Chesterfield County Public Schools recognizes the connection of students’ health and wellbeing on the ability to achieve personal, academic, and developmental success. Here in Chesterfield, we believe in supporting the whole child, where students’ intellectual, physical, social, emotional, and mental wellbeing is nourished. We, as a school division and a community, have an important responsibility to create learning environments that promote healthy, active choices and behaviors.
Good nutrition, particularly eating a healthy breakfast, is linked to positive student outcomes. Additionally, emerging research has supported the connection between being physically active to improved indicators of academic achievement including increased engagement and improved behavior. But equally as important, we are equipping students with lifelong healthy habits for their current and future success. Kids are made to move! So let’s get them moving!
Student Wellness Policy
Our CCPS Wellness Policy is focused around nutrition and physical activity in our schools to provide guidance to our schools and families on the important practices and environment we expect for our students in our division. In addition to CCPS’ vision for the health and wellbeing of our students, the policy is also guided by the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010.
The Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 is the federal regulations that support the requirements and implementation of school meal and other federal food and nutrition programs in the United States. In addition, it outlines the requirements for a division wellness policy. All school divisions should be in compliance with the regulations beginning on June 30, 2017. For more information go to, https://fns-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/tn/LWPsummary_finalrule.pdf
School Wellness Councils
All schools in Chesterfield County are creating school-based leadership groups around wellness called School Wellness Councils (SWC). Councils will be charged with assessing their own environment and supporting wellness-based activities and initiatives that will enhance and engage their students, staff, and community. If you are interested in getting involved, the principal can connect you with the wellness champion at the school of interest.
At the division level, the School Health Advisory Board (SHAB) along with the Student Wellness Specialist and other leaders provide coordination and oversight of the wellness policy and other wellness priorities across the division.
Birthdays, holidays, appreciation, good behavior and more! It is important to celebrate our students and staff and let them know we care. However, sweet rewards do not have to contain sugar! There are tons of other ways to celebrate important milestones in school. Moderation is key! It’s not about taking away all the sweet stuff, but finding balance and encouraging others to choose healthy foods and non-food treats most of the time. Here are some resources to check out for lots of sweet ideas!
Fundraisers are an important tool to secure funding for the great programs, initiatives, and equipment our schools need to grow and thrive. However, fundraisers can also be a source of promoting and supporting unhealthy options and choices. Focusing on activity-based, non-food and healthier food fundraisers is important for the overall message and culture we are creating in Chesterfield.
Did you know that there are federal regulations that prohibit the selling, marketing, and promotion of foods DURING the school day that do not meet Smart Snacks in Schools standards? This is an important part of our fundraising efforts that happen during as well as outside of our school day. Refer to the wellness policy for more details on sale of food during and after school hours.
Many schools provide snack time during the school day for classes that eat lunch early or late during the day. Snacks are an important way to provide energy for the brain and body to keep kids thinking and learning all day long. CCPS encourages students to bring healthy snack options to school to ensure kids have the important nutrients they need to think, play, and grow.
The ideal snack includes lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fat. Also, snacks in class may be sitting without refrigeration for several hours and teachers often encourage snacks that don’t make too much of a mess! We also prohibit snacks containing nuts in the classroom to protect our friends with life threatening allergies. Please follow your school’s requirements for snacks as they may have additional practices.
Packing Healthy Lunches
Chesterfield County Public Schools offers innovative, nutritious and cost efficient breakfast and lunch programs, which strives to encourage a lifetime of good nutrition. For more information related to Food Services, go to http://mychesterfieldschools.com/food-and-nutrition-services/.
However, for those families that choose to pack lunches for their students, we encourage nutritious choices to fuel students for a day of learning and fun. Packing a healthy lunch is about balance, variety, and choice. We encourage you to use the USDA’s MyPlate (https://www.choosemyplate.gov/) as a guide for creating a balanced lunchbox.
Movement in the Classroom
Kids should strive to be physical active at least 60 minutes each day. This includes movement during and outside of school. Many of our Chesterfield schools offer before and after school activity-based programming to encourage our kids to be physically active. The classroom is also a great place to incorporate movement into our students day. Not only does it allow them to get up and move, but exercise also fuels the brain. Emerging research on physical activity in the classroom is showing benefits in engagement, behavior, and student success.
Physical activity can be incorporated into the classroom in many ways. Here are a few ways we encourage our CCPS teachers to integrate into their classroom on a regular basis.
Brain Boosters, also commonly known as brain breaks or brain energizers, are effective breaks in learning that last only a few minutes to help refocus the learner. These breaks help active, energize, and stimulate the student’s brains. Active brain boosters get students up and moving during a lesson or transitions within the classroom environment.
Check out more resources on brain boosters
Active Lessons & Kinesthetic Learning
Kids are made to move! Additionally, the kid (and adult) brain is not made to maintain attention all day long and continue to be active and engaged. The classroom holds an enormous opportunity to engage students in learning through movement and kinesthetic learning. Kinesthetic learning incorporates movement and action into the learning process and replaces more sedentary and passive learning experiences like lecture or demonstration. Chesterfield County Public Schools encourages our schools to incorporate movement throughout the day, including during the learning process.
Want to learn more about physical activity and its impact on the brain and student? Here are some resources to get you started
Recess is one of the few times of the school day that provides less structure and more opportunities to play. Research shows that play is an important part of child development and even contributes to the learning process in the classroom. Along with the physical benefits of recess, there are social, emotional, and cognitive development and impact as well.
Providing students recess in our elementary schools is part of our CCPS Wellness Policy (hyperlink to policy). All schools should be providing at least 30 minutes of recess, which includes transition time, most days of the week. While recess provides students will personal choice, we encourage students to be active during recess time. We also encourage teachers to incorporate movement and activity, as practicable, during recess time on the days where they enjoy indoor recess due to inclement weather.
Wellness Integration Model
Wellness Integration is an instructional model focused in elementary schools that empowers teachers to incorporate kinesthetic learning, movement and health messaging into lessons and other areas of the classroom. The model also enhances the school environment to support health and wellbeing through a variety of research-based strategies. The comprehensive approach creates culture change to improve and support overall wellbeing, student engagement, and academic performance.
Chesterfield County Public Schools seeks to expand this model across the division to ensure we are supporting the whole child and create a culture of wellness across all schools. Schools that have currently or already been trained in wellness integration include:
- Bellwood Elementary
- Elizabeth Scott Elementary
- Marguerite Christian Elementary
- Falling Creek Elementary
- Harrowgate Elementary
- Reams Road Elementary
Smart Snacks Standards
Smart Snacks in Schools, developed by the USDA, is the federal regulations that provides nutrition standard requirements for all foods sold during the school day that is outside of the reimbursable school meal program. This includes a la carte foods in the cafeteria as well as foods sold in vending machines, school stores, or during-school fundraisers.
Foods that are offered/provided but not sold to students during the school day does not follow the same regulatory standards; however, we encourage schools and families to offer foods that do align with the standards outlined in the Smart Snacks in Schools guidelines.
For more information on Smart Snacks in Schools standards, please visit https://www.fns.usda.gov/healthierschoolday/tools-schools-focusing-smart-snacks
Also, to determine if a food or beverage meets the standards, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation has a great online tool. https://www.healthiergeneration.org/take_action/schools/snacks_and_beverages/smart_snacks/alliance_product_calculator/