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Growing Healthy Schools Month

Growing Healthy Schools Month celebrates the DC Healthy Schools Act in public schools throughout the District. During the annual celebration, public school staff collaborate with local community based organizations, DC government agencies, farmers, athletes, and chefs to coordinate inspiring activities aimed at engaging students in conversations about nutrition, the environment, recycling, and being active. Mark Growing Healthy Schools Month on your calendar every October and get involved.

About Growing Healthy Schools Month

Growing Healthy Schools Month has evolved over the past five years to encompass all of the components of the Healthy Schools Act.  This annual celebration grew out of Growing Healthy Schools Week (2012-2014), which itself was the fusion of DC School Garden Week (2007-2011) and DC Farm to School Week (2009-2011).  Undoubtedly, past celebrations were extremely successful in stimulating increased citywide support for and involvement in farm to school and school garden programming. The growth of the celebration over the past eight years is a testament to the importance of a district-wide celebration around Healthy Schools.

Registration:

The registration deadline was September 25, 2015 and is now closed.

Activities
All Activities take place in DC public schools. 

Participating Schools

Host a Chef

Growing Healthy Schools Month is the perfect time to engage students and the school community with healthy cooking and seasonal recipes.  There are many community based organizations that offer healthy cooking demos and teachers can also act as chefs for the day and prepare a healthy snack with their students. Click here for recommended activities and projects.

Connect with a Farmer

Growing Healthy Schools Month is the perfect time to engage students and the school community with folks who are growing food all around the nation’s capital.  While many students may have already experienced a farm field trip, we hope this month inspires you to plan something special that will take your farm-to-school program to the next level.  Below are some recommendations to help you get started. Click here for recommended activities and projects.

Eat Local Produce

Growing Healthy Schools Month is the perfect time to engage students around their local food system, and what better way to dig in by tasting a delicious fruit or veggie that was grown locally.  While encouraging students to try new foods from their school meals is a great activity to do all year, we hope this month inspires you to pay special attention to the foods indicated as “local” on the breakfast and lunch menus.  Click here for recommended activities and projects.

Get Out and Garden

Growing Healthy Schools Month is the perfect time to engage students and the school community with the school garden.  While instruction and regular maintenance happen throughout the year in school gardens, we hope this month inspires you to plan something special that will take your school garden to the next level.  Below are some recommendations on seasonally- appropriate activities and projects.
Click here for recommended activities and projects.

Host a Nutrition Event

Schools play an important role in childhood obesity prevention efforts, because children spend so much of their day at school.  Because of changes in both federal and location legislation, school meals now include more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy, and limit saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium. Nutrition education promotion can help support these efforts by increasing awareness and acceptance of the healthier options available at school. They can also help lay the groundwork for healthy habits children will use for life.  Click here for recommended activities and projects.

Read a Book from the Healthy Schools Act Booklist

Growing Healthy Schools Month is the perfect time to engage students and the school community with books from the Healthy Schools Act Booklist.  There is a natural link between food and nutrition, physical activity, the environment, and reading.  Children are particularly interested in stories that describe or depict things that are connected to their own everyday lives such as food, eating, gardening, grocery shopping, cooking, being active with friends, recycling, and composting.  Reading books that focus on preparing and eating healthy foods, buying local produce, setting up a backyard or school garden, or being physically active can motivate children to adopt positive food and physical activity behaviors and reduce their carbon footprint for a lifetime, helping to pave the way for student success in the classroom and in the world! Click here for recommended activities and projects. The first 30 to register for this activity will receive a FREE book and a copy of the HSA Booklist for their school library.

Go on an Environmental Field Trip

Growing Healthy Schools Month is the perfect time to engage students and the school community with their local environment.  While outdoor field studies can happen throughout the year, we hope this month inspires you to plan something special that will connect your students to the world around them. Click here for recommended activities and projects.

Host a Family Engagement Event

Growing Healthy Schools Month is the perfect time to engage students, families, and the school community with health and wellness activities.  Family and community involvement are key to enhancing the health and well-being of students.  We hope this month inspires you to plan something special that all families will be able to enjoy.  Click here for recommended activities and projects.

Healthy Fundraising Campaign

Growing Healthy Schools Month is the perfect time to engage students and the school community with healthy fundraising campaigns.  Fundraisers that do not involve selling foods or beverages send positive, consistent messages to the school community and promote healthy living.  Additionally, active fundraisers provide students, staff, and families with opportunities for fun while increasing physical activity before, during, or after the school day allowing students get the recommended 60 minutes per day of physical activity.  Click here for recommended activities and projects.

Get Active!

Growing Healthy Schools Month is the perfect time to get active. Physical activity is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Regular physical activity builds strong bones and muscles, decreases the risk of obesity, and promotes positive mental health. It is recommended that children receive at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day. Below are some recommendations on how to increase physical activity at school. Click here for recommended activities and projects.

Teach a Standards-Based Lesson around Health or the Environment  

Growing Healthy Schools Month is the perfect time to engage students in lessons that connect to health and the environment.  While instruction in these topics can happen throughout the year, we hope this month inspires you to plan something special that will take your lessons to the next level. Click here for recommended activities and projects.

Contests

Best School Garden Award

DC is home to over 100 school gardens but which are the best? Tell us in a short essay (1,000 characters or less) why your school garden is the best school garden in DC. You may also submit up to five photos of your school gardens. Apply here!

Healthy Schools Act Art and Essay Contest

Tell us in a short essay (250 words or less), poem, drawing, painting, original photograph, or video how your school is promoting health and wellness. For example, what does your school do to:  get all students moving during morning announcements; help students eat healthy meals; use the school garden; encourage biking to school; promote a sports club; teach healthy habits; or partner with a community-based organization to promote health? Complete the next page of this application and include it with your submission. Apply here!

Brain Break Competition

A brain break is a mental pause from regular classroom learning, designed to, help students stay focused, stimulate the brain, incorporate physical movement, transition between activities. Create your own Brain Break! Take a video of the class demonstrating the activity, and enter it into the Growing Healthy Schools Month Brain Break competition! The activity can range from 30 seconds to 4 minute in length. Activities with educational concepts are encouraged!  Apply here!

Recycle Right Competition

Compete in DGS’ Recycle Right! Competition inspired by the Green Schools Alliance Green Cup Challenge. Students will use math skills in a real-world application to conduct 3 weekly classroom bin surveys in October and submit the results to win. Use the results to make action plans to improve your school’s classroom recycling program. Learn more and sign up here!

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