Now that school is back in full swing, we shift our attention to the fall, football, and, of course, school and after-school activities. Many of us remember what school was like. We had English, reading, math, science and most of us had recess.
Not much has changed in today’s schools. As expected, there is still a great amount of importance placed on the three R’s, reading, writing, and arithmetic. However, in addition to promoting our student’s intellectual growth, it is also very important to promote our student’s emotional and physical growth as well. Students simply learn better when they feel safe and secure. This feeling of security doesn’t apply to a specific age, gender or ethnicity. When our needs are met; we are more confident and better prepared to advance.
The Coordinated School Health Program (CSHP) attempts to provide the framework for schools to coordinate the child’s intellectual growth, while addressing their emotional and physical health. Promoted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CSHP consists of eight interactive components. The program takes into account that schools alone can not address all of the problems student’s will face, but can serve as the conduit to find the person or persons in the community to assist. Through this collaboration, the greatest needs are addressed and the necessary changes are implemented.
The CDC recognizes that even with all of the impact the schools can provide others desperately need to be involved. Families, health care workers, faith-based and community-based organizations who work with the schools can become powerful allies in creating a culture of change in the school and in the community. The CDC understands that each school and school district will be stronger in certain areas and have greater needs in other areas. Some schools will have access to more resources than other schools, but by investing available resources into a coordinated school health program schools and communities can see positive changes occur.
Eight components form the basis of the CSHP model in addressing what children need to have available to promote overall health. The eight components include:
Health Education: CSHP recommends a planned and sequential K-12 curriculum that focuses on the physical, mental, and emotional health of every child. Children, from the earliest age, are shown the importance of healthy choices in their lives and in the lives of their loved ones. Health education demonstrates how decisions made today might affect their quality of life years down the road.
Physical Education: CSHP also recommends a planned and sequential K-12 curriculum that promotes regular physical activity. This is more than just recess. Instead, it is recognizing the importance of physical activity in our children’s daily lives and integrating physical activity into other learning activities to create a synergy between the two. Children are given the opportunity to be physically active every day and learn the importance of regular activity for their lifetime.
Health Services: Health Services provide a way for children to find access to health care through the schools. With appropriate services on their campuses where students can address and report health concerns or needs, schools can serve as the initial point of contact for addressing the child’s individual need.
Nutrition Services: CSHP addresses the importance of healthy and nutritious meals for children in school. School meals are based on credible resources such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and other standards of nutrition integrity. Nutrition services also serve as a model of good nutrition, while reinforcing the importance of nutrition in one’s overall health.
Counseling and Psychological Services: It is vitally important that schools and community address the overall health of their students. This includes appropriate counseling and access to psychological services to address their students’ particular needs. Student’s need to feel safe and they need to feel safe at school. Adequate counseling and psychological services not only increase the child’s safety, but the overall safety of the school.