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Fit To Be Taught, Vol. 42

Improving School Environments Through Green Cleaning

As research mounts about the link between indoor air quality and health, and as more children enter school with respiratory problems, schools, districts, and even whole states are switching to more environmentally-friendly cleaning agents.


Those words describe products most of us would like to purchase, but sometimes we opt not to buy them because they can be difficult to find or expensive. But just as organic and all-natural foods are becoming more mainstream, other products -- such as cleaning supplies -- are becoming more environmentally-friendly and more available.

And as the number of children diagnosed with asthma and chemical sensitivities continues to increase, research mounts about the importance of indoor air quality on overall health. So some school leaders are seeking out a new generation of cleaning supplies for their school buildings.

Decreasing the use of chemical cleaners in schools can reduce the number of health problems among teachers, students, and custodial staff; cut down on absenteeism; and even improve student performance, according to green cleaning advocates.

Read the full article on Education World

Wellness News

Clinton Honors Schools for Anti-Obesity Efforts Former President Clinton recognized 43 schools for their anti-obesity efforts, including one that banished candy from its building and another that offers a student fitness club.

Drs.: Alert Teens to Meningococcal Vaccine Health officials are trying to raise awareness about meningitis and get more teenagers vaccinated against the deadly disease.

Poor Sleep Contributes to Obesity in Kids Children and adolescents who do not receive adequate sleep are more likely to be overweight, according to a U.S. study.

I-CAN Introduces Healthful Habits, Foods

The mission of Integrated Curriculum Access to Nutrition (I-CAN) is to give students in grades 3-6 the knowledge and skills they need to make choices that lead to a nutritious diet and improved health and learning.

I-CAN begins with a motivational poem followed by 31 lessons. Each student lesson is preceded by a teacher lesson that supplies all the information the teacher may need, so teachers dont have to attend supplementary in-service training. Each lesson includes best teaching style, learning mode, integration with other curriculum, and objectives. The lessons are non-sequential to allow for flexible implementation by classroom teachers as they provide the learning experiences of I-CAN that inspire the children to enjoy and actually prefer healthful foods.

I-CAN clarifies the minimum and maximum number of servings recommended by the USDA Food Guide Pyramid by providing the recommended number of servings for each age group enabling teachers to provide the correct number to each group.

The program includes a language arts component, with a complete short story and recommended creative writing activities, plus an alternative community outreach component. Nine communication forms to parents and merchants also are part of the program.

Of special interest is a list of possible excursions in the Chicago-metro area and another list for the Oakland/San Francisco-metro area. For everyone, there is a list of cyber-excursions that are safe and provide a great diversity of nutritional learning experiences.

There are seven opportunities to assess the children as they progress through the program, with a final essay activity to evaluate what healthful eating concepts have been adopted by the children. This activity will help the teacher ascertain if any nutrition misconceptions were formed so they may be corrected and to verify that no gaps exist in the core component nutritional knowledge acquired by the children before proceeding to the tasting component of the program.

The underlying principle of the Munch and Crunch chapter is to give students the opportunity to try new tastes in a non-judgmental atmosphere. We want them to discover the joy of eating basic foods. But we, also, must be realistic in understanding the magnetic hold that consuming junk foods" has on our students. What we want to do is guide them in the direction of eating healthful foods by giving them the skills they need to make those healthful decisions, such as the ten lessons relating to reading and deciphering food labels and ingredient lists.

As many school systems have strict rules regarding bringing and sharing homemade foods in the classroom, we have included a section on lunchroom collaboration. This will help make the classroom activities meaningful and, also, ensure the success of the school lunch program, with the end result being increased academic achievement. After the children taste the food, they are directed to write their comments in their nutrition journals. Because there are no right or wrong responses, this activity will encourage peer acceptance of the act of trying something new and, hopefully, increase the list of acceptable food items and decrease food wastage in the lunchroom.

Read more about this program at: Integrated-Curriculum Access to Nutrition (I-CAN).

Click to learn more about Action for Healthy Kids.

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