Have you considered connecting schools in your area and offering collective support with health and wellbeing and parent engagement? Schools have the opportunity to learn from each other and celebrate the great work being done to promote health and wellbeing.
Eastern Health established the Yarra Valley Health Promoting Schools network in 2017 to provide collective health and wellbeing support to all primary and secondary schools in the Yarra Valley. Previously Eastern Health had implemented a healthy eating program, Crunch and Munch in 4 primary schools. Following the evaluation of this program, the decision was made to broaden the reach and approach of our work in schools by offering all schools the opportunity for support across a range of health priorities identified by the schools. The network provides support to all schools via information updates, workshops and forums where schools can celebrate wellbeing achievements, share learning and hear from expert speakers. It also offers schools individual support to implement whole of school, evidenced-based programs such as the Healthy Schools Achievement Program and Respectful Relationships.
Networking the schools rather than working in isolation with individual schools provides the opportunity for shared learning between schools, advice and inspiration to strengthen health and wellbeing activities, and a platform to celebrate achievements. It also takes equity into account ensuring all schools have the opportunity to access support rather than a select few schools receiving all the support.
School parents/carers and staff can access best practice health and wellbeing information via the network. The network’s most recent forum was the Raising Resilient Kids Parent and Community Forum which featured guest speaker, clinical psychologist and best-selling author, Andrew Fuller and student representatives from 3 schools who delivered presentations on how their school was supporting resilience and respect. One hundred and sixty-five people attended the forum and an impressive 34 schools were represented. The majority of the audience were parents but 20 teachers from local schools and 6 health professionals also benefited from attending.
The forum was well received:
“Andrew Fuller was great! I’m also so impressed by the work being done in primary schools”.
“It inspired me to build a better stronger relationship with my son”.
“It inspired me to have more discussion in my family”.
Think about connecting schools in your area to facilitate shared learning and resources to support the health and wellbeing of school aged children at a population level.Submit your story!