secondary School!

  • November 2019

    Twenty Valley Public School Community Safety Zone

    Twenty Valley Public School
    4057 Victoria Ave., Vineland

    Twenty Valley Public School is located on Victoria Ave. in Lincoln where traffic, speeding and transport trucks posed a problem for the students and families' feeling of safety on their commute to school. The school community's dedication to making the trip to school safe and engagement in Active School Travel is demonstrated by significant participation and collaboration by staff, healthy school team representatives, students, parents and community partners.

    As a result of Twenty Valley's participation in Active School Travel, the location in front of the school was identified for Niagara Region's Community Safety Zone pilot. Community Safety Zones are intended to modify driver behaviour including reducing speed and distracted driving, and improving safety on certain sections of the road where public safety is of special concern. Students are encouraged to take their green route to school and while doing so can now feel safer and are able to participate in a healthier lifestyle with the enforcement of the Community Safety Zones.

    A more active lifestyle can have a positive effect on both physical and mental health. To celebrate the school's accomplishment and the Community Safety Zone, community members, students and families participated in October's International Walk fo School month. This is a month where families were encouraged to walk, ride or bus to school.

    Great job leading the way for safe and active travel Twenty Valley!

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