This year, Chester East Lincoln and New Holland Middletown Elementary School took a large step toward creating a healthy school environment for their students. As one of two pilot schools in Logan County, CEL is participating in the CATCH program, Coordinated Approach to Child Health.
Both schools completed a school health assessment to determine strengths and areas for improvement regarding creating a healthy school. Teachers, staff, and administration were trained in the CATCH program and have implemented its principles this school year. The curriculum was paid for by the We Choose Health grant funded by the Illinois Department of Public Health and locally administered by the Logan County Department of Public Health. Healthy Communities Partnership has also provided support and funding for CATCH activities.
CATCH is the most proven program to prevent childhood obesity and launch kids and communities toward healthier lifestyles. By impacting a child’s nutrition, level of physical activity, classroom environment and community, CATCH has changed lives in over 10,000 schools and communities nationwide. The program is available for preschool levels up to eighth grade and offers an after school curriculum. CATCH is a fun way to promote child health through all aspects of school including the classrooms, child nutrition services, physical education, parents, and the broader school community. Both schools were provided with curriculum and an extensive selection of physical education equipment at the beginning of the school year.
As a result, Chester East Lincoln has incorporated new physical education curriculum promoting moderate to vigorous exercise at least 50% of the PE classroom time. Additionally, they have incorporated healthy taste testings to expose students to healthy foods and introduce them to the concept of GO, SLOW and WHOA foods. GO foods are good to eat almost anytime and include things like fresh fruits and low-fat milk. SLOW foods are sometimes foods that aren’t off limits but shouldn’t be eaten everyday i.e. waffles and pancakes. WHOA foods are the least healthy foods that are most likely to cause weight problems and are considered once-in-a-while foods i.e. french fries.
“Mindy Spear is the Physical Education teacher at CEL and she has been a great champion of the CATCH program this year. Her passion is what has ensured that CATCH was kept top of mind this year. CATCH really makes the healthy choice the easy choice, and Mindy is a big part of making sure we are headed there at CEL,” said Angela Stoltzenburg, HCP manager.
Healthy Communities Partnership looks forward to working with other Logan County and eastern Mason County schools to provide CATCH curriculum and physical education equipment as part of its work to create a healthy community. If your school is interested in CATCH for fall 2015, please contact HCP manager Angela Stoltzenburg at 217-605-5008.