Since children spend an average of six hours per day in school, schools are fundamental to fostering the whole child’s development. We count on our schools to provide healthful, safe learning environments. We expect a lot of our schools, and there are federal, state and local regulations, as well as district policies that delineate these expectations. At the individual school level, the capacity to maximize the potential in these expectations is widely varied. For example, all schools which receive federal funding for the Free and Reduced-Price Breakfast and Lunch programs are required to have a wellness policy on record. The federal law dictates the minimum of what needs to be included in the policy—it does not specify how to implement or enforce it. Some schools do not have the resources or the know-how to take action.
There are many valuable initiatives in this area, and resources are stretched. In tandem with broader community-school efforts, the real opportunity lies in harnessing the potential at the school level. Each school has unique assets and challenges, and teachers, parents and children in each school have the solutions to these challenges. Successful Healthy Children helps these key players identify and implement solutions which strengthens the school’s capacity and fosters ownership and resilience within each child, teacher and parent, which will carry forward into our communities.