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Fresh Start - Healthy Eating, Active Living

Exemplary Innovative Practice Awards 2015-2016


School:  St Thomas Aquinas
Principal: Maria Bernardi
Superintendent: Gina Iuliano Marrello
Trustee: Maria Rizzo

This year at St. Thomas Aquinas School, our project, FRESH START:  Active Living- Healthy Eating, became an all-inclusive community project where staff, students, community helpers along with family members initiated, participated and encouraged developing new habits that focused on healthy eating and active living.

School wide activities were introduced to model and integrate a healthier life style.   The school agreed to incorporate school wide DPA sessions, led by grade eight student leaders, in each homeroom.  These leaders programmed and created a realistic Daily Physical Activity for 20 minutes that incorporated a warm-up exercise, continuing with sustained moderate to vigorous exercise, and finally, finishing with a cool down movement.

The Public Health nurse from Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention began facilitating classroom workshops and programs pertaining to Stress/Wellness and Substance Misuse Prevention workshops.  School staff hosted a Family Community night which also began with a keynote speaker from Public Health discussing Oral Health and what that looks like for children, as they begin to grow and what they can begin doing independently.  After the keynote session, parents had a choice of six different workshops to attend.  School staff organized and led various workshops for families in each category (3) Healthy Eating and (3) Active Living.  Parents were given a passport to get stamped to ensure there was participation in each category.

The 6 workshops were:
• Healthy Snack workshop
• Healthy Lunches workshop
• Smoothie workshop
• Zumba workshop
• You Dance workshop
• Yoga workshop

Parents were able to receive information about healthy snacks and healthy living, including ideas for active play and participation with their children.  Students became motivated and energized and enjoyed preparing nutritional snacks.  Packages were given to each family that included: recipes, Canada’s Food Guide, menu planner, website information for exercise activities, etc.

Our school recently got approval from the Ministry to have the Snack Nutritional program incorporated into our community.

Link to "FRESH START" Video