The School District of Palm Beach County’s Department of Afterschool Programing operates between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Students can remain in a program for up to four hours; therefore, it is imperative that healthy snacks be offered. Students are offered a choice of two healthy food options, as well as a drink source consisting of lowfat milk or 100% juice. Examples of healthy choices are vegetables and dip, trail mix, yogurt, cheese and whole wheat crackers, or whole grain cereal and lowfat milk. In addition, accommodations are made for students with dietary restrictions and/or food allergies. Afterschool site staff is encouraged to model healthy choices for their students by not having sugary food and drink items such as soda, candy, or any other unhealthy choice.
- default_titleThe Alliance for a Healthier Generation works with schools across the country to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity. Michelle Owens, the National Before/Afterschool Manager for the Alliance, has worked with the Department of Afterschool Programming to conduct trainings for interested afterschool site staff since 2010. This year’s training was held on May 19, 2012, and focused on the Read B4U Eat curriculum.
- default_titleRead B4U Eat curriculum was developed by the Alliance to teach students about healthy eating behaviors and provide hands-on learning of reading food labels. Twenty-six afterschool site staff attended the training, which provided participants with invaluable information as well as numerous handouts and resources specific to afterschool.
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Give ‘em a Boost is an art and healthy living program initiative. The program utilizes the Camp Boost, Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids (SPARK) and Discover Art curricula. Camp Boost, developed by Healthy Lifestyle Choices, is an educational program that empowers youth by developing the skills and attitudes needed to avoid participating in risky behaviors and to promote healthy living. Through the use of structured enrichment activities, students are afforded the opportunity to socialize, play, and engage in developmentally appropriate activities. Units focus on life skills, conflict resolution, nutrition, substance abuse prevention, safety and fitness. Give ‘em a Boost was piloted this year in nine Palm Beach County School District afterschool programs, and was met with huge success. Jennifer Tingler, afterschool site director at H.L. Johnson Elementary, said “The lesson plans are easy for my staff to implement, and the games are fun, making it an all-around enjoyable program.”
Participating Afterschool Sites During the 2011-2012 School Year:
Forest Hill Elementary
H.L. Johnson Elementary
Liberty Park Elementary
Sandpiper Shores Elementary
The Afterschool Literacy Enrichment Initiative (ALEI) is a research-based, academic enrichment curriculum developed by Instructional Specialists, and supported by the School District of Palm Beach County, the Children’s Services Council, and Prime Time of Palm Beach County. ALEI supports learning by exposing students to literature and allowing them to experience the curriculum in a hands-on, afterschool friendly approach.
In an effort to integrate wellness into ALEI, energizers were included in the curriculum during the 2010-2011 school year. Energizers are short, five minute physical activities that require very little space and equipment to implement. ALEI counselors were trained in the implementation of these energizers, and each academic advisor was given the packet Energizers: Classroom-Based Physical Activities developed by East Carolina University. 41 Palm Beach County School District Afterschool Programs and community-based organizations participated in ALEI during the 2011-2012 school year. These programs were given the opportunity to explore topics that encouraged healthy eating and age appropriate physical activities, including:
- default_titleThe Magic School Bus Gets Eaten - by Joanna Cole
A one week study in which students learned about food chains and how animals convert food into energy.
- default_titleWestlandia – by Paul Fleishman
A one week study in which students planted and tended a vegetable garden to promote healthy eating.
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Many Palm Beach County School District Afterschool Programs have integrated gardening clubs into their program schedules. Gardening is a fun, hands-on approach to teaching students about healthy lifestyles. Students learn to grow their own fruits and vegetables, and have the opportunity in afterschool to use those foods in their own healthy cooking projects.
Project GROW, a program provided through the Center for Creative Education (CCE) in cooperation with Prime Time Palm Beach County and the DeVos-Blum Family YMCA of Boynton Beach, has been used since 2009 in various afterschool programs as a means to start an afterschool garden. Project GROW is a comprehensive, curriculum-based healthy lifestyle instructional unit for elementary and middle school children that excites and informs them about making healthy living choices for themselves and their families. Through a combination of the arts and hands-on activities, students gain a better understanding of nutrition and metabolic functions, reading nutritional labels on foods, and the value of local plants. The program culminates with students growing, harvesting, and then preparing their own plants for consumption. Eight schools have participated in Project GROW.
The Palmetto Elementary Afterschool Program worked in collaboration this year with Master Gardener, Molly Sims, to start a gardening club. The club was open to afterschool students in grades kindergarten through fifth. Students planted an assortment of vegetables including lettuce, eggplant, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, cilantro, radishes, carrots, and tomatoes. Students then used the vegetables to make tasty veggie wraps and salsa.
Students from Palmetto Elementry Afterschool Program working on planting vegetables in their after school garden!