A healthy school environment is one of the most influential aspects of your child’s growth. Parent involvement in school can help improve the child’s learning progress. Making sure that your children’s school promotes their health is just as important as it affects their learning process.
Why should student health be important for educators and parents alike ?
The benefits that come from learning in an environment that promotes students’ health include improved test scores, good classroom behavior, and school attendance and most importantly, it helps students establish habits that can positively affect their health status for the rest of their lives.
Paying attention to your child’s surroundings
Knowing more about the steps your child’s school is taking to promote health is the first step in finding out if your school is promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
1. What kind of food is your child eating at school?
Are fresh fruits or vegetables available to buy? Does the school canteen sell sugary sodas or other processed items that are not considered healthy?
2. Are students getting enough physical exercise at school?
It is recommended that students get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day; does your child’s school contribute to meeting this target?
3. Are the school premises clean and safe?
Are the school’s restrooms clean and do they contain soap and toilet paper at all times? Are the school premises free of items that can cause injuries to your child?
4. Does your child’s school enforce a smoking prohibition? Is smoking prohibited everywhere in your child’s school?
5. Is your child taking part in health awareness sessions and activities?
Are your children learning about how to stay healthy and safe? Are they getting information on healthy nutrition, road safety and the like? Does the school advocate for the physical and emotional safety of all students?
6. What kind of health services are available at school?
Are staff trained in first aid? Does the school carry out regular health checks and timely vaccinations (if applicable to your school) or monitor
immunizations? Does the school effectively monitor student accidents and incident reports? Is there a health education program?
There is more than one way to influence your child’s school environment. Some require commitment such as joining the school committee that is responsible for health matters (in some cases, you might have to advocate for creating one). Others can take the form of your participation in health activities at school or getting your recommendations across to the school’s management.
Whichever method you choose, your efforts are an investment in your child’s future, where health is core to whatever they dream of achieving and getting the most out of life.
RHAS’s Healthy Schools program
The Healthy Schools program is a national accreditation program implemented by RHAS in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education since 2008, with an aim to create health-promoting environment within schools, reflecting positively on students’ physical and social growth, as well as their academic performance. The program is carried through national health standards where participating schools are trained and supervised on to implement successfully.
The program focuses on public and preventive health education, such as personal hygiene, oral hygiene, nutrition, physical activity, nutrition, drugs prevention and tobacco control.