Five Habits of Successful School Wellness Programs


#GimmeFive - School Wellness


I am taking the First Lady's #GimmeFive Challenge and sharing five habits of successful school wellness programs. If you have something to add to the list, share it in the comments below!


Five Habits of Successful School Wellness Programs

#1: The well-being of teachers and staff is the #1 priority!


I adamantly believe that the most important success criteria for any school-based program is full support from the teachers and staff. In terms of school wellness, the health and well-being of teachers and staff must be the first priority. Teachers and staff must have a solid understanding of wellness and have an honest understanding of his/her personal well-being. Additionally, teachers must completely buy-in to a school wellness program. If they don't have an accurate understanding of wellness or if they have a low level of well-being, they won't buy-in to a wellness program for students. Therefore, the well-being of teachers and staff must be the #1 priority!



#2: The teachers, administrators, and support staff recognize and accept building and reinforcing healthy habits of its students as a social responsibility!


In my opinion, schools have a social responsibility to teach and reinforce the habits of health and wellness. As students spend thousands of hours in a classroom, schools possess an immensely powerful influence. The reality is that a student's health and well-being will be influenced one way or another while attending school. Teachers, administrators, and support staff must recognize this truth and be proactive by establishing an intentional focus on health and wellness.



#3: All components of health and wellness are intentionally focused on throughout the school experience.


Unfortunately, many schools solely focus on physical health while neglecting the other equally important dimensions of health and wellness. Schools with successful wellness programs understand that health and wellness is multi-dimensional, encompassing every area of life. Schools with successful wellness programs recognize each dimension as equally important and work to intentionally enhance each component in the lives of each student.



#4: Health and wellness education is not limited to P.E. courses, instead it is emphasized and advocated throughout the entire school day!


While physical education is enormously important and should not be overlooked, health and wellness education must extend beyond the P.E. classroom. I think most teachers shutter when they hear statements like this as it ignites a fear of adding more to their already overloaded plate. But I am here to say have no fear, implementing health and wellness into your classroom can be simple and painless! I promise. When I say that health and wellness is active throughout the entire school day, I don't mean that every class highlights each component of health on a daily basis. I simply mean that teachers of every subject are aware of health and wellness and actively looking for ways to enhance the well-being of students. This could be as simple as having students regularly journal (emotional wellness) or as big as organizing a career fair (occupational wellness) and connected students to community members within various career-fields.


#5: Schools regularly collaborates with local stakeholders (parents/guardians, community members, local business/organizations, etc...) to enhance the well-being of students.

Finally, schools with successful health and wellness programs collaborate with other individuals, businesses, and organizations who are passionate about enhancing the lifelong well-being of students. It is important to remember that a single person does not have to do it all. In every community, there are many people who have a passion for healthy living that they want to share! Call upon those who want to help and share the task of empowering students with tools, knowledge, and skills for a lifetime of health and happiness!


Thanks, FLOTUS for this awesome challenge! Now, I am off to Twitter so I can check out other people's creative and inspiring #GimmeFive list!

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Hello. I'm  Janelle!

A middle school health teacher turned curriculum developer. I'm on a mission to share the easiest-to-teach, most impactful health lesson plans on the Internet. Because your time and energy is better spent on teaching and connecting, not on planning and prep.

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