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Students at École George V School have been learning and practising healthy living as part of a schoolwide campaign.
"At George V School we are providing the knowledge, skills and attitude to help our students take control of their physical and mental health," said teacher Paula Calado. "We're bringing attention to the fact that making good lifestyle choices contributes to happiness."
Students are learning that physical activity and healthy food choices are life practices that can positively benefit both physical and mental wellbeing.
"The students have been applying simple but effective lifestyle practises that foster good mental health and physical health," Ms. Calado said. "They are learning that they need to be conscientious of what they expose their minds and bodies to."
The recent healthy living campaign is a natural extension of George V's Zones of Regulation program, which has been taught schoolwide.
Teachers and students apply strategies to keep them in the Green Zone: a state of being calm, alert and ready to engage appropriately with the environment.
The Green Zone is where people experience their best mental health. When people get stuck in the Blue, Yellow or Red Zone for too long and don't have ways to get back to Green Zone, it can lead to poor mental health. That may look like depression, anxiety or chronic anger issues.
"Students are encouraged to use the strategies daily to improve and develop social, emotional and sensory regulation thereby increasing their sense of happiness," Ms. Calado said.
As a strategy to staying in the Green Zone, George V started teaching the 5-4-3-2-1 plus 10 principle.
"Every day, we have five servings of fruits and vegetables, four glasses of water, three good laughs with friends, two hours or less of screen time and one hour or more of exercise plus ten hours of sleep," said student Rebecca Fraser.
Other initiatives included taking part in the Kids in the Kitchen afterschool program, sponsored by Sobeys. The school invited Sobeys' dieticians to come cook with students using fresh vegetables and nutrient dense foods to make meals from scratch.
Elsewhere, teachers offered recreational choices through social clubs like Puzzles Club, Chess Club, Yoga classes and Intramurals at lunch to foster good relations and interactions for kids that allow for good laughs with friends.
George V also held a Fit Walk challenge for students and staff during recess. Students were encouraged to walk around the school's playground 20 times within a designated two-week period.
"It made me feel stronger and happy, because I would walk with my friends," said Grade 6 student Amy Rose. "So I gained muscle and had fun too."
Student Nicholas Stonehouse said he quickly felt motivated to complete his laps.
"It felt good, and made me feel like I could do more than I thought I could," he said. "I did over 20 laps. Sometimes the weather was bad, sometimes it was all right, but I just kept pushing myself."
As an additional incentive to getting healthy and working on their daily requirements for physical fitness, students won t-shirts and water bottles as a reward. To make the challenge more appealing, students got to tie-dye the t-shirts as well.
"Not only did 60 children voluntarily participate and meet the expectations of that challenge, they are continuing to walk for pleasure and with intention during their recess times," Ms. Calado said.
With the warmer weather just around the corner, the students they were looking forward to staying active at recess.
With files from Paula Calado and George V