Growing Healthy Schools Month celebrates the health of students in public schools throughout the District. During the annual celebration, public schools collaborate with local community-based organizations, District government agencies, farmers, athletes, and chefs to coordinate inspiring activities aimed at engaging students with topics concerning nutrition, the environment, and being active.
To celebrate Growing Healthy Schools Month 2020, OSSE is celebrating and promoting a different theme of the Healthy Schools Act each week in October. Below you will find activities and resources related to each weekly theme. We encourage you to Share how you’re celebrating Growing Healthy Schools Month on social media with the hashtags #HealthySchoolsDC.
Week 1: Oct. 1-9
Farm to School
Farm to School connects schools and local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in schools; improving student nutrition; providing agriculture, health, and nutrition education opportunities; and supporting local and regional farmers. Extend these goals beyond the school cafeteria, classroom, and garden by bringing farm to school home!
October is also National Farm to School Month, a time to celebrate the connections happening all over the country between children and local food. Everyone can celebrate National Farm to School Month! The National Farm to School Network has developed resources and activities to promote Farm to School Month in schools, early care and education settings, communities and media outlets. Please visit the National Farm to School Month website to access these great resources.
Farm to School Activities
- Shop for locally grown foods.
- Purchasing foods grown in DC or a nearby state at the grocery store or farmers market not only increases your access to delicious healthy foods, it also supports the financial viability of our regional farmers, producers, and processors. It’s a win-win!
- Explore your family food system.
- Learn more about the food your family eats and hone your geography skills through by tracing the sources of the food you eat.
- Grow a garden … in real life or virtually.
- Plant a garden, a seed, or even imaginary plants to have a hands-on learning opportunity. Or learn from local experts by taking a garden field trip.
Morning announcement to promote Farm to School
October is Farm to School Month! While it may look a little different this year, there are still MANY ways to celebrate. What will you and your family do this month to eat and learn about local food?
Additional Farm to School resources
Learn more about farm to school by exploring these resources from our partners!
- Washington Youth Garden
- FoodPrints Anywhere
- FoodPrints virtual resources for GHSM
- Slow Food Live
- YMCA DC Food Virtual Kitchen
- FoodCorps remote learning lessons
- City Blossoms
Week 2: Oct. 12-16
OSSE's School Gardens Program works to ensure that all students in the District are engaged in quality school garden programs which are highly valued by teachers and fundamental to student learning in district schools. The OSSE School Gardens Program serves as the backbone to support the more than 100 school garden programs through funding, partnerships, and strategic support. During Growing Healthy Schools Month, OSSE encourages students and families to celebrate School Gardens by utilizing the resources and activities listed below.
School Garden Activities and Resources
- Out Teach Instructional Resources
- Out Teach provides teachers and parents with free, standards-aligned lesson plans across all subjects and elementary grades that integrate with the major learning management systems and support active, hands-on learning using any outdoor environment. Out Teach also offers learning-from-home activity guides in English and Spanish that include instructions for parents/caregivers to support facilitation.
- Activity Highlight: Activities are only accessible by selecting the link above.
- City Blossoms Free Resources
- City Blossoms is providing free resources to support nature-based activities and healthy living skills. Resources include lessons, booklets, and garden guides.
- Activity Highlight: Garden Movement
- Visit their YouTube page for virtual garden field trips you can enjoy from home.
- FoodPrints Anywhere
- Learning and activities that help build nutrition knowledge, extend science and math education, and help families cook and eat FoodPrints recipes together at home.
- Activity Highlight: Grow Seeds at Home
- Edible Education for the Home Classroom
- Lessons from the Edible Schoolyard for students to complete at home.
- Activity Highlight: Discovering Flowers
Oct. 12-16 is also National School Lunch Week!
President John F. Kennedy created National School Lunch Week in 1962 to promote the importance of a healthy school lunch in a child’s life and the impact it has inside and outside of the classroom. During this annual weeklong celebration, students around the country celebrate in their cafeterias, schools and districts with special menus, events, student activities and more. The COVID-19 pandemic has without a doubt shown just how incredibly important school meals are for students and their families.
During this annual weeklong celebration, SNA members and students around the country will find new ways to safely celebrate in their schools and districts with special menus, events, student activities and more.
The 2020 NSLW theme Now Playing: School Lunch! Will put a spotlight on hit menu items that kids love while capitalizing on the popularity of movies to appeal to students in all grade levels. Visit the School Nutrition Association website for resources, activities, and ideas for how to celebrate National School Lunch Week.
Week 3: Oct. 19-23
Environmental literacy is the development of knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to make informed decisions concerning the relationships among natural and urban systems. Many community partners have developed content to support environmental literacy at home. Through these lessons and activities, students can still explore the world around them and discover their connection to the natural world. Visit OSSE’s website to access environmental literacy distance learning resources.
Environmental Literacy Activities
- Get ready for Environmental Literacy week by participating in the Anacostia River BioBlitz! From Oct. 16-18, go outside and take photos of plants or animals you see, and upload into the iNaturalist app. Since scientists can’t be everywhere at once, they are relying on you to help them conduct an inventory of what other living things are right here, right now. Visit Anacostia Watershed Society website for more information.
- Make your own hand soap! Frequent hand washing is a healthy practice, and you can make a non-toxic, earth-friendly version at home that reduces plastic and can save money in the long run! Just grate 1 tablespoon of castile soap into a glass jar, carefully add ¾ cup of boiling water (ask an adult for help!), and stir to dissolve soap flakes. Let cool before adding optional essential oils, then pour into a reusable soap dispenser.
- Want to get some exercise and help the environment at the same time? Try plogging – a fitness trend where you pick up litter while you’re out for a run! Vist the Potomac Conservancy website for more information.
- City Blossoms Cooking with Kids
- City Blossoms Early Growers from Home video series
Morning announcement to promote Environmental Literacy
- Did you know that DC’s state tree, the scarlet oak, is one of the five trees in our city with the “showiest” fall color? The other trees are ginkgo, red maple, sweetgum, and black gum. See if you can find one of these trees in your neighborhood!
- What is your favorite thing about fall? Pick one of the choices in the poll below:
- Walking through leaves
- Cooler weather
Week 4: Oct. 26-30
Health and Physical Education are important components of a healthy learning environment, and healthy bodies and minds are the foundation of academic success. OSSE encourages students and families to continue celebrating the positive impact of physical activity while remote learning. Below are resources and ideas for how to promote physical activity while learning from home.
Physical Activity Resources
- Brain Boost
- Brain boosters are activities that get students moving during the school day, and can be anywhere from 30 seconds to three minutes in length. Create your own brain boost activity to do at home throughout the school day. Silliness and creativity are encouraged! Examples include hula-hooping, dancing, jumping jacks, and more.
- Washington Tennis & Education Foundation
- The Washington Tennis & Education Foundation has a number of physical activity videos you can get inspiration from at home.
- Fitbound Facebook page
- Fitbound is an exercise platform which provides an outlet for all individuals with and without disabilities to exercise throughout the day. Visit their Facebook page to access their physical activity and meditation resources for students and families.
You can access prior Growing Healthy School’s Month resources and activities on OSSE's website.