At Live Well Allegheny, we know healthy lifestyle changes can be a hard sell. Living a healthy life can be difficult without the support of your community. Our Live Well Allegheny partners make a healthy choice the easy choice by using innovation and creativity to promote health and wellness in our communities, schools, workplaces, and restaurants. Woodland Hills School District (WHSD), a Live Well Allegheny school, is helping its students prioritize health and wellness with its Live Well Afterschool Program, and other wellness initiatives.
Students at WHSD learn lifelong health and wellness information in the Live Well After School Program, a semester-long after-school program focused on healthy living. The program started in 2011 with funding from the Heinz Endowments. The voluntary effort is offered for grades 8-12, with curriculum for the program connecting evidence-based health information with interactive lessons to encourage student engagement and participation.
The Live Well After School Program is three pronged, with focuses on healthy nutrition, lifelong physical activity, and stress management. Students learn practical skills related to nutrition like grocery shopping on a budget and using foods to increase their vitamin intake. Students also learn different types of physical activity they can use throughout their life, such as line dancing, yoga, hiking, and Zumba. To ensure student engagement, the program relies heavily on interactive learning, which has been essential to the success of the program. While there are some classroom-based lessons, students spend most of the time on activities that encourage movement and hands-on learning. The curriculum includes projects like gardening to encourage hands-on learning. Through the garden project, students started seedlings in a hydroponic garden and repotted the plants in the school’s greenhouse. The afterschool students are responsible for planting and maintaining the plants, which are open to use by all students at the school. The students have grown a variety of herbs and lettuces in the garden project.
In addition to the after-school program, WHSD promotes health and wellness through programs that reach its full student body and the broader community. To ensure that all students are receiving messages about health and wellness, WHSD sends daily living well messages that cover a wide variety of health topics. For elementary students, the school hosts living well family fun nights. WHSD partners with University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing students to provide interactive health information, games, and food to elementary students and their families. The school also partnered with Jump with Jill, a music-based health program for kids that uses rock music to teach nutrition, to provide schools with healthy nutrition assemblies. In addition to reaching its student body, WHSD is also expanding its health and wellness message to the broader community. Last summer, the school participated in a community day with eleven communities. During the community day, the school had a tent with health and wellness activities for people of all ages. Through the wellness initiatives at the schools, WHSD is promoting health and wellness to its students and the community.