Healthier You Summer
RCMP: SCHOOL SAFETY TODAY SMART ROUTINES FOR STRONG STARTS
WHAT EARLY READING CAN DO FOR YOUR CHILD!
Volume 7, Issue 2
SERVING UP HEALTHY SCHOOL LUNCHES, SALAD BAR STYLE
Houston’s Silverthorne Elementary tested out a Northern Health Salad Bar Kit Loan, and have never looked back! Find out how your school can try this awesome program!
FOSTERING SCHOOL CONNECTEDNESS - HOW YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE��������������������������������������������������� 5 How does school connectedness impact your child?
SUBSTANCE USE PREVENTION – LET’S KEEP SCHOOLS SUBSTANCE FREE���������������������������������������� 7 Prevention basics and the need-to-know about substances in school.
REMEMBERING THE IMPORTANCE OF IMMUNIZATIONS����������������������������������������������������������������� 9 Immunizations work. Mike Gagel, Northern Health Regional Manager for Communicable Disease, explains why!
EARLY SUCCESS STORIES START WITH READING������������������������������������������������������������������� 11 When should your child begin his or her reading journey? The answer may surprise you.
REGULAR FEATURES 4 CEO WELCOME
SCHOOL SAFETY: THE OLD AND THE NEW Hear from Special Constable Fred Greene on what’s changed in school safety.
ACTIVE SCHOOL TRAVEL PLANNING FOR IMPROVED HEALTH & BETTER GRADES���������������� 13
Did you know that youth typically aren’t active enough? Here are some ideas to bring physical activity into schools.
LOOKING TO MAKE A HEALTHY IMPACT AT SCHOOL? ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS IMAGINE����� 15 See what Northern Health and IMAGINE grants have been doing to impact schools around the region.
EVERYONE NEEDS ROUTINE: WHAT’S YOURS?��������������������������������������������������������������� 19 Taylar Endean explains how routines can set students up for early success.
SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING AT SCHOOL��������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 22 What a Social Emotional Helping Teacher is, and what they can do for your child’s emotional well-being.
Healthy schools helping to create healthy future generations Looking to the future, what hopes do you have for your children? Do you have aspirations for your grandkids? Many immediately think of happiness, a higher education, or success in future careers. Quite simply, we ALL want the best for our families. Who wouldn’t? Cathy Ulrich President and Chief Executive Officer, Northern Health Where can you find Healthier You?
• Doctors’ offices • Walk-in clinics • Pharmacies • Other community settings
So, how do we get there? Whatever the goal or dream is for your child, we believe that creating healthier schools can help set up our future generations for success. This is why we’ve positioned this edition of Healthier You around healthy schools! Schools provide a common place where children can be nurtured to be healthy in so many different ways. For example, supporting programs that promote things like better nutrition, mental health, and physical activity – these will help our children succeed!
In this edition, you’ll find a range of topics, initiatives, and settings that benefit the student population. For example, Jeff Kormos’s article (page 15) shares stories of IMAGINE grants that have seeded programs and activities across northern BC. Sometimes, creating healthier schools is as easy as purchasing snowshoes for students to engage in outside physical activity during the winter months, enabling the purchase of materials needed to build rolling gardens, or supplying a student body with home grown fruits and veggies! This edition also provides insight into how parents and guardians can impact a healthy school and a child’s health. Actions that happen outside of the schoolyard, like creating smart routines (page 19) or having up-todate immunizations (page 9), have an impact inside the classroom. Providing a strong start in life and better opportunities for our children and youth contributes to their health and well-being throughout life. I hope you enjoy the articles our staff and partners have put together and learn more about the impact of healthy schools! As always, if you have a wellness or healthy community story that you’d like to see in a future issue of Healthier You, please contact our health promotions team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Healthier You Volume 7, Issue 2 – Summer 2018
the northern way of caring
PUBLISHED BY NORTHERN HEALTH & THE PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN
Copyright ©2017. All rights reserved. Reproduction of articles permitted with credit. Northern Health
Contributors / Healthier You is produced by the Northern Health health promotions team with contributions from Northern Health staff and partner organizations, in partnership with The Prince George Citizen.
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Advertisements in this magazine are coordinated by The Prince George Citizen. Northern Health does not endorse products or services. Any errors, omissions or opinions found in this magazine should not be attributed to the publisher. The authors, the publisher and the collaborating organizations will not assume any responsibility for commercial loss due to business decisions made based on the information contained in this magazine. Speak with your doctor before acting on any health information contained in this magazine. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted without crediting Northern Health and The Prince George Citizen. Printed in Canada. Please recycle.
BEING INVOLVED IN SCHOOL CONNECTEDNESS ISNâ€™T TOUGH, AND THE LASTING IMPACTS ON YOUTH COULD SURPRISE YOU Mike Phillips, Directorate of Agencies for School Health (DASH) BC
Research has shown that students who feel wellconnected at school achieve better academic results and positive health outcomes. As defined by the BC School Based Mental Health Coalition, the over-arching goal of school connectedness is to foster a school community where everyone feels safe, seen, heard, supported, significant, and cared for. Not only can an environment like this encourage learning, but it can also provide a supportive space for students to speak up, share ideas, self-regulate and maximize their potential.
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Developing school connectedness is an essential practice for enhancing the mental well-being and healthy development of children and youth. Young people who feel connected to their school demonstrate an increase in attendance, improved classroom engagement, higher self-esteem, and a lower likelihood of adopting risk behaviours. School connectedness can be strengthened with collaboration between students, administrators, teachers, school staff, families, and the larger community.
MORE INFORMATION DASH partners with various organizations, to support and facilitate the health and learning of students in British Columbia. In 2012, DASH formed partnerships between the ministries of health and education, health authorities, education partners and other key stakeholders.
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Want to contribute to school-connectedness this school year? Here are some ideas to consider: For Educators: • Create a curriculum and/or lesson plans which are reflective of student diversity. • Engage parents meaningfully in school activities, such as planning committees, healthy celebrations and extra-curricular events. • Be flexible with instructional strategies and allow for personalized learning. • Include students and families in decision-making processes. • Engage in professional development to better understand the diverse needs of children. For Families: • Encourage children to speak openly, share ideas, needs, and worries. • Stay up-to-date on current happenings and learn what is going on at your child’s school. • Encourage your child to participate in school activities and extra-curricular events. • Get involved in your child’s classroom, attend after school events, volunteer or participate in schoolwide initiatives. For further inspiration, visit Healthy Schools BC at https://healthyschoolsbc.ca/key-focus-areas/schoolconnectedness/ for school connectedness success stories and additional resources.
SCHOOLS ARE THE PERFECT PLACE TO LEARN ABOUT AND PREVENT SUBSTANCE USE Stacie Weich, Regional Lead, Mental Wellness and Prevention of Substance Harms, Northern Health
% of youth reporting life time use
% of youth reporting last Saturday use
Shows the level of substance use in school-aged youth, in BC, and in the north (northwest, northern interior, and northeast). (https://www.mcs.bc.ca/pdf/From_Hastings_Street_To_Haida_Gwaii.pdf)
When we think about healthy schools, we don’t often immediately think about the importance of a substance use prevention strategy. However, when we take a close look at the facts around youth substance use in our schools, we can see the need for work in this area. The Adolescent Health Survey (2013) report measured various pieces of youth health for students in grades 7-12. The table pictured here shows the level of
substance use in school-aged youth, in BC, and in the north. Alcohol is the number one substance being used by youth, followed by cannabis and then tobacco.
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Why youth use substances Youth use substances for many different reasons. In a 2017 study done by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, youth volunteers were surveyed about their cannabis use and asked why they thought they used. The most common reasons included fitting in with friends and socializing, with some related to desire for independence. Things most commonly reported by youth were seeking an identity, having common ground to make friends, fearing they would be left behind or not invited if they didn’t use. Youth also mentioned that the peers who used cannabis made it sound fun and exciting, and made the person using it seem more fun and exciting than when they weren’t using. Other reasons for use included boredom, having parents or siblings around them using, lack of authority present, or wanting to irritate their parents.
the primary goals of substance prevention work are: preventing or delaying first use; preventing the transition to problematic use; and preventing or reducing negative consequences experienced from substance use.
Prevention basics While prevention strategy is not a one size fits all approach, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse has created a series of guiding documents (including school based, community, and family skills) to help guide this work. School prevention initiatives will be most successful in collaboration with community and family focused efforts, but in terms of school prevention,
MORE INFORMATION Prevention work can be seen in many places around schools! Here are some examples: • The creation of spaces where diversity is welcome; where students and staff feel safe, connected, and empowered to be themselves; and where people are free from exposure to substances. • The development and delivery of curriculum and education around substance use, substance use disorders, and how recovery works. • Youth participating in and shaping health promoting activities, events, clubs, and after school programs, etc. • Ensuring staff are supported to connect and build relationships with youth. • Work being done in collaboration with a variety of groups, such as community members, youth groups, agencies, health representatives, justice sector participants • Prevention work is evolving, changing and being evaluated constantly. We encourage any and all work to be in line with Comprehensive School Health (healthyschoolsbc.ca/key-focusareas/comprehensive-school-health/) and Canadian Standards for Youth Substance Abuse Prevention (ccdus.ca/Resource%20Library/ccsa011815-2010.pdf).
WORKING TOGETHER TO IMPROVE VACCINATION RATES, FOR HEALTHY KIDS, AND HEALTHY SCHOOLS Mike Gagel, Regional Manager, Communicable Disease, Northern Health
Did you know that in this past century, in Canada, more lives have been saved due to immunizations than any other public health initiative? Even with this amazing fact, many people remain under- or un-immunized, and a recent B.C. incident highlights the risks posed by vaccine preventable diseases (VPD). The Okanagan experienced a meningitis outbreak last fall, with several people becoming ill. Sadly, there was one case where meningococcal disease contributed to death. Vaccines work Immunizations, also known as vaccinations, help to protect you from getting a VPD. When you get vaccinated, you also help to protect others by interfering with a germ’s ability to spread (this effect is called herd or community immunity). It’s much safer to get vaccinated than to catch an infectious disease. Consider what happens in the absence of vaccinations. Unvaccinated children contract vaccine preventable illnesses and diseases at higher rates than vaccinated children. Varicella (chicken pox) rates can be up to nine times higher, measles up to 35 times higher, and pertussis (whooping cough) up to between six and 28 times higher! Further, VPDs are more severe in infants and younger children. Delayed immunizations also increase the duration that a child is vulnerable to VPDs. Northern Health is working to improve vaccination rates Northern Health manages, allocates, and distributes $6 million dollars’ worth of publically funded vaccine each year within the northern region, ensuring that vaccines are available to those who need them, when they need them. Northern Health is also conducting a quality improvement study to determine if an automated telephone message is a feasible and useful reminder for
Immunizing your child is one of the most important things you can do to protect their health.
parents to bring their children in for vaccinations. In other efforts, Northern Health is embarking on a childhood immunization strategy to ensure that all two-year-olds are fully caught up. This is accomplished by closely monitoring vaccination rates, increasing the promotion of immunizations, and improving access to vaccination services. Northern Health intends to increase the average immunization rate of 70%, to 75% next year, 85% by 2021, and 90% by 2023. What you can do It’s really simple: get vaccinated. Influenza season is approaching and most pharmacies and public health facilities offer flu shots. This fall, look for locations via Continued on page 10
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ImmunizeBC’s Flu Clinic locator website (link below). Other vaccines you might need as an adult depend not only on your age, lifestyle, overall health, pregnancy status, and travel plans, but also on those you have close contact with (think of infants under six months
of age, the elderly, as well as people with depressed immune systems). What vaccines you had as a child is also a consideration. Talk with your health care provider about which vaccines you need. Finally, get your children vaccinated according to BC’s recommended vaccination schedule (link below).
MORE INFORMATION Canadian-based resources about immunizations: Find an Influenza (Flu) Clinic in BC • immunizebc.ca/clinics/flu BC Centre for Disease Control Immunization Schedule • bccdc.ca/health-info/immunization-vaccines/ immunization-schedules Get a text reminder for your child’s next vaccine appointment • immunizebc.ca/reminders Evidence-based immunization information and tools for BC residents • immunizebc.ca
Public Health Agency of Canada: YouTube video on Vaccine Safety in Canada • https://youtu.be/H0uun1gkPAE I Boost Immunity (IBI): A Canadian-based online grassroots immunization advocacy program • iboostimmunity.com/ Immunize Canada: Promoting the understanding and use of vaccines • immunize.ca Government of Canada: A Parent’s Guide to Vaccination • canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/ healthy-living/parent-guide-vaccination.html
FRONT TO BACK, READING HAS AN IMPACT Janet Marren, Chief Librarian, Prince George Public Library
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Reading can be fun and relaxing, but did you know that reading is also good for your child’s health?
The Canadian Paediatric Society encourages physicians to address low literacy as a child health problem beginning at birth and continuing through adulthood. In a report titled “Read, Speak, Sing: Promoting Literacy in the Physician’s Office,” the Society recommends that doctors assess early literacy at office visits and encourage families to get a library card and visit a library regularly. Health Canada lists education and literacy as one of the social determinants of health, and the World Health Organization recognizes that low education levels are SUMMER 2018
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linked with poor health, more stress, and lower selfconfidence.
How can parents, teachers and caregivers encourage reading in children? Here are some tips:
Learning to read begins at birth. Reading, rhyming, singing, and talking profoundly influences literacy and language development in young children, which sets the foundation for all other learning. 90% of children’s critical brain development occurs by age five. Children who are read to, sung to, and talked to from a young age develop bigger vocabularies, become better readers, and are more likely to succeed in school.
• Read stories and books together. Make reading part of every day!
Learning to read, and practicing reading throughout the school years, has a significant impact on a child’s academic performance. Success in school will impact future job opportunities, level of income, and the ability to manage your own or your family’s health, all of which impact overall well-being! Evidence tells us that our health status improves with our level of education. School-aged children who read regularly develop focus, concentration, and longer attention spans. Reading promotes creativity, empathy, and imagination, and enhances vocabulary, thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills. These skills equip children to cope with day-to-day challenges and to participate more fully within their communities and employment markets as they mature. 12
• Set an example for your child by reading regularly yourself. • Have a variety of reading materials available. Give your child a choice of books. • Talk to your children about the books they read. • Visit your local library! Remember that your public library has reading materials for all ages in multiple formats – board books, early readers, picture books, chapter books, magazines, graphic novels, and comic books - all free to borrow with your library card. Library programs such as baby times, story times, reading buddies, summer reading clubs, and homework help offer families and children the opportunity to interact with books and reading in a safe, social, and fun atmosphere. Contact your local public library for great reading recommendations suited to your child’s age and interests. Load up on lots of choices and enjoy!
THE BENEFITS OF ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION, BEYOND THE STEPS TO SCHOOL! Gloria Fox, Regional Lead Physical Activity, Northern Health
Whether we’re ready for it or not, the summer season always comes to an end. Hopefully, your summer was filled with outdoor activity and fun in the sun with friends rather than spent in the shadows of a basement, illuminated only by the light of screens. Increasingly, research is telling us a few disturbing facts: 1) We’re not active enough to reap the numerous health benefits associated with being physically active.
2) We are spending far too much time being sedentary (seated or lying down, often staring at a screen), so much so that we are at greater risk of chronic disease. These stats apply to people of all ages, but with a new school year starting, I’d like to focus on what can be done to improve the situation for our next generation, specifically through the promotion of active transportation to and from school. According to the latest ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, only about a third (35%) of Canadian children and youth are active enough to get the 60 minutes of heart-pumping activity they need each day, landing us the marginal grade of D+ in Overall Physical Activity. The bad news doesn’t end there: our grade in Active Transportation is a D-, meaning that only 21% of 5-19 year olds in Canada regularly use active modes of transportation, while Continued on page 14
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nearly two thirds use inactive modes such as being dropped off by a personal vehicle or bus. We’re well aware of the many reasons children and youth should be active, but now we have another incentive to consider: brain health! Along with this year’s Report Card came an Expert Statement on Physical Activity and Brain Health in Children and Youth, stating, “For better brain health, all children and youth should be physically active on a regular basis. In addition to physical health benefits, physical activity also improves cognition, brain function and mental health” (ParticipACTION, 2018). So, now that we know for sure that physical activity is not only good for the physical body but also the brain, it stands to reason that kids who are regularly active will be better set up for success in school. This fall, consider getting involved in some school travel planning. Green Communities Canada has just released a School Travel Planning Toolkit (resource below) as a guide to those wanting to develop a comprehensive plan for their school. Alternatively, Parachute Canada has a great Walking School Bus Event Guide (resource below) that is easy to follow and relatively quick to implement. Try it out for International Walk to School (iWALK) month in October! DASH BC is organizing their 11th annual Walk and Wheel to School event as part of iWALK from October 1-5, 2018; register your school now to receive resources and supports to make your iWALK event a success! Visit www.dashbc.ca for more details.
MORE INFORMATION Resources School Travel Planning Toolkit • ontarioactiveschooltravel.ca/wp-content/ uploads/2018/05/Guide-for-Facilitators-STPToolkit-May-2018-En-1.pdf
Walking School Bus Event Guide • parachutecanada.org/downloads/programs/ safekidsweek/PSKW2017-Walking_School_ Bus.pdf
MORE INFORMATION Promoting active transportation, or peoplepowered transportation such as walking, cycling, or wheeling, has the potential to make a positive impact in many ways: • • • • •
Increased daily physical activity. Improved overall health. Improved mood and focus. Improved cognition and problem-solving skills. Decreased air pollution as a result of less vehicle reliance.
IMAGINE GRANTS HAVE TOUCHED DOWN AT SCHOOLS ALL OVER NORTHERN BC, SETTING UP COOL INITIATIVES FOR HEALTHIER SCHOOLS Jeff Kormos, Healthy Settings Advisor, Northern Health
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Every year, IMAGINE grants provide up to $5,000 per project to community organizations, service agencies, Indigenous organizations, schools, municipalities, regional districts, and other partners with projects that support northerners in their efforts to stay healthy.
Northern BCâ€™s schools are benefitting not only from the IMAGINE grant funding, but also from the relationships established among community partners working together on grassroots projects to improve the health of children. These projects are leaving a lasting effect on our communities and can even result in unintended positive outcomes. In order to illustrate the kinds of projects taking place in our schools, we are featuring three completed projects that received funding in the fall of 2017. SUMMER 2018
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Charlie Lake PAC: snow much fun with snowshoes The Charlie Lake PAC was awarded $3,360.15 to buy 40 pairs of snowshoes and build a rack storage system with secure locks. Local businesses donated $1,825 worth of time, labour, and discounts to build the rack, buy the snowshoes, and create a legal waiver. Students enjoyed the snowshoes all winter long, increasing their physical activity and fun in the snow. They were also shared with their neighbours in Fort St. John for use in the High on Ice Winter Festival. Great work Charlie Lake PAC! Barlow Creek PAC: Barlow Creek Elementary School community garden The Barlow Creek PAC was awarded $2,220 to build six large raised beds and to plant fruit and vegetables in both spring and fall. 110 staff and students contributed to the successful completion of this project with in-kind donations totalling $1,700. To ensure sustainability of this project, the Barlow Creek PAC will provide $100 annually for seeds, and community volunteers will tend the garden during the summer months. Congratulations Barlow Creek PAC! Houston Secondary School: garden towers Houston Secondary School was awarded $2,550.04 to purchase and install two rolling garden towers in the school library to produce fresh fruit and vegetables for school programs. Community partners provided in-kind donations worth $1,050 to see the project through to completion. The towers not only provide a source of fresh produce for the schoolâ€™s food and nutrition programs, but the vibrant colours and trickling water sounds produced by the garden contribute to a calming environment within the library. Way to go Houston Secondary School! Do you want to initiate a healthy, community-based initiative in your school? The next round of IMAGINE grants intake begins Fall 2018. For more information, visit northernhealth.ca/services/healthy-living-incommunities/imagine-grants. For information on past projects, visit our interactive map located on our webpage! If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com.
MORE INFORMATION Projects funded by IMAGINE are intended to prevent chronic disease and injury or promote health in one or more of the following areas: healthy eating and food security; physical activity and active living; injury prevention; tobacco-free communities; positive mental health; prevention of substance harms; healthy early childhood development; and healthy aging. 16
HOW TO MAKE HAPPIER, HEALTHIER STUDENTS: A SILVERTHORNE ELEMENTARY STORY Emilia Moulechkova, Population Health Dietitian, Northern Health
For Houston’s Silverthorne Elementary, setting students up for success begins with a meal made with love. Until recently, many residents in this small community travelled 120km round trip to purchase groceries, so providing students a healthy lunch at school has been a top priority. Even with the distance, Evelyn Meehan, special education assistant and school meal coordinator, is up for the challenge. She is the driving force behind the school’s daily salad bar and hot meal program. “Many of our families struggle with accessing healthy foods,” says Evelyn. “Parents, staff and the whole community believe in this program. They see the
difference it’s making for all of our students to have access to healthy meals, prepared with love.” What’s on the menu at Silverthorne? Students choose from a selection of fruits, vegetables, green-leafy salad, and salad dressing. Foods from other food groups are also offered, such as whole wheat buns, turkey wraps, pasta salad, boiled eggs, cheese, and milk. The menu is nutritionally balanced, yet simple. This helps keep costs down and meal preparation manageable. Continued on page 18 SUMMER 2018
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Hands-on learning The school also has a garden, but it may not be what you’d expect. Due to a short growing season and challenges with maintaining a garden during the summer months, they’ve had to get creative. Students learn to plant and grow seeds in vertical growing systems that use only water and nutrients, rather than dirt. “We have indoor gardens, which allows us to grow our own food right in the classroom, year-round,” says Evelyn. “We grow a few varieties of lettuce, Swiss chard, kale, tomatoes, herbs, and peas, and use the produce in our salad bar.” Programs like this provide students with fun hands-on learning experiences, which, overtime, set the stage for life-long healthy relationships with food. “Not only are we feeding hungry bellies with good food, kids get to see, grow, and taste a variety of healthy foods. You can see the excitement in their faces!”
“Go for it! Try different things. Don’t make big amounts at first.” She also encourages schools to connect with a Northern Health Population Health Dietitian. “A Northern Health Population Health Dietitian is a great resource that can support you with anything from borrowing salad bar equipment, to connecting with environmental health officers, and helping with grant applications.” Do you have a salad bar program in your school? We’d love to hear from you! (email below) What advice or message do you have to share with other schools interested in trying the program? More Information To borrow a salad bar kit, or for more resources and information about starting a salad bar program, contact a Northern Health Population Health Dietitian at 250-6314236 or PopHthNutrition@northernhealth.ca.
A wonderful partnership Two years ago, Evelyn and the school’s principal started looking for ways to offer more fresh fruits and vegetables to students, many of whom did not regularly get access to these foods at home. That’s when they learned about the Northern Health Salad Bar Kit Loan program. “Borrowing salad bar equipment from Northern Health was a really valuable stepping-stone for our program,” says Evelyn. “It allowed us to try out the salad bar program and decide whether it was a good fit.” The salad bar kits are valued at $2,600 and include a plastic table top salad bar, plexiglass sneeze guard, stainless steel inserts, serving utensils and salad dressing bottles. Schools can borrow a kit for up to 12 months, for free. After that, they are encouraged to apply for a grant to purchase their own equipment. A number of grants may be available to help cover start-up costs including Northern Health IMAGINE Grants, Farm to School BC grants, and Farm to School Canada grants. Sustaining success Last fall, Silverthorne Elementary received a grant from Farm to School BC. With the grant money they purchased their own salad bar kit, as well as new dishware, a toaster oven, and an electric grill for their hot breakfast program. This has allowed them to continue offering the salad bar, as part of their long-term plan for promoting healthy eating. What advice does Evelyn have for schools interested in trying a salad bar program?
MORE INFORMATION Granting resources Northern Health IMAGINE grants • northernhealth.ca/services/healthy-living-incommunities/imagine-grants Farm to School BC grants • farmtoschoolbc.ca Farm to School Canada grants • farmtocafeteriacanada.ca/our-work/farm-toschool-canada-grants/
EAT, SLEEP, BE A HEALTHY KID, REPEAT. STARTING ROUTINES NOW, MEANS BETTER HEALTH LATER Taylar Endean, Interim Regional Nursing Lead, Healthy Schools, Northern Health
Routine is something we all have, whether we admit it or not. We all have our own morning wake-up routine, transportation routes planned, or our bedtime wind-down. It might sound monotonous to think about, but routine actually benefits us in many ways. Having scheduled, planned, and predictable ways of doing everyday tasks takes the thinking out of “What’s next?” Children and adults both benefit from daily routine. Routines lower stress levels, decrease anxiety, and also improve mental health and sleep. All of these benefits are linked to each other: if you’re less stressed you will sleep better; if you sleep better your mind is sharper; and if your mind is more clear you are more productive - you get the picture! There are physiological benefits from the above too, such as decreased risk of heart disease. Children also benefit from routine because it makes them feel safe, secure, and helps develops independence!
importantly, make it a habit! When creating the routine, include your young ones! Help guide them to make their own healthy choices for the school year, and listen to their feedback! Everyone is different, so what works for some might not work for others!
Routine doesn’t have to be cumbersome and should have some flexibility - it can actually be fun and bring your family together! The best way to create a back to school routine is to start before the first day of school. This allows kids to adapt to it, make changes and, most
MORE INFORMATION When planning your back-to school routine, be sure to consider the following: • Make bedtimes and wake-up times the same times each day and night. • Plan for healthy meals and snacks. • Plan the same active transportation and safe routes for each daily commute. • Encourage kids engage in physical activities for at least 60 minutes per day. • Create after school routines including chores, homework, and fun activities. SUMMER 2018
SPECIAL CONSTABLE FRED GREENE GIVES THE FACTS ABOUT SCHOOL SAFETY IN TODAY’S WORLD Robbie Pozer, Health Promotions, Northern Health
As I walked into the Prince George RCMP detachment to discuss school safety with Special Constable Fred Greene, I thought back to my school years. Was I safe back then? I think so. I knew to look both ways before I crossed the road, drugs and cigs were bad, and planning a safe ride home was a good thing. Pretty simple, right? Well, to fall on that old cliché: “Times have changed.” It seems that each new generation of students has to deal with both the safety concerns of old (like crossing the road safely), and new safety hurdles that previous groups didn’t have to deal with. Technology
has changed, social norms have changed, heck – even the climate has changed! However, one thing hasn’t changed: the importance of teaching students about school safety and what they can do to be proactive. That was why it was so great to sit down with S/ Cst. Greene, an RCMP Community Safety Officer with more than 10 years’ experience. As someone who has presented hundreds of personal safety talks to student bodies ranging from elementary schools to universities, he was able to break down the big topics with me. Here’s the big four, and what he had to say about each: Pedestrian Safety “Make eye contact and hand gestures with drivers before crossing street.” Remember: • Use marked and signalled crosswalks, not shortcuts. • Wear light or reflective clothing at night. • Use sidewalks when provided, and walk facing the traffic if they’re unavailable. Drug Awareness “Plan ahead. As you make plans for the party or going out with friends, you need to plan ahead. You need to protect yourself and be smart. Don’t become a victim of someone else’s drug use. Make sure there’s someone you can call day or night, no matter what, if you need them. And, do the same for your friends.” Remember: • First time use of street drugs can be fatal. • Usage and eventual addiction of prescription meds can be an easy way to get hooked on hard street drugs. • Consider that fentanyl may be found in street or non-prescribed medication. • Be cognizant that date rape drugs are easily attainable and can be found locally. They’re colourless, odourless, and easily placed in any drink. Cyberbullying “No information is truly private in the online world; an online ‘friend’ can forward any information posted
on your site in a moment. Every text, conversation, photo, or phone call once sent will be permanent, public and searchable. If you delete a post, it can always be found.” Remember: • Cyberbullying can be investigated under the Criminal Code as stalking, harassment, or threats. • If you receive bullying messages, don’t respond. Print them off and tell someone. • Anyone can pretend to be anyone, or anything, they want online. • Any inappropriate photos of someone under 18 years old on a device is considered child pornography. • Watch out for classified ads and inquiries from out of town or country. Be cautious of anyone asking for payment by Western Union or Crypto-currency. Street Safety “Stranger Danger. Don’t go with, take anything, or talk to a stranger. An adult never needs help from a child.” Remember: • You are always safer in a group. • Use the buddy system when walking, attending events, or simply to talk to if you’re having a bad day.
• Stay in well-lit areas at night and don’t use isolated trails. • Know your location at all times in case you need to reach someone or call 9-1-1. • Never meet a person from social media for the first time by yourself; meet in a public place with a friend or parent.
MORE INFORMATION Interested in more safety tips? Visit these resources! Pedestrian Safety • princegeorge.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/ViewPage.actio n?siteNodeId=2087&languageId=1&content Id=32279 Internet Safety • princegeorge.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/ViewPage.action ?siteNodeId=2077&languageId=1&contentId=-1 Street Proofing • princegeorge.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/ViewPage.actio n?siteNodeId=2075&languageId=1&content Id=21081
THE BULKLEY VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT SUPPORTS MENTAL WELLNESS IN THE CLASSROOM! Taylar Endean, Regional Nursing Lead, Healthy Schools and Stacie Weich, Regional Lead Mental Wellness and Prevention of Substance Harms, Northern Health
Social and emotional health in youth is associated with higher academic performance, positive mental health experiences, and better life outcomes. Everyone benefits when we incorporate mental health promotion, prevention, and early identification into schools! Collaborative, sustainable, and informed work in this area will help everyone prioritize wellness in every classroom.
B.C. is making strides towards enhancing the curriculum to reflect and grow social and emotional health, and has introduced a new program that includes social and emotional core competencies. The Bulkley Valley (School District 54) has found an excellent and innovative way to meet that goal: they have hired a Social Emotional Helping Teacher (SEHT).
For more information on McConnell foundation and the WellAhead initiative, visit: • mcconnellfoundation.ca/ • wellahead.ca/
This teacher driven support begins with a teacher reaching out to the SEHT asking for help. The SEHT meets with the classroom teacher for a planning session on embedding well-being into the curriculum, rather than individual, one-off lessons. They work with teachers and students in collaboration, planning and implementation of the new social emotional curriculum requirements into the classroom. This is done is various ways and is driven by the individual classroom. The SEHT assists in incorporating personal and social responsibility into everyday school activities in different subjects such as Language Arts, Science, Music, Art classes and fields trips. This is done through various methods such as storytelling, identifying personal heroes, bringing music and crafts to seniors homes, caring for the environment, personalized drawings/ colouring to identify self-awareness, and stress management. The SEHT attends 3-4 sessions with the teacher and co-teaches with them, building their capacity, confidence, and skills in these topics. This resource offers a huge support to the teachers and school staff, and encompasses the Comprehensive School Health Framework. Due to increasing demand, this program has grown from a two to four day per week position! Moving forward, the Bulkley Valley District and Northern Health have teamed up to engage in a coaching grant opportunity secured through the WellAhead – McConnell Foundation. WellAhead is a national initiative focused on integrating social and emotional well-being into young people’s education for long term change. The McConnell Foundation is a private Canadian foundation that develops and applies innovative approaches to social, cultural, economic, and environmental challenges. Together, these programs connect health and education with expertise and tools that help build plans to enhance the wellness in our region. Granting opportunities can be found on the McConnell Foundation website. What is your school doing to support social and emotional well-being for the students, teachers and staff? Mental health is truly everyone’s business, so take some time to think about how your school environment is promoting these kinds of wellness. After all, we’re all responsible for ensuring that school is a safe, fun, and healthy environment for all.