If you’re like many parents, choosing a community to settle down and raise your family requires several considerations. These can include proximity to where you work, being close to extended family and friends, or the overall condition and ‘health’ of the community itself. Another consideration that is extremely important to parents is the quality of education available in the area. Parents want to know that their children will receive the best education possible. However, more and more parents not only want their children to attend an award-winning school but a healthy school. As recent studies are showing, attending a school that is mentally and physically health-conscious greatly increases the chances of a child’s success in education and beyond. Healthy schools can also have a great impact on successfully developing healthy communities.
What is a healthy school?
The label of healthy school can be applied fairly easily, but actually qualifying as such can be a bit more difficult. The qualities of a healthy school create an environment that helps students to prioritize their mental and physical well-being while still receiving an excellent education. In most cases, the school must balance the needs for a healthy physical environment, access to care and nutrition, excellent health education, and a system that allows students to understand and embrace the types of lifestyles that lead to a better quality of life.
A healthy school environment
A healthy school environment requires a number of different components. As one might expect, at least part of the equation is purely physical – the school must provide a safe and healthy environment in which students may thrive. At the same time, the school has to take steps to ensure that students have access to the things that allow them to make better health choices, including:
- A cafeteria that offers healthy food options
- Proper exercise facilities
It’s also helpful for the school to provide a physical location that won’t unduly tax students on a mental level, trading out institutional designs for those that are better suited for stimulating minds and helping students to better manage their own mental health.
Health programs in schools
The health programs put into place by these schools can vary greatly. An example of some of the programs include physical education classes, mandatory health and nutrition classes, team sports and school counseling services. Many schools also have nutrition programs that offer students a healthy meal each day. Other schools might have clubs dedicated to mental health or physical exercise, some of which might be offered both during the school day and outside of school hours.
How do healthy schools help foster healthy communities?
Schools are an important part of a community, and with community support, can influence a community’s success. The existence of a health-focused school can have a huge impact on its surrounding community, both through bettering the lives of the students who attend the school and through its wider influence on the community at large. They can also act as a social hub as many parents gather for athletic and academic events in support of their children. A healthy, happy school can have a big impact on helping a community and its students thrive through injecting positive morale.
Providing a Healthy Educational Environment
Students who attend healthier schools may have an advantage over their peers. These schools offer not only a great academic education but also an education that helps to promote healthier lifestyles. Children who attend these schools may have a better understanding of what they need to do to be healthy adults, not only in terms of physical activity but in terms of their greater overall health. From a better understanding of how their body’s work to a greater base of knowledge when it comes to personal care, students who are given the chance to attend a health-focused school can go out and make changes in the overall health of the community they live in.
Better access to physical activities and amenities
It should also be noted that these schools are important because they provide the physical location and tools necessary for children to pursue a less sedentary lifestyle. While one might look at technology as the primary motivator for less active children, the truth is that many children have an easier time choosing to be physically active if they have a safe and supportive environment in which to exercise. Schools that provide everything a child needs to be active are usually full of children who make use of those amenities and continue to do so when they go out into the greater community.
Healthy Schools in Vistancia
Vistancia provides a fantastic example of healthy schools in action. The community is either home to or closely accessible to a number of a public schools and top-ranked charter schools, many of which have a heavy focus on the health and well-being of their students. These schools provide not only meals that have to certain meet nutritional criteria and fantastic educational opportunities for students, but they are provided the types of amenities students need to embrace their own physical goals. Ranging from great fitness clubs to top-flight sports teams, the schools make it easy for a child to embrace a healthier lifestyle. If you want to learn more about the healthy living amenities in Vistancia and within its schools, make sure to sign up for the community’s newsletter, and visit the Vistancia Information Center for details about floorplans, builders, and the variety of amenities and opportunity for a holistic, healthy lifestyle that we can offer you and your family.