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Partnering with Schools
Schools can be a promising place for change. Children are young enough to learn and form new habits; they eat meals and snacks at schools on weekdays; schools are full of role models and mentors for children; and schools generally have spaces designated for physical activity.
Taken together, education, PSE, and social marketing changes are more effective than any of these strategies alone for improving health and preventing obesity.
The Steps to Health 4th Grade program is a garden and nutrition-based curriculum that integrates health education, science, social studies, math, and language arts for North Carolina 4th Graders. Steps to Health 4th Grade seeks to inspire students to plant, grow, and try a variety of vegetables in a school garden setting while learning about nutrition and physical activity.
Steps to Health 4th Grade brings together multiple facets of the school and community. The curriculum includes classroom-based lessons, taste tests, physical activity, hands-on garden experiences, and interclass challenges. Program success relies on the collaboration and leadership of a Nutrition Educator who provides 9 in-classroom sessions, a Garden Educator who provides 3 in-gardens sessions, and the Classroom Teacher who provides weekly supplemental activities.
Pre/post surveys are administered to the students and a parent feedback form is collected. Recipes and information on nutrition and physical activity are sent home to parents.
The curriculum was developed by Lindsay Goolsby, MS, RD; Gretchen Hofing, MPH, RD; Lindsey Haynes-Maslow, MHA, Ph.D.; Liz Driscoll, MS; and Tessa Thraves, MA, Ph.D.
- Before You Program
- Steps to Health Program Request form (complete a form for EACH program)
- Site Eligibility – In order to qualify for Steps to Health programming, schools must participate in the National School Lunch or Breakfast Program. The school building must have at least 50% of students receiving a free or reduced meal. Before beginning programming, use this spreadsheet to confirm that a school qualifies: Steps to Health Eligible Schools. For questions on determining school eligibility, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For virtual surveys and data related information, please contact STH-DataManager@ncsu.com
- Training Videos
- 4th Grade Participation Letter
- Initial Planning Meeting Worksheet
- Nutrition Education Schedule Template
- Nutrition Education Attendance Roster
- Garden Education Meeting Worksheet
- Garden Education Schedule Template
- Garden Education Attendance Roster
- Garden Sustainability Meeting Worksheet
- Planting Guide Piedmont/Coastal
- Planting Guide Mountains/Foothills
- Food Safety for School and Community Gardens
- Roots, Stems, Leaves Song
- Roots, Stems, Leaves Video
- Plant Life Cycle Video
- Do/Be Song
- Nutrition Educator Feedback
- Garden Educator Feedback
- Teacher Feedback
- Schoolwide Healthy Environments Supports
- Schoolwide Environments Scan
- Certificate Template
- Certificate Template with Extra Signature Line
- Certificate Template with Fruits and Vegetables
Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change (PSE)
PSE initiatives are based on many factors that influence what people eat and how they choose to be active. From access to healthy food to the walkability of communities, people adopt certain heath behaviors for a variety of reasons.
The ABC’s of a Healthy School Environment is
Steps to Health’s PSE toolkit for schools can be a great tool for partnering with schools to make create a healthier school environment.
Communities Moving Together: A Guide to Facilitating Community-Led Walk Audits
Walk audits can be a powerful tool for identifying both assets and needs within a community’s built environment, but also for bringing community members together around a shared vision. You might also use a walk audit to build on momentum from PSE work done at the organizational level to expand on changes to the built environment within the broader community.
This guide helps communities to assess and enhance their physical environment in places where people live, work, learn, pray, and play, by facilitating community-led walk audits.
In addition to the guide, Steps to Health and Faithful Families developed a series of video modules to highlight steps to planning community-led walk audits. These videos can be utilized to assist local organizations in planning and conducting community-led walk audits to assess the physical environment, walkability, and to increase safety. Additionally, community partners and leaders share successes from their own experiences, demonstrating the positive impacts that walk audits can bring to communities.
Do you want to continue to encourage teachers, parents, and caregivers to make the healthy choice year round? The Steps to Health text message campaign continues engagement with these groups! To implement this in your community:
- Build internal support. This could be a teacher you already work closely with or the School Health Advisory Committee.
- Market with your supporting partners. This could be done by sending students home with a contact card for their parents or sharing digitally through social media and newsletters.
- If you would like to report how many people in your county signed up as a result of your efforts, email email@example.com.
Already using this toolkit or partnering with schools? Here are some additional resources you may need: