Healthy Schools - Glen Cedar PS
Healthy Schools teacher champion at Glen Cedar P.S. in Newmarket, ON.
Healthy Schools teacher champion at Glen Cedar P.S. in Newmarket, ON.
Working with Public Health, we will be running the Junior Chef Ambassador program May 16 and 18th. With our Healthy Schools Committee, we have been working to plan for the program for the past month. The Junior Chef Ambassador program is a great extension to You’re the Chef. Our Grade 8 students (Mr. Sharko’s class) will be trained by public health on how to prepare a simple recipe with younger students. This training is scheduled for May 16th. The students will be making pizza-dillas, granola and easy parfaits with yogurt and fresh fruit. Peer-led workshops will take place in three different classrooms on Wednesday May 18th from 9:45-10:10. The classrooms are Donna Ireland’s class, Cindy Pezzaniti’s class and Jay Gilbert’s class. Each class will be assigned 8 Junior Chef Ambassadors. These trained ambassadors will review food safety, demonstrate how to use a knife safely and how to measure ingredients properly. The ambassadors will then lead the groups will make pizzadillas and Parfaits and will eat together. This is a great way for our school to promote nutrition as a topic and to promote food skills with our grade 8s! The school is very excited for this!
In April 2017 Glen Cedar Public School ran the You’re the Chef program with 12 of our students. Before we started the program we reviewed our kitchen equipment and purchased new equipment that we needed. We also made sure our equipment was stored safely. We had two of our teachers, Donna Ireland and Cindy Pezzaniti lead the program. We also had some staff helpers too. The program was implemented in our staff room that has multiple fridges, a sink and a stove. Both Donna and Cindy attended the You’re the Chef training offered by York Region Public Health. We prepared a variety of healthy recipes from the You’re the Chef recipe collection. The students had a lot of fun cooking together and of course eating together! It was a great opportunity to boost students’ confidence and cooking skills and to promote nutrition at our school.
Working with our great You’re the Chef students we submitted for the You’re the Chef Cook-Off organized by York Region Public Health! This cook off was open to all elementary schools in the area. The selected teams will compete in the Cook-Off on June 7th, with the winning team receiving a cooking lesson from a local chef and new cooking equipment. We came up with a recipe that used Ontario ingredients, represented York Region’s diverse cultures and was healthy – our 30 minute curry! The dish uses plenty of vegetables (peas, peppers and carrots just to name a few), great flavours like ginger and curry served with whole grains. We tested our recipe with our You’re the Chef students and they loved it. It is a very bright dish! We have our fingers crossed that we will be able to prepare the recipe at the Cook-Off.
To promote vegetable and fruit as a healthy snack, Glen Cedar Public School participated in the Great Big Crunch. The Great Big Crunch is an initiative started by FoodShare where each year at 2:30 PM on “crunch” day everyone gets together and bites into crunchy fresh local produce in unison. For the event, we sourced Ontario apples from a local distributor.
To promote the event and make it more comprehensive, we shared FoodShare’s Great Big Crunch activities with all staff. The classroom activities helped to get students excited about crunching and learning about local food. We also promoted the event over the PA system and through the parent e-newsletter. It was a great day to celebrate our work with nutrition with the entire school!
At Glen Cedar Public School, students are encouraged to bring a reusable water bottle to school and refill it whenever they are thirsty. As part of our commitment to be eco-friendly, we have a water bottle refill station on the bottom level of the school. All students are encouraged to refill their water bottles at the station.
In order to promote tap water, being eco-friendly and water as a healthy beverage choice we participated in the Great Big Gulp! At 2:30 PM on the day of the Gulp, all students and staff “cheered” their reusable water bottles and enjoyed a synchronized drink of tap water. To promote the event, we used the BrightBites resources – newsletter inserts and SipSmart™ resources to promote water as a healthy drink. We also promoted the Water does Wonders pledge to families through our parent newsletter.
During the two weeks of January 24th to February 2nd, all homeroom classrooms participated in decorating their classroom door. The doors were decorated to promote healthy eating. This coincided with our morning PA announcements and e-blasts. We invited our Public Health Nurse and Dietitian to join our and Healthy Eating Ambassadors (students) in judging each of the doors. The doors were so well done and creative! The winning doors promoted healthy eating throughout the week and eating foods from each of the four food groups. It was a great way to engage even our youngest students. The winning top three classrooms were announced over the PA and awarded prizes.
We worked with York Region Public Health to recruit students for our Healthy Schools Student Club. These students attended a workshop facilitated by our Public Health Nurse and dietitian. This training, called the Healthy Eating Ambassador training happened in November 2016. Twelve students attended the training that will support them to be ambassadors in our school throughout the school year. At the workshop, students learned the basics about nutrition – Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide, packing healthy lunches and how to talk about healthy eating in a positive way with their peers. At the training, the students brainstormed activities they could do to promote nutrition at the school. We have already implemented some of these initiatives at the school (i.e. PA announcements, door decorating contest). The training was a huge success.
Glen Cedar Public School is committed to promoting cooking and food skills within our school community. On December 1st, 2016, a parent cooking and nutrition night was held with the theme “What’s for dinner?”. Together with the Healthy Schools team, our Public Health Nurse Anne’ and Dietitian Rachel we welcomed parents to make and sample healthy recipes that can be created at home with their families. Most of these recipes came from the You’re the Chef program, that will be happening later this school year. Our school dietitian Rachel also presented on packing healthy lunches. We had a lot of great discussion and shared lots of ideas for packing lunches. We also sought out community members and provided our parents with swag bags from local companies (i.e. fresh herbs) and draw prizes. It was an enjoyable evening for all.
At the beginning of the school year, we had our staff complete a needs assessment related to school nutrition. From the assessments, it looked like we needed to focus on food in the classroom. On January 12th 2017 the staff from Glen Cedar, participated in a healthy school food culture teacher workshop provided by Rachel, Dietitian with the York Public Health Department. We focused on food in the classroom and how healthy foods (i.e. vegetables and fruit) can be used as part of the curriculum in the class. There were 20 staff members in attendance, who gained new insight into healthy choices and lifestyles that can be enhanced throughout the school day and in their personal lives as well. Based on this workshop, the school has continued the discussions about food in the classroom.
To start the New Year off right, our Healthy Schools Ambassadors (students) promoted nutrition through healthy eating communications in the school. Students picked out and shared morning PA announcements with a food group joke of the day and tip for healthy eating. E-blasts were sent out weekly to our parents with a recipe and a tip for healthy eating. Our Healthy Schools Ambassadors interacted with their peers by going into classrooms with an interactive play wheel and taught them about healthy eating and lifestyles. This wheel was part of the Healthy Eating Ambassador training provided by York Region Public Health. This also helped to promote the My Healthy Lunch Challenge, which we participated in the same month.
The students and educators at Glen Cedar Public School have been working on eating healthy at school. In order to set up an effective training for our club members school staff contacted the experts! We were delighted to work with our Public Health Nurse Anne Harkonen and our Nutritionist, Rachel Morgan on setting up a Healthy Schools Club. They trained twelve of our students from grades 4-8 to be Healthy Eating Ambassadors. The students really enjoyed the training and one student remarked, ” I learned a lot. Now, I have a new responsibility – to train other people how to eat healthy.” Another said, ” I wish I could tell kids to throw away their junk but I just have to be positive and comment on their healthy foods”. Obviously, the training was very effective. The students are becoming leaders in the school. They are proud of the announcements that they are making over the PA. One student was very nervous for days and was very proud of herself after making a very effective Healthy Eating announcement. We thank our Public Health heroes, Anne Harkonen and Rachel Morgan for helping us become more aware of healthy eating and actually making it happen at Glen Cedar P. S.
As a healthy school committee we work well as a team to promote healthy eating and are working on multiple initiatives as part of a comprehensive approach.