The CDC Wants You To Make Your School a Healthier Place
What happens when we weave together physical, social, and emotional Wellbeing as core indicators of school success?
Research at the Harvard Education School shows that centering school community wellness improves relationships between students and teachers, resulting in positive changes in student behavior, increased teacher retention, and decreased teacher burnout.
The ever-coveted and important outcome of higher test scores become the icing on the cake as opposed to the cake itself when we focus on the foundational “ingredients” for human thriving…
It all bakes up to this: The health of a school’s culture is foundational to its success.
In 2018, the Center for Disease Control outlined the Healthy Schools Initiative, a model to respond to the public health crisis of social isolation in education called “Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child.”
Three of the ten recommendations for improving psychosocial wellbeing and physical school environments include social and emotional climate, employee wellness, and nutrition environment and services.
Here are THREE fun and simple projects you can launch s to improve your school:
- Start a garden –
- Build interdisciplinary units around gardening and food
- Form a club where students can take care of the garden
- Host family and community gardening events
- Track how much food from the garden can be used in the cafeteria and donate abundance to local shelters.
- Make Space for Mindfulness –
- Host 2 minute teacher meditations in the staff lounge
- post reminders to breathe over the copy machine
- give students in disciplinary meetings balloons to blow up and let the air out to help them label and release negative emotions
- take a community breath before classes and meetings.
- Take Care of Your Teachers –
- Initiate community care resources like spending time with colleagues to prevent isolation
- Create pathways to accessible mental health supports
- Organize peer mentorship circles
- Make celebrating your teachers a weekly or daily occurrence with appreciations and shoutouts.
The value of relationships is one many schools hold highly, and it’s easy to forget in the midst of paperwork, protocols, and policies.
Like any human body, healthy schools are integrative, interdependent, and honor the importance of each part.
When we as a nation can invest in whole school and student wellness, we can begin to mobilize an army of healthy educators, and HEAL OUR SCHOOLS for the next generation.