It's Teacher Appreciation Week! As we head into summer vacation, the next month is a huge opportunity to be a school health hero.
Below are 4 resources to help you dialogue with your local school and get ready for your healthiest summer yet!
Talk about the Weather
Why do so many conversations start with “how’s the weather?” Weather is a frenemy (friend + enemy) that we all share. If your afterschool program is challenged by extreme heat or poor air quality, your school experiences the same thing. Why not be prepared to promote physical activity and recess when inclement weather shows up? Page 9 of Recess Planning in Schools can help you work together to develop a plan.
Go even further by coordinating with school and social service partners to help parents understand the importance of physical activity and the strategies you use. Page 21 of the guide can help you empower caregivers to advocate for physical activity at events such as school board meetings too!
Make a Splash Together
Speaking of hot weather, school-afterschool collaboration can start simple with healthy hydration. Try the Increasing Access to Drinking Water in Schools Tool Kit as a guide to explore water fountains and dispensers, fountain-to-student ratio and other important water access issues. Why not partner with your school for a student-led water walk at your site and school?! Invite students to share what they discover with administrators and maintenance staff.
Help Caregivers Find Their Voice
Parent engagement is a common challenge for schools and afterschool. Identify opportunities to mobilize caregivers with the Parents for Healthy Schools Guide (page 7-10). By linking efforts, you can tell the story of how your program addresses critical issues like food insecurity and nutrition. Imagine telling that story in your next funding proposal!
Plan For Summer Transitions and Training
As you plan summer volunteer orientations and summer camps, reach out to school staff, like nurses and counselors, who might also be on campus during the summer months. Consider using the Food Allergies in Schools toolkit to help keep children with food allergies safe.
Educators are familiar with the “summer slide." There’s also research showing that children lose physical fitness over summer vacation. Summer programs are an opportunity to support health and learning. Whether you use a slide deck or a podcast, educate all staff on the linkage between health and academics so they understand the essential role they play in student success. Work together to post and share simple tips and resources to ensure healthy practices are modeled during the school year and into the summer.