All public schools in Vermont have health and wellness programs with guidance and support from a public health nurse. We promote and support school health and wellness at the local level to help schools develop programs and policies that promote healthy eating and physical activity for students in Central Vermont.
To support school health we:
- Provide the most up-to-date information regarding vaccination regulations, school nutrition and physical activity policies, and healthy school environments.
- Help schools obtain federal funding and grants to support proven wellness strategies, such as Farm-to-School and Girls on the Run.
- Provide assistance and best practice ideas to School Wellness Teams using the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model. This means we can also assist in writing school wellness policies as needed by individual schools.
- Help schools develop safe travel plans for walking and biking to school through the Safe Routes to School program.
- Work with school nurses to ensure that every child has insurance and a medical and dental home where they can receive consistent, quality care.
- Support families understanding recommended times for well-care visits, and what to expect at the visits following Bright Futures guidelines.
Central Vermont Highlights
We are proud of the 28 schools in our wider community for the many programs they have started to improve the health of their students, including:
- Tasty Testers, where students get to test and vote on the food that becomes part of their school menus.
- Jr. Iron Chefs, a statewide culinary competition that challenges teams of middle and high school students to create healthy, local dishes that inspire school meal programs.
- Safe Routes to School, a program that helps kids get to and from school safely. More than half of the schools in our district have Safe Routes to School!
- Running teams like Girls on the Run, which help girls in our community build confidence and form healthy habits that will stay with them throughout their lives.
- Empowerment groups for students like Students on the Move, Getting to Y, and Students Against Destructive Decisions.
- Mindfulness activities to teach students emotional regulation, compassion for others, and stress reduction techniques.
- School gardens, where students can learn how to grow, prepare, select, and eat healthy foods, getting them ready for a lifetime of better food choices. Gardens can also be used by school social workers, counselors and occupational therapists concerned with helping children meet social developmental milestones of childhood. According to an informal 2014 study, every school in Washington County has a school garden!
Karen, Public Health Nurse