Educators, parents, Gerber Memorial to huddle for CATCH wellness program as K-5 students prepare to return to school
FREMONT– Teachers, school staff, parents and Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial’s community health team will be holding a summit on Wednesday, Aug. 15, to prepare students for health habits ahead of the upcoming school year.
The summit for Newaygo County’s Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) committees will meet at Tamarac to collaborate on the implementation of the year’s plan, which includes identifying strategies related to health and wellness. 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 3,100 students and a mini-documentary on the program can be viewed on Tamarac’s website.
“The Coordinated Approach to Child Health continues to get great feedback from parents, students and educators and many of them have been asking what’s in store for the coming year, so this summit is a way for school and parent leaders to get together, share ideas about best practices and improve what was already a successful program,” said Jena Zeerip, Gerber Memorial’s community health lead. “CATCH is making a positive difference in the lives of our students at the youngest ages and we believe that by empowering them and their families to make good decisions about what they eat, we can make an impact in the long term. We look forward to continuing to show students that eating nutritious food and being physically active are easy, cost-effective ways to live healthy lifestyles.”
Ahead of the summit, each principal and CATCH champion – a designated advocate at each school –completed the School Wellness Assessment Application, which allows them to score each area of implementation during the previous 2017-2018 school year, when CATCH was expanded to all five school districts for the first time. The assessment can help the committees make policy and environmental adjustments within each school.
Hesperia teacher Mark Arbogast dresses up in costume as a superhero champion of healthy nutrition and physical activity at Hesperia Elementary School during filming for a mini-documentary about the Coordinated Approach to Child Health program in late 2017. The documentary can be viewed at www.tamaracwellness.org
The committees will meet for half-a-day and participants are eligible for State Continuing Education Clock Hours, which are credits that can be counted toward the renewal of teaching certificates.
The summit also will include guest speaker, Anne King, a 44-year educator who has worked with children and adults as a teacher, counselor, principal and trainer. King is retired from the Grand Rapids Public Schools as its education and prevention specialist, and has presented to hundreds of classrooms on topics ranging from nutrition and wellness to self-esteem and more.
The Gerber Memorial 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.
Piloted in two school districts for the 2016-2017 school year, CATCH expanded to all five districts in the 2017-2018 school year. The program is currently reaching over 3,100 students in over 100 classrooms across the county.
Earlier this year, Gerber Memorial’s CATCH program received a $10,000 grant from The Gerber Foundation Health Care Fund of Fremont Area Community Foundation.
To watch the CATCH documentary, go to: http://tamaracwellness.org/community-health/catch/