Ecole Saint Catherine’s School - Choosing to Thrive
Ecole Saint Catherine's School Parent Teacher Association
Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3L 3P7
September 23, 2012
Between 100 - 1,000
The choices we make are shaped by the choices we have.
Increase Physical Activity and Access to Healthy Food for Students and Staff
To visit Ecole Saint Catherine’s Elementary School (ESCS) in the west end of Halifax, Nova Scotia is to realize right away that this school has something special going on. We are a diverse blend of 435 people where you can choose to learn in an English or French Immersion program.
We are a growing school experiencing a 25% increase in enrollment since 2008. The school community includes students from the western part of central Halifax; families living in nearby military housing as well as student from a large public housing complex called Bayers Westwood. The Bayers Westwood community includes a large number of Newcomers, as well as other diverse groups, including African Nova Scotian families.
ESCS is the closest, public playground for both the Bayers Westwood and military communities and the school grounds are used extensively by community in evenings and on weekends.
The building and grounds themselves date from the 1950’s, and over the past 8 years, there has been enormous community effort to revitalize the school playground and build and maintain a large school garden.
A recent school survey of students, staff and families agree that one area we need to focus on is to provide engaging spaces that encourage further outdoor exploration and active play.
The Thrive initiative in Nova Scotia aims to increase the health of all Nova Scotians (https://thrive.novascotia.ca/about-thrive). We will provide our students with the choices to increase their physical activity and access to healthy food allowing them to "thrive"
Increase Physical Activity
During the school day our students currently receive gym class twice a week with free play time at recess and lunch.
1. Free Play Equipment Lockers ($4600)
Provide each class with a locker of equipment aimed at increasing active play. Sample contents would include balls, skipping ropes and seasonal loose parts play items like snow shovels for winter forts and pop up tents for late spring. Equipment (17 classes * $200) $3400, Outdoor storage locker material and construction $1200.
2. Playground Naturalization for Free Play ($3000)
As our playground space is limited in relation to our growing student population, space is at a premium. A section of our space that is a bare patch of mud or ice most of the year is to be reclaimed for playground equipment. The installation of the equipment cannot proceed until the site is readied with pea gravel. Pea gravel $3000.
3. Organized Physical Activity ($1000)
A yearlong series of exercise opportunities for our students and staff including yoga, zumba, floor hockey, basketball, volleyball, soccer, and skipping. As well as exposing students and staff to a range of activities, the program will be evaluated to guide the Parent Teacher Association and school administration on what activities engage groups that do not traditionally participate in physical activities. Knowing what works will help the PTA invest its school raised dollars. We will take advantage of being a “university town” and work with local varsity athletes to provide mentoring and instruction in their specific sport. Time slots for the exercise opportunities will be before school, lunch break and after school. Instruction and Equipment $1000.
Ready Access to Healthy Foods
Our Parent Teacher Association’s commitment to healthy foods is evident through their funded programs already in place at Ecole Saint Catherine’s School:
- Healthy free breakfast program that feeds ~ 40 students a day who would otherwise not normally have eaten breakfast due to financial or time constraints
- Smart Snack program that provides free nutritious recess snacks twice a week free to all students.
- A thriving school garden where all students are involved in planting and help harvesting to gain appreciation of local food options.
4. Equipment for food preparation and student cooking workshops ($3000)
With some basic equipment purchases we could increase our ability to produce in-house healthy meals and snacks to our students starting with produce from our own garden. Result is a decrease in purchased packaged foods providing increased nutritional value and decreased packaging waste. Stove, mixing bowls, mixer, muffin trays, cooling racks.$3000
Our project takes the approach of establishing multiple initiatives to create a culture of physical activity and healthy food choices.
A vote for our project is a promise of students ready to learn.
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