Walk to School Day celebrated at Patricia St. Clair Elementary
FREMONT– A countywide program designed to promote good nutrition habits and physical activity among elementary school students in Newaygo County is off to a strong start. Now in its third year, the Coordinated Approach to Child Health, or CATCH, program is now part of the day at Patricia St. Clair Elementary. The initiative is being spearheaded by Hesperia Elementary School’s wellness team or CATCH committee.
Celebrating National Walk to School day was one of many ideas chosen by Hesperia’s committee to reinforce the importance of physical activity. In order to extend the opportunity to celebrate this day to the entire student body, staff coordinated and communicated campus wide to arrange for each classroom to walk the track or trail for the average distance traveled by walking students, a distance of about a half-mile.
Gerber Memorial’s CATCH program is based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model. This model involves health education, the school environment, and family-community involvement working together to launch youth toward healthier lifestyles. CATCH has been proven as one of the most cost effective means of preventing childhood obesity, in an environment that is fun and easy to sustain. An evidence-based, nationally recognized program, CATCH, brings best practices into schools and teaches students from kindergarten to fifth grade about how to live healthier.
CATCH is a collaboration between Gerber Memorial’s health experts, Michigan State University Extension, and the county’s five school districts to incorporate nutrition education and physical activities into the daily curriculum for students in grades K-5. Today, CATCH covers more than 4,000 students in nine buildings and a mini-documentary on the program can be viewed on Tamarac’s website.