Do you want to raise awareness of healthy lifestyles for your students at school and home? Do you know that healthy lifestyles and healthy choices often lead to increased student success? Do you want to be guided by the National PTA standards and help make all families feel welcome while communicating effectively, supporting student success, and collaborating with the community? San Pablo Elementary found success in meeting all of these objectives by incorporating the National School of Excellence program. You too can achieve such success!
San Pablo Elementary School is northeast Florida’s only Health & Fitness Magnet School and already had several health and safety programs in place. As a PTA, we wanted to increase our participation moving forward. As the planning phase began, our team brainstormed programs that would focus on healthy choices including healthy eating, exercise, and healthy lifestyles at home. The three major programs selected as areas of focus were a garden program, a free district wide track meet, and a family fitness night.
- Garden Program and Taste of the Rainbow – San Pablo was able to start a vegetable garden through a grant from Lowe’s Toolbox for Education program. Students plant and harvest vegetables and herbs from grade level garden beds while learning about healthy food, nutrition, and how their food is grown. This year we added the “Taste of the Rainbow”, a lunchtime garden tasting program incorporating fun learning games and quizzes to ramp up the learning experience.
- San Pablo All Elementary Open Track Meet – San Pablo invited all elementary students in our school district to participate in a free, professionally timed (funded by a grant from a local running club) track meet. We also invited local health vendors and business partners to hold a health fair during the track meet to help entertain and educate the athletes during their down time.
- Family Fitness Night – San Pablo collaborated with the local fitness community to put on an interactive, fun, and educational family fitness night. We had local vendors from Karate and Zumba studios along with PTA volunteers who offered the families twenty-minute interactive demonstration/ classes. The evening wrapped up with families learning how to make a healthy snack together and sharing it as part of the night.
The programs shown above are just a sampling of the work accomplished by the San Pablo PTA enhancing the overall health of our children. Additionally, the PTA also organized a walkathon and 5K, ran an early morning fitness class free of charge for all children, and helped to support our annual hearing and vision screening. These activities were all inexpensive to implement, most were free to our families, and were guided by the National PTA standards with a laser focus on welcoming all families, communicating effectively, supporting student success, and collaborating with the community.
With some volunteer elbow grease and good ideas, you can help guide your children down a healthier path as well. Take the first step; the benefits your school and community will reap are worth the effort!
Melissa Daniel is a proud PTA mom of 3 girls – a fourth grader and 2nd grade twins. She is the immediate past president of the San Pablo Elementary PTA in Jacksonville, FL. San Pablo Elementary is a 2014 School of Excellence recipient. Currently, Melissa serves as the treasurer for her elementary school and as the Legislative Chair of the Duval County Council of PTAs.