Health in Motion: St. Bernard School
Aug 23

Health in Motion: St. Bernard School

By Elizabeth Mick and Bernadette Hartman, St. Bernard School

This article is a part of a series called Health in Motion brought you by Let’s Move Pittsburgh. Health in Motion is intended to showcase the efforts of schools and community organizations in the Pittsburgh region who are leading children to a healthier future. A new project with a guest author or interviewee will be featured each month. Let’s Move Pittsburgh hopes that Health in Motion will encourage leaders to adopt healthy programs in their communities and inspire readers to make healthy changes in their own lives.

This past spring, St. Bernard School hosted its first school-wide Wellness Day. Students in grades 1 - 8 traveled by grade level throughout the school to four different stations, focusing on healthy eating, exercising, mindfulness and gardening. (An abridged version of the day was planned for preschool and kindergarten students.) Here is a preview of our successful day:

  • TASTE THE RAINBOW: In the cafeteria, students sampled smoothies and learned about all of the fruits – AND VEGETABLES – that can be used to make a healthy blended drink. This activity was a fun way to introduce vitamins and nutrients to elementary school students. We were surprised by how many of our kids had never tried a smoothie before! Also in this station, students made DIY trail mixes (all gluten and nut-free) to take home with them. This station was hosted by Farm-to-Table Pittsburgh, a group that provides local food programs for schools, employers and community groups. Click here to learn more about how this organization can bring food assemblies to your school!
  • WALK THE TALK: To kick off our walking club, groups of students met outside for an opportunity to learn about fitness while in the fresh air. Led by our physical education teacher and parent volunteers, students learned about proper stretching techniques, how to use a pedometer and how much sugar is in sports drinks like Gatorade. After walking across our campus and comparing their estimated to actual steps, students walked through a custom-made labyrinth created by local author and holistic medicine expert, Dorit Brauer.   
  • BE MINDFUL: Groups had a chance to take a break at the Mindfulness Station in the school library. In this relaxing environment, students openly discussed stress – how to identify stressors at school and home, why stressors aren’t always negative and techniques to relax in high-stress environments. Groups then participated in mindful practices, including meditation, breathing exercises and yoga. This workshop ended with students making their own stress balls from balloons and flour.
  • GROW TOGETHER: To kick off our second year of the St. Bernard School outdoor garden, students gathered in the science lab to explore the Garden Club’s progress. They identified various plants under grow lights and learned about plant cycles and gardening techniques. Then, using egg cartons collected throughout the school year, students made starter herb gardens that they could later replant with their families. To view a video of our school garden, please click here.

For tips on starting a Wellness Day at your school or to tour our school garden, please contact Elizabeth Mick.