605 Varney Rd
605 Varney Rd
Deer Park was lucky to be involved in an experiential learning project this year thanks to Mrs. Etherington who applied and received a Ministry Grant. Students worked with experts from the South Lake Simcoe Horticultural Society and local farms to create hands-on activities to learn about growing food. We had great volunteers support the project! Mrs. Etherington and our Eco Team worked with the South Lake Simcoe Horticultural Society and local farms to create hands-on activities to learn about growing food. A pre and post survey was done to see what kids knew about growing food and careers in agriculture. Then staff and students discussed healthy vegetables as part of a healthy diet. Discussions about how our body needs vitamins to help us grow and develop were also made via the health curriculum K-8. Our hands-on learning involved learning about the process of growing food with hydroponics and with soil to compare how the plants will grow in different situations. Each child also planted lettuce seeds and took them home to grow at their house to encourage home gardening in our community.
Twelve gr 6-8 students met with Susie from YR Public Health for training in the Healthy Eating Ambassador Program. They learned about healthy eating and obstacles students face to making wise choices. After brainstorming ways to encourage nutritious eating among students the group decided to use the game monopoly as a starting point for a game called Foodopoly. They used their knowledge to create a game and borrowed the nutrition wheel to educate others by peer to peer game options. By using the game and the nutrition wheel for whole class sessions they aimed to educate and entertain their peers.
Deer Park P.S. staff put a lot of effort into learning about well-being this year. We looked at all aspects of school life and how to improve the environment for our students. Principal Mrs. Robinson began a Wellness Wednesday event once a month after school for staff. Staff would gather and chat and enjoy healthy snacks (time to take care of our team to help rejuvenate us for our kids). A variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as different cultural foods, have added to this mental health and well-being meeting/gathering. The focus/reminder was to take care of our health in a very hectic environment so we can support the achievement of our students. If we could model healthy eating when we are busy we could support the same for students. We started a healthy snack bowl program as the result of one of these meeting chats! Deer Park’s Wellness Wednesdays are held after school once a month for all staff. They are a chance to gather and rejuvenate. Mrs. Robinson has supported this event with healthy fruits and vegetables as well as different cultural foods. Staff gather and enjoy nutritious snacks and chat. Building in time to be together as a team has helped create the best environment for our students to learn and grow. Making wise eating decisions helps us to model for students how to look after ourselves in today’s busy world.
All students at Deer Park P.S. eat lunch at school as we are a bused school in a rural area. This means that we are all at school during lunch. School Council members wanted to sell snacks at lunch once a week to students. It would be a fundraiser all year long. Over the first few weeks, they tried different products that aligned with PPM 150 but also were popular with students. They received lots of feedback from parents, staff and students including wanting more variety, less food dyes, and more flavours. Promotion is done via announcements and the School Newsletter.
They now run “Tuck Tuesdays” on Tuesdays at lunchtime. All products are PPM 150 approved cost $1 and include frozen yogurt and flavoured popcorn. Tuck Tuesday at Deer Park is a great fundraiser that last all year long. We serve healthy alternatives to sugary or salty lunch snacks. School Council has researched and found a number of PPM150 approved choices for lunch snacks that are tasty and include less salt or sugar. We have had a number of items over the year and many people have favourites that they choose weekly. Staff and students alike line up Tuesday at lunch for a frozen yogurt or flavoured popcorn snack for only $1. Many thanks to the Parent and Grandparent volunteers who run this School Council fundraiser with the behind the scenes support of Mrs. Robinson and Ms. Scaini.
Deer Park Kids wanted to send valentine/friendship treats to friends at school. School council offered to support this with healthy alternatives to candy or chocolate but also not too expensive. The affordable price of $1 made it accessible to almost everyone. School Council bought healthy treats that fit with PPM 150 expectations like frozen yogurt and popcorn as well as toys and donated new books. They enlisted help from gr 8’s to sell and distribute the Friendship Grams the week of Valentine’s Day. Promotions included posters, announcements, and the Deer Park P.S. Newsletter to reach both the students and parents. Order forms went home for surprise Friendship Grams from parents. It was very successful raising hundreds of dollars in a healthy way. Many thanks to School Council members for helping as well as grade 8 students who helped fill out forms and support students with their Friendship Grams. Parents could even send in their orders as a surprise! It was another great fundraiser for Deer Park P.S. and healthy too!
We (school council and school) listened to student’s voice about broadening our choices from beyond pizza to more hot lunch programs. Parent council and Mrs. Firth researched and included companies that comply with PPM 150 regulations. All lunches can be bought using online ordering or in cash to the school. Deer Park now offers a number of healthy hot lunch options. Students and staff can order online and receive hot healthy meals on different days of the week. Portion size, recyclable containers, and online ordering also add to this positive healthy eating experience. Different student helpers deliver the meals throughout the school. Not only does this give staff and families healthy lunch choices but it also fund raises for School Council and the Learning Commons. A win-win situation!
We discussed hydration in class and what types of drinks are really best for our bodies – natural like milk and water or with caffeine, sugar added colour.
Natural drink choices were more healthy we discovered. We noticed water was available for free at school in each hallway and near the gym. It was also easy to get at home from the tap. Deer Park even has a cool refill water station. Every day we can also purchase milk at lunch. We decided to promote drinking more water after gym classes and when we felt thirsty and to use refillable water bottles. Deer Park students and staff agreed to promote drinking more water instead of sugary drinks. We would aim to rehydrate often especially after gym class. It was great hearing students ask to get a drink of water before they felt thirsty. Using the refill water bottle station was a great way to help the environment and our bodies. Our refill station has 1000’s of uses!
With the support of Kat from the Town of Georgina and Amber from YR Public Health Deer Park participated in the Town of Georgina’s Great Gulp in March. We promoted the event on facebook, newsletters, posters and announcements. We learned about the importance of drinking water to stay hydrated over sugary drinks. PLAY leaders shared their knowledge of the environmental impact of caring for Lake Simcoe and making wise choices about protecting water. PLAY leaders helped distribute Healthy Kids refillable water bottles to everyone at Deer Park P.S. We learned about refilling instead of buying water bottles. We also learned to plan to drink enough water by choosing to use our infuser water bottles daily. (Adding fruit seems to be a popular choice!) PLAY leaders also created an education wall to keep the excitement going after the event with healthy tips, environmental connections, and pictures of the Great Gulp.
Deer Park has an indoor garden! It all started with some spinach seeds and an indoor plant set. Mrs. Etherington found some eager helpers after school who started tending to the plants and learned about what a garden needs to produce food. Mrs. Etherington and her Jericho crew along with Mrs. Lahonen ensured the plants were watered and the lights were turned off all the while watching the seeds become plants that produced food! Observations were made and ideas about who will get to try the home grown food were tossed about. Could some be made into spinach omelets for Breakfast Program? Would they have a salad? The possibilities were endless.
Deer Park P.S. participated in the Great Big Crunch to encourage healthy fruit and or vegetable snacks instead of sugary pick me up snacks when hungry mid afternoon. The Grade 2 class made posters, said announcements over the PA and encouraged families to join us in the gym before March Break started on March 10, 2017. We handed out apples, had high energy music playing and explained why making healthy nutritious choices helps our bodies! The countdown sent a current of excitement through the gym before we all CRUNCHED! We even took the apple cores to be composted to help the environment! Big thanks to Mrs. Marchand’s gr 2 class for organizing, Mrs. Miller for ordering and washing apples, everyone who participated and joined in the healthy movement to choose crunchy fruits or vegetables to beat hunger.
We used easy recipes – full of fruits and vegetables that we often have at home as well as easy for new cooks to make. The recipes also included combinations that might not be obvious. You’re the Chef program from public health had many of the recipes. Age was 12-13 year olds who need to learn cooking skills and love to eat. Kids loved sharing what they made at home with their own families. Many tried foods they thought they didn’t like but actually enjoyed. Staff support from Deer Park P.S. and School Council helped this happen.
We signed up to get recognition and tell our school’s wonderful story of making healthy choices.
Thanks for the support from YR Public Health we are confident we can succeed in the program and earn many badges.