Physical Activity Section
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1. Adding physical activity into the school day
Before the first bell rings
- walking school bus programs for students that live close to the campus
- early morning energizing activity groups where kids congregate
In the classroom
- incorporate frequent short activity breaks after 1-2 lessons
- educational materials on the walls
In the gym/recess
- incorporate wellness activities
- allow time for organized as well as supervised free play
- community gardens, parks and recreation facilities
- individual, class, and school recognition for meeting goals
- create school-wide competitions such as field days
2. Adding physical activity after school
a. After school programs for your students, teachers and staff
b. Joint or Shared Use Agreements (SUA)
- How do they work?
- Joint agreement between school district and city or county.
- Provides students and the local community with the facilities such as gyms, playgrounds, fields and courts for physical activity outside of regular school hours.
- Each party helps fund the development and shares costs and responsibilities for maintaining the facilities.
- National Policy & Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN)
- Resources on how to set up a SUA and addressing liabilities.
- MPH Salud – Transforming Texas Program
- Joint Use Agreement Template from.
- SPARK School Park Program
- A local Houston area program that helps public schools develop their playgrounds into public parks.
- School principals should send a request to SPARK to be considered. The SPARK Board meets every March to make their site selections for the upcoming school year.
- Contact: Executive Director Kathleen T. Ownby, [email protected].
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1. After School Achievement Program (ASAP) with the Houston Parks and Recreation Department
- The City of Houston funds schools and non-profit agencies to provide after-school programming for elementary and middle school-age youth through ASAP.
- ASAP activities are offered during the school year, September to June, Monday-Friday, generally between 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.
- Funded schools and organizations set their own curricula in collaboration with students, teachers, parents, and program partners. Curricula must cover four components: Academic Enhancement, Skill Development, Enrichment, and Community Involvement.
2. CAN DO Houston (Children and Neighbors Defeat Obesity)
- CANDOHouston serves as a coordinating center to promote and support grassroots initiatives. They empower individuals from neighborhoods at greater risk for childhood obesity to advocate for changes in healthy eating and active living in their communities. Their vast partnerships help fill the gap between existing resources and neighborhoods in need.
- Serves the following communities: Fifth Ward, Independence Heights, Magnolia Park, Near Northside and Sunnyside.
- Their programs include:
- Community and School Gardens – program for planting vegetable gardens in various Houston schools and communities as well as a junior master gardener program.
- Health in Action – a 6 to 9 week program with weekly sessions that focus on the prevention of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes. Each session is comprised of health education, art projects, physical activity, and a healthy snack.
- Healthy Corner Store – coordinating healthy fresh food delivery to local corner stores. Items can be purchased with food stamps in neighborhoods classified as food deserts.
- Healthy Lifestyle Program – a 6-week nutrition program that includes building a healthy meal, recipe makeovers, cooking classes, and a physical activity component.
- Leadership and Advocacy Program – aimed towards those who have completed the Healthy Lifestyles program, this 8-week course gives participants the leadership tools and techniques to advocate for change in their community environment.
- Mobile Produce Unit – their goal is to improve access to healthy options by bringing local vendors into community spaces (near schools with which they are involved) and providing produce at reduced prices.
3. Fuel Up to Play 60
- An in school physical activity and nutrition program founded by National Dairy Council and the National Football League in collaboration with United States Department of Agriculture.
- This free program uses the star-power of the NFL to encourage students to eat healthy (consume low-fat and fat-free dairy foods, fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and get active for at least 60 minutes every day.
- Enables individuals (teachers, parents, volunteers) to sign up as program advisors for their schools. There are Six Steps which can be done in any order to help schools implement Fuel Up to Play 60.
- Website allows for tracking of achievements and provides free resources.
- Grant funding opportunities are available through an application process to support Fuel Up To Play 60 implementation. See grants section or visit their website for more details.
- Local contact: Chaun Vaughn [email protected], and Sandra Castro [email protected].
4. Girls on the Run Greater Houston
- 10 week after school program for girls in 3rd-8th grade.
- The curriculum focuses on social, mental and physical development and encourages an appreciation of fitness and lifetime healthy habits.
- Visit the website for more information on how to start a site or to find a current location.
5. Marathon Kids
- Nonprofit organization whose marquee program is the 26.2 Mile Challenge, an evidence-based, school-based, running/walking program for children.
- The organization partners with elementary schools and students run/walk the distance of at least one full marathon (26.2 miles) over the course of several months.
- Registration occurs each year in the fall. Check the website for details.
6. Playworks Texas
- Playworks is a national nonprofit organization that supports learning by providing safe, healthy and inclusive play and physical activity to schools during recess and throughout the entire school day.
- Training programs (half-day workshops to full-year immersions) are available for groups of 10 or more. Depending on the school’s staff, budget, and goals, they can help select the option that’s best for your school, district, or youth organization. Additional consultation visits after workshop completion, and a playbook of games for kids are available.
- Local full-time Houston branch exists and is already working with some Spring Branch, Alief, and Houston ISD schools.
- To qualify for a full-time Playworks coach, at least 50 percent of student enrollment must qualify for free/reduced lunch.
- Contact: Hector Salazar ([email protected]) or Texas Program Director Lee Elliot ([email protected])
7. Teach Healthier App from It’s Time Texas
- This is a free app for use on a smart phone or tablet that allows educators to easily incorporate health, fitness and nutrition lessons into daily learning for all grade levels.
- Developed with funding from SNAP-Ed and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas in conjunction with The University of Texas School of Public Health – Austin Regional Campus.
- It provides more than 200 easy-to-follow lessons and activities with integrated timers, diagrams, nutrition facts and more.
8. Texas Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program
- The National Center for SRTS was established in 2006 and assists states and communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bicycle to school.
- The Texas Department of Transportation supports this initiative and is part of the SRTS National Partnership. Various funding sources are available.
- Download the online Guidebook for more information on how to get a SRTS program started.
9. The Woods Project
- Their mission is to teach youth life skills such as leadership, self-control, adaptability and perseverance through wilderness experiences.
- After school clubs, weekend trips and summer programs consist of outdoor activities like hiking, canoeing, and kayaking, along with teaching youth about environmental awareness.
- Children enrolled at partner schools can participate in after school clubs and weekend programs for free, and summer programs for a fee, however fundraising opportunities are available.
- Their annual 5K fundraiser occurs every spring.
10. YMCA of Greater Houston
- Offer an extensive list of services and programs including health and wellness classes, and youth sports.
- MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it!)
- A free, 10-week, after-school weight management course where overweight and obese children between 7 and 13 years old, and their families, learn how to develop behaviors that support sustainable healthy lifestyles.
- Not currently open to the public, only children enrolled in a research study through Baylor College of Medicine.
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1. Action for Healthy Kids
- This organization’s goal is to help schools become healthier places so kids can live healthier lives. Their Every Kid Healthy Equation focuses on 3 areas—helping schools develop action plans, implementing strong health programs, and school-family-community partnerships.
- The Tools for Schools section includes “Game On,” a tool for assessing areas of need, implementing programs, applying for funding, and monitoring progress.
- Information is available on educational webinars, local trainings and conferences, and do it yourself activities to try in school.
- Texas page- http://www.actionforhealthykids.org/in-your-state/texas/welcome
2. BOKs – Build Our Kids’ Success
- A morning physical activity program that has kids begin their day with a 45-minute dose of fun including running, playing, and exercise before school starts.
- Organized into a 12-week curriculum delivered twice a school year, once in the fall and again in the spring.
- Every session is broken down into five segments: warm-up, running activity, skill of the week, fun game, and cool down with a nutrition talk.
3. Eat Well and Keep Moving
- Curriculum designed by the Harvard School of Public Health.
- Six interlinked components— classroom education, physical education, school-wide promotional campaigns, food service, staff wellness, and parent and community involvement.
- Curriculum for teaching nutrition and physical activity to
- 4th and 5th grade students—http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/prc/projects/eat-well-keep-moving/
- 6th to 8th grade students— http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/prc/projects/planet/
4. The Great Body Shop
- Texas Education Agency (TEA) approved coordinated school health program that provides a coordinated school health model aligned with national and state standards for grades PreK-8.
- Comprehensive health education curriculum with 8 basic components:
- 1. Health education
- 2. Physical Education
- 3. Health Services
- 4. Nutrition Services
- 5. Counseling, Psychological and Social Services
- 6. Healthy School Environment
- 7. Health Promotion for Staff
- 8. Family/Community Involvement
- Kits include curriculum materials and implementation guides for teachers, staff and administrators. Training programs are also available for teachers and staff to attend. Materials are available in English and Spanish for teachers, students and parents.
5. Healthy Schools Program from Alliance for a Healthier Generation
- An evidence-based initiative that helps schools create and sustain healthy environments where students can learn better and flourish.
- Enrolled schools can use the CDC’s School Health Index, a self-assessment and planning guide to identify strengths and weaknesses and develop an action plan.
- Also includes a searchable resource database with videos, printables, websites and curricula to help make healthy changes for students and staff.
- Smart snacks product calculator helps determine if foods you are offering meet the USDA Smart Snacks in School Guidelines. (https://www.healthiergeneration.org/productcalculator)
- The websites features many individual school stories and how they developed successful programs.
- Non-profit organization dedicated to bringing balanced and active play into the lives of all children.
- Community focused efforts across the nation demonstrate significant collaboration among nonprofit partners, foundations, municipal agencies, the business community, and local civic groups.
- To help cities build awareness, political capital, and influence public policy, KaBOOM! identified 12 relevant and innovative best practices in play.
7. Lets Move! Active Schools
- Part of Michelle Obama’s wellness campaign, this initiative facilitates incorporation of physical activity before, during, or after school for at least 60 minutes per day.
- The six step process includes completing an action plan online and generating an interactive to online to do list.
- Schools can achieve “Active School” designation by building five core elements into every child’s experience:
- Quality PE
- Physical activity during class time
- Before and after school programs to get kids moving
- Committed staff that know physical activity is non-negotiable
- Engaged families and community members
8. Mollen Foundation
- Provides school based programs through partnerships with district and local school sites.
- Programs are free of charge for school age children and emphasize healthy living skills through nutrition education and physical activity.
- Instruction is facilitated by certified teachers and community experts through engaging interactive technology and hands on experiments and projects. They also offer community based initiatives and community garden programs.
- Texas Education Agency (TEA) approved coordinated school health program that is dedicated to creating, implementing, and evaluating programs that promote lifelong wellness.
- SPARK provides evidence-based Coordinated School Health programs to teachers and recreation leaders for PreK-12th grade. Programs include physical education, Classroom Activities and Recess, Early Childhood and After school.
- SPARK packages include assistance with project coordination, curriculum materials, onsite teacher training, assessment/evaluation materials and follow up support.
- Free online resources include some sample lesson plans, webinars, and a grant finding tool to help schools obtain funding resources.
- Contact the Texas Program Representative for details on how to start a program— Nicole Roberts, [email protected], 512-673-0511.
10. Walking School Bus and Kids Walk-To-School
- Resources guides on promoting walking to school and developing a walk to school route
11. 100 Mile Club
- Program to motivate students to participate in physical activity. The goal is for each student to run or walk 100 miles throughout the school year. The organization works with registered schools to develop a plan on how to accomplish this goal.
- Ongoing support through bi-weekly newsletters, media tools and other resources. Supplies and incentive packages also available for purchase.
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