ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Getting Creative with School Staff Wellness

Post submitted by Ronda Rumig, educator, Halton District School Board, Oakville, Ontario, Canada.

Over the last two years, I have been privileged to work with a group of colleagues at Iroquois Ridge High School (a Healthy School Communities site) who all agreed that staff wellness was an important aspect of a healthy school community. We focused our efforts in a couple of areas: physical/emotional wellness and relationship building.

We increased opportunities for staff to come together in a variety of ways through exercise, social activities, and healthy eating. Some of our initiatives took place during staff development time and others during lunch or after school. Here are some of the activities that were most memorable to me.

  1. Exercise Activities: Staff were given the first hour of a professional development (PD) day to take part in one of many activities, including archery, yoga, table tennis, indoor soccer, an outdoor walk, and badminton. Our aim was to provide many different levels of activity and to include many different interests.
  2. Photo Scavenger Hunt: Staff were divided into teams and asked to bring in one digital camera per team. Each team was given 60 minutes to complete the scavenger hunt, which required them to visit different areas within the school and our immediate community outside of the school and take pictures at each stop. Teams were given points for a variety of categories, such as team with the most points, first team to finish, and most creative group photo.
  3. Team Games: We opened one PD day with a team game session. Staff were divided into teams and completed a circuit of games. The games included activities such as scooterboard races, riddle-solving, keeping several beach balls in the air, and using newspapers and limited amounts of tape to build the tallest free-standing building.
  4. Healthy Snacks: We provided staff with healthy snacks in the staffroom during exam days when they would be spending many hours grading. This is a one way to provide staff with not only healthy nutrition, but also some time to unwind and socialize with other staff members.
  5. Staff-Led Walks: We provided staff with a personal pedometer and invited them to take part in several walks offered throughout the day for a few weeks. We counted our steps and logged them toward a community initiative where trees would be planted for every 10,000 steps taken.
  6. Recipe Fridays: For several months, staff shared healthy recipes every Friday in an attempt to introduce each other to new and healthy ingredients.
  7. Bracelet Making: One PD day we joined our efforts as a staff to make several hemp bracelets to be sold to raise money for the school we were building in Haiti. This was an excellent opportunity to build relationships and do something to help our global community.

Comments (1)

Arts of the Spirit

May 17, 2012

All of the choices that you added to your school environment - although positive and well intentioned - were specific in content and action.  According to the commentary on Whole Child Education (newglobaled.org/whole-child-education.html), many explanations for WHole Child Learning utilize the phrase: INTEGRATED LEARNING EXPERIENCE. Take a look at my web site: http://www.artsofthespirit.net so that I can share how I have tried to create such integration.  When you imitate the tree as being rooted firmly in the ground but still able to move in response to the wind and you experience the breath as wind and produce the sound of your own voice to impact the response of the tree while singing and moving with other trees and wind blowers you are INTEGRATING THE LEARNING!  This kind of ENGAGEMENT comes about by utilizing the experiential response to the background music and in being in a safe environment in which each individual recognizes their own space and the space of others.  I have spent much of my life creating this kind of learning framework - and know how much time it takes to produce such an opportunity, which is why I am in the process of creating a product which will support any teacher or school who wishes to experiment with this concept.  Please take a look and let me know what you think! Sincerely, Jan magray smile

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