Healthy School Policy:

Members of working group
Members of working group
Deirdre Keena Teacher, Chairperson
Anne Galvin Teacher, ACE Coordinator

Rationale
A healthy lifestyle is essential for maintaining and protecting children’s health, for ensuring they perform to their full potential during the school day (both academically and physically) and for their growth and development.

Aim
Our aim is to help the students develop a healthy lifestyle that, we hope, will continue into adulthood.

Benefits of a Healthy Lifestyle
Helps young people develop, grow and do well in school
Encourages the development of self esteem and a sense of self-worth
Prevents childhood and adolescent health problems such as obesity, eating disorders, tooth decay and anaemia
May help prevent health problems in later life, including heart disease
Developing good eating habits at a young age is vital as changing patterns in adulthood can be very difficult.

Consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle
Hungry children are more likely to have behavioural, emotional and academic problems at school.
Skipping breakfast leads to poor performance and concentration.
Poor eating habits and inactivity are the root cause of weight problems and obesity.
Eating disorders are extremely common in young people
Research suggests that overweight children are the largest group of bullying victims in schools
Many children are overfed but undernourished.

Healthy Lunches Policy
A healthy diet is one that allows for a balance of different foods that sustain the wellbeing of the individual. Different lifestyles result in different dietary needs and individuals need to be aware of the effects of different foods on their bodies. In St. Brigid’s Primary School we are implementing a healthy lunches policy to encourage the children to have a suitably balanced diet.

The following foods may be included in lunches/snacks: Sandwiches, fruit and vegetables, yoghurt and cheese, crackers and plain biscuits. To drink we allow water, pure fruit juices and milk. Foods high in fat, salt, and sugar, are strongly discouraged during school.

Fizzy drinks, popcorn, crisps, sweets, chocolate or chocolate biscuits are not allowed in school. Foods with artificial additives or high sugar content, i.e. cereal bars, fruit winders, etc will be discouraged. Chewing gum is strictly forbidden.

Pupils are encouraged to drink water during the day. Pupils can have a plastic bottle on their table which can be taken home and refilled each day. We encourage children to use a sports bottle as it is environmentally friendly. Juices and milk are to be drunk at recreation time only. Sweets and treats will only be consumed on special occasions or party days.

Lunchtime is a “priority time” within the school. All pupils sit at their desks to eat their lunch and then go out to the yard for playtime. This will ensure each child eats his/ her lunch and will help teachers monitor lunches.
Mondays and Tuesdays 11a.m. break will be Fruit and Veg break only. Focus will be on those who make the effort to bring in fruit or/and veg for this break and in this way encourage all to make some effort.
Physical Activity

Every child will be enabled to achieve a minimum of 30 minutes physical activity each day. Playground games will be taught and revised at the beginning of each school year and playground markings will be familiar to all classes. In fine weather various leagues for all ages will be run at lunchtimes.

One hour of physical education will be provided each week. These lessons will be given by class teachers or other suitably trained and qualified staff. The qualifications of coaches and facilitators will be checked prior to lessons.

The School will provide physical and social environments that encourage and enable physical activity in a safe setting: Adult supervision, teaching in safe methods, safe facilities and the use of protective equipment are all components of a safe environment for physical activity.

The School promotes sport and physical activity by providing information on sports clubs and physical activity opportunities within the community via written notices.

There is an Active Week held in the school during the school year. During this time extra emphasis is placed on physical activity and its importance. There is a morning warm up each day during active week and parents are also encouraged to participate. Teachers lead the warm up sessions. A Sports Day is also held once during the year where a variety of sports are enjoyed by the pupils.

Fit Friday: Every Friday from September to Hallowe’en and from February Mid-term to Summer Holidays whole school will engage in 10-15 minute exercise in the yard or in classroom if weather inclement. Teachers will take turns leading the class. Some teachers do a dance routine and some do games, exercises etc. For indoor activities some teachers use the GoNoodle website or similar websites. Also the Busy Breaks booklet gives lots of ideas for indoor exercise.

Dental Health

Dental Health and disease prevention is important so children are encouraged to drink water during the school day. We acknowledge the importance of brushing twice a day and lessons will be taught in each class on dental health to encourage good dental care and hygiene. Tooth-friendly drinks, i.e. milk, water, pure fruit juices and dilute unsweetened fruit juices are the only beverages permitted during the school day.
When available dental nurses from A.I.T. come to the school to give workshops to the 5th and 6th classes on Dental Health.
Mental Health

The School recognises the importance of mental health and how it is an integral component of general health and well-being, allowing a person to fully realise his/her abilities. The School promotes mental health education and has an anti-bullying policy in place which is enforced and which pupils are aware of. There will a “Worry Box” in some classroom where pupils can discreetly express any concerns. Catherine Gallagher, a trained counsellor in EFT (Emotional Freedom Therapy) will help Senior Classes overcome stresses, concerns and anxieties that they might have using the techniques of EFT. EFT is based on acupressure points. It is an excellent self-help tool for both adults and children. It is especially useful for self-esteem, exam anxiety, fears such as injections, dentist, etc, traumas (for example falling in yard, etc). These techniques can be easily learned and will be taught to children as the need arises.
Further information can be found at HYPERLINK “http://www.eftuniverse.com” www.eftuniverse.com.
Fun Friends and Friends for Life programmes which promote mental health and resilience are done in Senior Infants, 1st class, 5th and 6th class.
Massage in Schools Programme which aims to lower child’s stress levels and strengthening of immune system is done throughout the school.
Mental Wellbeing in-service for whole school staff is organised on a regular basis.

To help highlight the awareness of healthy lifestyles the following will take place:

Teachers and children will discuss healthy eating and physical activity each term.
During the year all classes will receive a minimum of two lessons on nutrition.
Rewards such as stickers, merits, etc., will be given to children who have healthy lunches.
Our healthy lunch policy will be displayed where it is clearly visible to teachers, students and parents.
Teachers will provide positive modelling and supportive attitudes to encourage healthy eating.
The school will participate in the National Active Schools campaign.
All pupils have the opportunity to learn to grow fruits and vegetables, and these lessons are linked with food/ nutrition classes.
Priority lunchtime
All children will be encouraged to participate in plenty of physical activity with a variety of active play equipment available for use at lunchtimes.
Staff members will be encourages to attend in-service courses and to participate in other forms of continuous professional development appropriate to their needs.
A Sports For All Day will be held in the final term, which will emphasise participation rather than winning.
Active Week will be held during the year.
Fit Friday whole school participation.
A Lunchbox Warden will be appointed by each class on a weekly basis. The role of the Lunchbox Warden will be to promote a positive attitude towards healthy eating and help distribute reward stickers etc for healthy lunches.
Mondays and Tuesday 11a.m. break will be fruit or/and veg only break.
The ACE committee will remain active and organise events each year to promote healthy lifestyles.
Senior class organise a “Worry Box”
EFT will be taught as the need arises.
Success Criteria
Interest displayed by pupils and healthy lunches.
Feedback from parents.

Timeframe for Implementation

January 2012 – ongoing

Responsibility for Review

The policy will be reviewed by staff and the ACE Committee. The co-ordinator for this policy is Deirdre Keena.

Ratification and Communication

The policy will be presented at the next BOM meeting for ratification and parents will be given details of its contents.

Ratified in June 2008

……………………………………..

Reviewed in January 2012

Reviewed 8th March 2016

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