Earlier this summer, a small group of Chicago teachers completed HSC’s Fit to Learn program. The professional development program focused on practical approaches to making health and wellness a regular part of the classroom experience.
Amy Andrews, a third grade teacher at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School, found the Fit to Learn workshops to be helpful in building lessons and sharing resources with her students. After participating in the program, Andrews created a “Tasty Tuesday” program to incorporate nutrition education into her classroom. She also provided opportunities for physical activity in her classroom and urged students to commit to physical activity.
When Andrews created opportunities for movement, she observed more focused students. “The kids said during ISAT, [those mind and body breaks] really helped them. It was the first time I really heard their point of view. They feel calmer and more confident,” she said.
Graduates explained that their experience showed them how important it is to engage parents and fellow educators in fostering a culture of wellness throughout the school. “You have to get other teachers on board,” said John T. McCutcheon Elementary School teacher Karen Jasinski. “You also want parents on board. You need both, [because] we set the example. If we’re telling them not to have hot chips and pop and then they see us with pop, then it’s not going to be effective.” To make this connection, Jasinski also invited nutritionists to facilitate six popular parent workshops to demonstrate how to make home meals healthier.
We look forward to hearing more from Fit to Learn alums in the coming school year. Kudos to all the Fit to Learn graduates!