Encouraging Health and Wellness with Lynndale PTA

by Together Counts Partner | November 12, 2015 at 8:11 am | comments

Pancake Breakfast Photo

The Lynndale Parent Teacher Association (PTA) in Lynnwood, WA was the proud recipient of a Together Counts™ 2015-2016 Healthy Lifestyles: Energy Balance 101 Grant of $2,000. The PTA plans to use these funds to focus its efforts on providing education, experience, equipment and tools for students and families to make healthier choices. The funds will be used to enhance healthy living in five key areas.

Grant Activity 1: Enhance Active Living Fair and Pancake Feed
(Gold level recognized program by the WA State PTA for PTA’s taking significant action)

On the last Saturday in September, we coordinate an Active Living Fair and Pancake Feed aimed at educating parents about the different ways to get active in our community. It is a great way to kick off the year and introduce our Active Start Program (active movement for 30 minutes before school) and the Move60 (60 minutes of organized activity after school) program at Lynndale.

We involve the community to help educate parents on activities and health and wellness resources available to them locally. We invite local health organizations to also promote healthy eating and preventative care. There are games, activities, performances, information, prizes and, of course pancakes. The pancake feed serves as a small fundraiser for the PTA.

This year, was our 10th Anniversary for the event and we decided to work in coordination to introduce the event to another school in the district, Lynnwood Elementary School. They were interested in hosting one of their own and weren’t quite sure how it all came together, so we worked together to do a joint event on their campus.  It was a great success!

Grant Activity 2: Educate Parents on Healthy Lifestyles

The PTA publishes a monthly newsletter and has incorporated a featured section for each issue that discusses issues on Energy In / Energy Out. We incorporate helpful tips or recipes and ask for parents to send in information that they find helpful as well to get them more engaged. The newsletter is sent electronically and printed for all parents at the school. The grant serves to off-set some of these print costs. We also share tips via print messaging.

Grant Activity 3: Purchase New Playground Equipment

Funds from the grant were allocated to purchase new playground equipment for the kids. The funds will be divided into an intermediate and primary budget. Throughout the year, we will conduct three assessments with the recess staff to determine their needs for equipment. Although we would like current equipment to last all year, that is not necessarily the case and so there is a need for replacement. Also, requests vary depending on the seasons.

Grant Activity 4: Create a Recess Idea Box

To improve the physical activity at our school, we would like to give the students more options during recess. We would like to create an ‘idea’ box for when children ‘can’t find anything to do.’ The box might contain a list of activities they could try along with some supplies that might go along with the games. The children could experience various activities by checking them out, just like books in the library. This would require some dedicated time for development of the box and possibly a recess volunteer who could staff the box and help kids quickly select fun activities.

Grant Activity 5: Provide Healthy Alternatives for After School Snacks

We would like to work with students to experiment with different menu options for after school snacks.  To do this, we will need a budget to purchase items to ‘try out’ on our focus group so we can come up with a final menu recommendation to the school. We are looking to maximize nutrition, minimize cost, and still provide a simple snack that can be created in bulk with little preparation or effort.

Conclusion

The grant and the resources provided as part of the healthy lifestyles effort have been a tremendous help in supporting our ability to launch and grow these health and wellness programs at our school. We have already seen great results from our Active Living Fair and parent education campaigns and are excited to continue our efforts in this area.

The Parent Teacher Association provides parents and families with a powerful voice to speak on behalf of every child while providing the best tools for parents to help their children be successful students. Learn more at http://www.pta.org/.

For more healthy ideas take a look at these other posts from Together Counts.