December 22, 2014

Something new in store: Conestoga Magnet encourages healthy treats

by Staff, Douglas County Health Department

When it comes to birthday treats, cupcakes are king.

But with help from Partners for Healthy Schools, Conestoga Magnet School is suggesting a better way to celebrate. The school is encouraging students and parents to embrace a healthier mindset by steering away from sugar—and substituting treats that can be just as prized.

Bringing good habits to the classroom has always been a priority for Conestoga Magnet. For several years, the school has participated in a fresh fruit and vegetable program. They also have swapped sugary sodas and high-calorie snacks in vending machines for water, sports drinks, fruits and nuts.

Attending the Partners for Healthy Schools workshops has spurred Conestoga Magnet teachers and staff to put in place even more healthy changes, says Susan Hinchik, math coach and academic data representative.

“One of the things we got from the workshops, and by talking with other schools, was how to steer parents in the direction of non-sugary treats for birthday parties.”

Effecting that kind of change takes time, so the school has been doing a soft rollout through newsletters and conversations—and helping parents feel they are part of the shift.

With help from their contact at Partners—who secured grant money to purchase an array of toys and games—the school is stocking a “store” where parents can pick out treats to bring to their child’s classroom. Toys include soccer balls, jump ropes, coloring books and sidewalk chalk.

Now, instead of a cupcake, kids can enjoy a treat that will last, and may even encourage them to be more active.

“Partners is really good about saying ‘here’s what other schools are doing’ and being a champion for our success,” says Principal David Milan. “Their role is critical in making sure we’re moving ahead with this. It’s a great partnership.”

Active Living, Healthy Eating


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