The Healthy High 5 Award has been launched in Southampton to make it easier for schools to provide healthy and fun activities for all pupils to improve their wellbeing.
The Healthy High 5 Award has five achievable elements (stars) designed to have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of all school pupils. All five stars work together to create a positive impact on all school age pupils. It is for this reason all five elements will need to be met for a school to gain the award. While a school is working to achieve these stars it will be considered to be ‘working towards’ the Healthy High 5 Award.
In this star, pupils walk, jog or run a mile around the playing field, outdoor playground or school hall. This may happen before school, during break or lunch times, after assembly or during lessons.
Government guidance states children should do 60 minutes of physical activity every day. 30 minutes of this should happen in the school day. Participating in physical activities at school reduces childhood inactivity and obesity. Children often eat and sleep better and encourage their family members to be active together.
School-based activity leaves children more focused and ready to learn. It helps them build relationships, with children often helping and encouraging their peers.
Such activity also improves perception of exercise, and promotes the idea of self-care. In addition to building their self-esteem and confidence, children spend more time outside, in almost all weathers, helping them become better engaged with the outdoors and aware of nature.
Hydration is particularly important for children as they have higher water requirements in relation to their body weight than adults.
Children don’t always recognise the early stages of thirst, which can make them particularly vulnerable to becoming dehydrated, especially during times that can drive up their body fluid losses, for example when they are playing sport or during warm weather.
Dehydration, even if only mild, can cause tiredness, headaches, lethargy, lack of concentration, reduce mental performance and dry skin. Keeping hydrated can also help prevent constipation; visit the ERIC website for more information. Research suggests adequately hydrated children may have better performance in school.
If you are concerned that your child is not drinking enough or excessively thirsty, please seek advice from your School Nurse or General Practitioner (GP).
Children should aim to hydrate with plain, natural drinks that are unsweetened and free from additives. Drinking water, as opposed to other drinks, can also help prevent tooth decay.
By 2020 a national government backed scheme aims to introduce free water refill points and fountains in shops, cafes and high streets in every English town and city by 2020. This scheme will also help to reduce plastic waste from single use bottles.
Achieving the Access to water star
Children must have access to drinking water during lessons, when having their lunch and at morning and after school clubs. A school must encourage drinking water and staff members should role model drinking water as a way to help keep healthy.
The Healthy Lunch, Breakfast and After School Star
To ensure that pupils maintain a healthy weight, food served in schools and academies in England must meet the school food standards so that children have healthy, balanced diets. The aim of this star is to make every meal nutritionally count for pupils.
The school food standards apply to all maintained schools and academies that were founded before 2010 and after June 2014. They must provide:
There cannot be:
The School Food Plan has published practical guidance to help school leaders and governing bodies adopt a whole school approach to food, and help schools create a culture and ethos of healthy eating.
Achieving the Healthy lunch, breakfast and after school club star
Schools should clearly demonstrate that they are working towards the School Meals Health Eating Standards.
School pupils need to take part in sessions regarding healthy foods and what constitutes a healthy lunch box. Clear guidance for parents should be available in the school handbook, on newsletters and when addressing new parents to the school.
Schools should ask parents to send children to school in with water as a drink (as part of their packed lunch) or school drink if not facilitated by the school.
Small healthy changes can add up to big differences. An example of a change might be introducing a salad bar for students or asking for chocolate or crisps to be put in a child's lunch box on one selected day of the week only.
Being ‘mindful’ means being calmly aware of your body and mind by focusing on the moment. Mindfulness means to focus on ‘now’. Developing concentration, increasing focus attentions and listening skills and relaxation are parts of mindfulness. Mindfulness is not associated with religion.
Purpose and Benefits
Improving concentration and listening skills, refocusing the mind and encouraging relaxation to help support emotional health. See the Young Minds website.
Achieving the Mindfulness minute star
Schools can achieve the Mindfulness minute star by introducing mindfulness to pupils on a very basic level, such as by encouraging them to use senses like touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing. This could be done as a whole school before or after assembly or used as a class based approach to help refocus the class after or before an activity. It could also be useful after break or lunch period.
Growing plants and foods in schools is an important learning opportunity. It encourages and facilitates learning and is particularly relevant to science and emotional health. It helps build life skills, encourage enterprise, employment related, and horticultural skills.
Activities like gardening can improve awareness and understanding of the natural environment and its importance to us. Being aware of nature and our surroundings also promotes health and well-being, particularly in relation to diet and nutrition.
Achieving the Nurturing nature star
A school that is taking part in the Healthy High 5 Award has grown their own potatoes and carrots. Children have followed the journey of these foods through and they have been served on the school menu for meal times. This can be linked alongside relevant curriculum and science modules.
You can use challenges to create greater interest from the children, such as growing the tallest plant, biggest tomato, longest cucumber, or highest cress.
Autumn Term: Cress or Snap peas – can be grown at any time
Winter Term: Chives – (germinate in two weeks). Celery can be grown from the bottom of a celery stalk. Place bottom of celery in water, let it grow roots then move to a pot (roots appear after around eight days).
Spring Term: Wheatgrass – grow in egg shells to form ‘hair’ - just needs water. Nasturtiums – sprinkle seeds into prepared soil. Plants appear within 7-10 days.
Summer Term: Sunflowers – quick and easy to grow. Tomatoes, can be grown in grow bags.