Building a Tradition of Wellness and Nutrition

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Wednesday November 23, 2016

At the intersection of wellness and mindfulness is a healthy school. As the harvest season becomes Thanksgiving season, Chamberlin families have been busy learning about, and appreciating, fresh, healthy foods within the school and beyond.

Learning

Chamberlin was fortunate to host Susie Merrick, Healthy Schools coordinator, at a recent Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) meeting. Susie shared that the South Burlington School District Wellness Committee was established last year as a group of school staff, students, and community members. They have a dedicated focus on the nutritional, physical, mental, and social and emotional wellness in our schools and greater community.

Susie shared the philosophy that diversity/inclusion/equity, mentoring, mindfulness, and wellness are interlocking parts of a whole, healthy school. Wellness was the topic of the night, and Chamberlin parents, staff, and community members attending the PTO meeting had an engaging discussion.

One topic of focus was the recent Smart Snack initiative. To make schools a healthier place to learn, parents and teachers are asked to follow USDA Smart Snacks guidelines; detailed information regarding the new guidelines is available on the school district’s website. Chamberlin School has embraced Smart Snacks, and has seamlessly transitioned movie nights, birthday celebrations, and popcorn sales to these healthier recommendations.

Parents and staff discussed another common goal: setting the table for good nutritional choices during fundraisers and celebrations. A wide array of resources is available on the South Burlington School District website and Vermont Feed (vermontfeed.org), including recipes and fundraising ideas. Additionally, the list of national brands that meet Smart Snack guidelines is especially helpful when looking for quick choices on the grocery store shelf.

Enjoying

Another way that Chamberlin school has embraced a culture of wellness and nutrition is to get outside of the classroom. A recent trip to Bread and Butter Farm on Cheese Factory Road gave Chamberlin’s youngest students a chance to taste the sweet leaves of winter kale, and spend some time with the farm’s educators. Bread and Butter Farm is a community farm committed to raising and growing animals and plants in the most natural way, focusing on health from the soil up. Among other products, the farm produces a diverse array of nutrient packed greens year-round. On a recent Thursday, students were excited to step out of the November drizzle into the covered greenhouse that is home to rows upon rows of vibrant, leafy greens. They tasted fresh cilantro, spinach, and kale, discovering new flavors and favorites. Time spent on the farm engaged the senses and inspired curiosity about seasonal, local food.

While at the farm, conversations turned to a recent kale recipe on the cafeteria menu. As it was recently National Farm to School month, students had enjoyed kale pesto on the menu. Equally delicious on pasta and pizza, this recipe can work with the dark leafy greens you have on hand.

Chamberlin School is excited about these continued efforts to enhance health and well-being. As they say, “See you at lunch!”

SOURCE: Catherine Wisloski, Chamberlin PTO