A Focus on Wellness at Fairwood Elementary

Fairwood Elementary, in partnership with Generations Community Wellness (Generations), a Sunnyvale based non-profit organization, has passed a School Employee Wellness policy as part of a comprehensive School Wellness approach established during the 2011-12 school year. This policy helps to create a healthier school environment through promotion of nutrition and physical activity.
Thanks to funding from Kaiser Permanente and their exceptional community benefit programs, Generations was also able to bring their unique Movetrition program to kindergarten and first grade students at Fairwood, reaching over 130 children.

The eight week Movetrition program taught students the importance and benefits of eating fruit and vegetables and moving their bodies.  Using costumes and animation, healthy food comes to life right before their eyes! During each 50 minute class, children were introduced to a new character that taught them the benefits of fruits and vegetables while engaging them in interactive activities that taught age-appropriate motor skills such as running, jumping, and balance.

First grade teacher, Ms. Byrne, dressed up as a banana for Movetrition.

Each week children were also read a story and brought home Family Educational Handouts aligned with the weekly themes. Families were encouraged to cook healthy recipes and play new games together. Movetrition was kicked off in February 2012 with Kaiser’s “The Best Me” Educational Theatre Assembly, once again bringing the message of healthy eating and physical activity to the kids.

Students at Fairwood will also be engaging in hands-on learning in their new school garden thanks to a group of dedicated parents, volunteers from Americorps, and funding from Healthtrust and First 5. On March 31, 2012 37 Americorps volunteers joined Fairwood parents to install 7 new garden beds and plant 12 fruit trees donated by Fairwood families.  Rita Chavez-Medina (sister of Cesar Chavez) kicked off the workday, speaking of Cesar Chavez’ commitment to service to the community, and breaking ground in the new garden.  The garden, an integral part of Fairwood’s focus on wellness, will be used to teach students hands-on science lessons, as well as inspire students to make healthy food choices.

Some of the new garden boxes at Fairwood.
Scores of volunteers help install planter boxes at Fairwood.
With his cousin Marcello Urbano-Paras looking on (at left, in blue), Fairwood student Miles Urbano plants a tree in memory of his late grandfather during the phase 2 garden construction gathering at Fairwood Elementary .

First 5 and Healthtrust are also providing organic farm boxes to families with children 5 or under for just $5.00.  During this 12 week program, CalFRESH eligible families will receive a farm box once a week. The farm box has all the fresh fruits and vegetables a family needs for a week. A farm box might include broccoli, carrots, kale, lettuce,  oranges, potatoes, plums, strawberries and zucchini.  Families interested in signing up for the program are encouraged to call 408-464-8170.

These wonderful community partners are helping to ensure Fairwood students learn the importance of healthy eating and exercise, and the school community is grateful for their support.

Article by Sarah Tellez, Principal, Fairwood Elementary

Special thanks to photographers John Medina (for SVCN) and Susan Murthy

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