It’s not uncommon to look at the schedule of an elementary school at the beginning of the school year and see Campus Open House. It’s also not uncommon to look at that same schedule further along in the year and see Math Night or Science Night. Frequently, the Math department plans a fun, family-friendly event for the students to engage in a variety of math-oriented activities. However, something that is less common on a school calendar is a PE night, Health night, or Wellness night. But why not? Isn’t PE just as crucial to a child’s success in school as math or science? And some (like myself) would argue a lot more fun! The concept of hosting a campus wellness event or family fitness night is slowly emerging across the country. As the spotlight on academic success shifts to a healthier child, the awareness of celebrating healthy behaviors and engaging in physical activity is catching on and gaining popularity.
What does a Campus Wellness Night look like?
- Host a cooking demonstration
- Hire a guest speaker who talks about healthy grocery shopping
- Include a variety of physical activities such as Zumba, yoga, and Pilates
- Set up informational booths with vendors from local health and wellness services
The bottom line is that it should fit the needs of your school and your student population.
How does one go about hosting a Campus Wellness Night?
- Create a committee – This shouldn’t be done by one person alone. Consider presenting it as an activity for your campus wellness committee to take on or if you are at the high school level, consider involving student groups like student council.
- Determine campus needs – Figure out what the greatest needs are for the students and teachers on campus and prioritize the education and services offered accordingly.
- Find local services you can request for little to no cost – Often times, local gyms and fitness centers are eager to send fitness instructors as a way to promote their business. Also, consider reaching out to your school district’s insurance provider to provide information on health insurance and also supply some incentives for attendees.
- Contact your local grocery store for healthy snacks – Invite local health-related businesses to set up an informational booth and request that they raffle off incentives like a free teeth whitening session or free health screenings.
- Contact local non-profit organizations – For example, try the American Heart Association or American Diabetes Association, who can provide information and education to the families.
- Set up fitness rotations – Have the PE teacher set up fitness rotations in the gym that families can go through and get a feel for what a typical day in PE is like. This is a great opportunity to showcase what all the kids are doing as well as teaching the parents proper ways to partake in physical activity.
Don’t forget to promote your event! Send out flyers and phone blasts to families. Post flyers in local community centers and businesses. Encourage the vendors to promote the event through their website.
Remember to start small. Don’t try to take on too much the first year or else you will be overwhelmed and unmotivated to do it again. Also, don’t be frustrated if you have low attendance the first year. Consider your timing and location and adjust the following year. January would be a fantastic time to get people back on track after the holiday season!
Today we feature Guest Blogger Stephanie Kellam, who is the Coordinator of Health and PE at Fort Bend Independent School District (FBISD) in Texas. She promotes fitness and nutrition-related wellness initiatives throughout FBISD by partnering with community organizations and school nurses, teachers, and administration to help educate children and their parents about the importance of developing lifelong healthy habits.