It’s one thing to encourage healthy habits; it’s another to give people tools that help them make positive changes. The Stiles Point Elementary PTA health and wellness committee did both.

“A couple of years ago, we decided to adopt the idea of educating the ‘whole child’ into our mission as a PTA,” explains PTA president Shelley Hough. Around the same time, the school incorporated action-based learning into the curriculum. The parent group started developing activities that promoted health and wellness and found that the local community embraced the mission, too.

With a budget of about $5,800—half in grant funds and donations, and half from the parent group—the committee sponsored healthy food tastings and hosted family and faculty health challenges (participants could win a basket with organic produce and other prizes). Local companies provided samples and demonstrations at a health fair, where students could taste cricket cookies, learn about proper handwashing, and try out karate and “land surfing.”

The PTA developed recess fitness stations and purchased new playground balls and sponsored a healthy food art contest. On Walk to School Day, it held a group walk around the campus called the Stiles Mile; in addition, the PTA tended the school gardens, provided squirmy students with alternative classroom seating, bought equipment for the school’s action-based learning lab, and created a staff lactation room for nursing mothers.

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