3. Teaching about healthy living
In the first part of this section, we identified key factors needed for healthy physical development. Now we investigate how your school can promote these ideas with the pupils and local community.
Having discussed using exercise and games in your lessons, you now need to promote the importance of a) good food, b) protection from illnesses, and c) clean surroundings, but this will have to be done sensitively.
This can be done by making the school a health-promoting environment.
This will involve discussion with the school staff, about:
- setting the school up as a good example for pupils and the community. To resource this, you may need to plan to involve the community and other people to work together, such as local health clinics and NGOs;
- encouraging healthy living practices in your school by having health promotion activities as part of the regular routine;
- having inputs from experts such as HIV/AIDS coordinators and health clinics. Who will be involved, and when?
Case Study 3: Holding a Sports Day to promote healthy development
Having used games in his lessons, Mr Nyamekye thought about other ways he could promote healthy development at school.
He decided to hold a school and community Games and Sports Day. Once a term, the whole school could compete at games and sports. This would involve sports like football, netball and running, but also some of the learning games such as one about the points of the compass that he had been using in lessons.
To plan this, he listed the people he should speak to, such as the head teacher, other teachers, the Parents/Teachers’ Association (PTA) and the pupils.
Having gained the support of the head teacher, he planned the competitions with the staff, some interested pupils and the PTA. First, they decided the time – it would start at 09.30 and finish at 12.30. Then they chose the different activities. They organised the games and races according to classes (making sure that any pupils with special needs were included), and wrote a schedule of activities for the session. Then they planned who would help on the day with announcements, results, prizes etc. – the PTA, the School Management Committee (SMC), the teachers and some older children.
They planned it over two to three weeks, which meant that it was well organised and a huge success.
Read Resource 5: Mr Nyamekye’s other ideas for health promotion for more ideas.
Key Activity: Problem solving for a healthier school environment
First, discuss the picture in Resource 6: Picture of an unhealthy school environment with your pupils and ask them to identify the problems in this school environment.
Organise your pupils to carry out a survey of your school environment to see if it is health promoting or health demoting. Send the children around the school in pairs or threes to note down anything in the school environment that fits into these categories.
Next, each pair/group presents their findings to the whole class. You make a list of their findings and put them on two posters on the wall – one for health promoting, one for health demoting. Discuss what needs to be done to make changes for a healthier school environment. Remember to celebrate the positive aspects of your school environment.
Ask your headteacher if you can present your findings to the whole school in assembly. Invite everyone in the school to form teams to tackle all the tasks that need changing to make your school environment fully health promoting.
You may need to ask parents or other community members for help. You will also have to encourage the children to be creative and think of ways to improve the school without spending a lot of money.